Few people know data and technology transformation better than Inderpal Bhandari, IBM’s Global Chief Data Officer. Indeed, such is Bhandari’s experience that there is a fair case to argue that he was one of the first anywhere to assume - and subsequently shape through his own experience - the position of Chief Data Officer.
He explains: “To be a good Chief Data Officer is a true craft; when I walk into an organisation I immerse myself in the business strategy and the detailed end to end business processes to know exactly what I’m going to implement, the strategy behind it, measure how well it’s going to unfold and the milestones to be hit.” That confidence and understanding of the unique requirements of an enterprise comes from more than 20 years’ experience. Bhandari’s journey is unique because he has pioneered the evolution of the Chief Data Officer as an essential decision-maker in the modern c-suite.
“I became the very first CDO in the healthcare industry in 2006, and was an entrepreneur in data products before that,” he says. “It was very early on in the profession - at that point there were four of us globally. Today the role has expanded massively with thousands of CDOs, Chief Analytics Officers and Chief Digital Officers, and I’ve been fortunate to have been at the forefront from the very beginning, learning and understanding the profession.
“Data is a hugely valuable asset and so the importance of the role has transformed within enterprises,” he continues. “My experiences enabled me to contribute to multiple organisations while honing the craft of using data and technology to fuel the powerful and complex transformations that enterprises are undergoing.”
As a personal approach to his work, Bhandari employs a ‘fail fast’ approach - it’s something, he reiterates, that has stood him in good stead and has contributed to his success at IBM. He joined the business in late 2015, to lead its data strategy and drive its internal data and AI enterprise transformation. This work has culminated in the company’s data and AI Enterprise Blueprint - a roadmap for clients spearheading their own data and AI journeys.
This work has also drawn official recognition: in 2017, Bhandari was named US Chief Data Officer of the Year by the CDO Club, and over his career, he has also been featured as an industry expert by the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, US News & World Report, CNN and Fox.