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  • Tarun Sood, Chief Data Officer, American Century Investments

Tarun Sood, Chief Data Officer, American Century Investments

Describe your career to date

As Chief Data Officer for six years, I have aligned data strategies with business goals, overseeing data management and innovation, and implementing data policies to support organizational objectives. This role involves collaborating with other executives to integrate data analytics into business decisions.  

Previously, I worked in consulting, focusing on advising and developing data solutions for high-level executives, including CIOs, COOs, and CDOs. This experience was crucial in understanding diverse data needs across sectors and involved projects from designing governance frameworks to implementing analytics solutions. It sharpened my ability to translate complex data concepts into strategies for executive decision-making.  

I have stayed informed on emerging data technologies throughout my career, driving innovation to keep organizations competitive in a data-centric world. My transition from consultant to CDO has been defined by using data as a strategic asset, promoting data-driven cultures, and building robust data infrastructures. 

How are you developing the data literacy of your organization, including the skills of your data teams and of your business stakeholders?  

In developing our organization’s data literacy, my team prioritizes a multifaceted approach. For our data teams, this involves ongoing training in cutting-edge analytics tools and methodologies, fostering a culture of continuous learning. For business stakeholders, we conduct regular workshops and presentations to demystify data concepts and emphasize their relevance in decision-making.  

We have also implemented user-friendly data visualization tools, making data insights more accessible to non-technical staff. Cross-departmental collaborations are encouraged, allowing for knowledge sharing and a deeper understanding of how data drives different aspects of the business. This holistic strategy ensures a unified, data-informed organization, where every member understands and leverages data effectively. 

What role do you play in building and delivering conventional AI solutions, including machine learning models? Are you involved in your organization’s adoptions of generative AI? 

As a CDO, my role in building and delivering conventional artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning models is strategic and supervisory. I oversee the development of AI solutions, ensuring they align with our business goals and ethical guidelines. My team and I identify areas where AI can enhance efficiency and drive innovation, coordinating with IT and data science teams for implementation.  

Regarding generative AI (genAI), I play a key role in its adoption, assessing its potential impact and feasibility within our organization. I ensure that our approach to genAI is balanced, focusing on both its innovative capabilities and the ethical implications, ensuring responsible and effective integration into our operations. 

What are the key challenges to your data function that you are facing as its leader? 

I will say the key challenges will be:  

  • Data quality and integrity: Maintaining accuracy and consistency in large datasets is challenging, as poor-quality data can lead to erroneous decisions.  

  • Data security and privacy: Protecting sensitive information against breaches and complying with stringent privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA is a constant concern.  

  • Scaling data infrastructure: As data volume grows, scaling infrastructure without compromising performance or cost-effectiveness is challenging.  

  • Talent acquisition and retention: Finding and retaining skilled data professionals in a competitive market is a hurdle for many organizations.  

  • Keeping pace with technology: Rapidly evolving data technologies require continual learning and adaptation, which can be resource intensive.  

  • Data governance: Establishing clear data governance policies that balance accessibility with control is complex but essential for effective data management. 
Tarun Sood
has been included in:
  • 100 Brands 2024 (USA)