Building the Bridge Between Strategy and Governance Aboard the IT Enterprise – An Interview with Kevin Gray, CIO for the City of Burbank

Building a Bridge Between Strategy and Governance Aboard the IT Enterprise – An Interview with Kevin Gray, CIO of the City of Burbank

Eleventh in a series of in-depth interviews with innovators and leaders in the fields of Risk, Compliance and Information Governance across the globe.


Kevin Gray is the Chief Information Officer for the City of Burbank, leading an IT department responsible for administrative and network management, geographic information systems and technical services for more than 1400 city employees across 15 departments. Before assuming this role he served as VP of Global Media and IT for Viacom, one of the world’s premier entertainment companies, overseeing an international team located across six continents. He received his Bachelor of Science from California State University, Long Beach and is a certified Scrum Master and PMP. I spoke with him over lunch this May about aligning governance with business strategy, balancing risks and opportunities in AI and his insights on career growth.

Kevin, you began your career path at Orion Pictures administering Unix systems and then directed data center ops for DreamWorks. How did this early hands-on experience with application design and DB administration prepare you for future IT leadership positions at Viacom and ultimately the CIO role with the City of Burbank?

Well I started out on a service desk actually, really at the entry levels in IT, and I’ve been lucky to have grown up through all aspects of it. I think climbing that ladder one rung at a time definitely helped give me a clear vision to see across all the disciplines of technology.  It enabled me to see the forest through the trees, the big picture, gave me the ability to design operations, develop strategy… and equipped me with a vision to incorporate it all. And now I can more thoughtfully pull together a clear plan for how to run an organization, understand how to innovate, how to drive change through both a specific business unit or an organization. Experience is what best prepared me to lead.

One of your focal points has always been the importance of properly aligning IT governance with an organization’s business strategy. What are some of the practical ways IT teams accomplish this goal and how critical is the relationship building component that accompanies that synchronicity?

I think the most practical way to accomplish this is to focus on the people. Focus on the people developing the strategy and look at how their business is trying to implement it, because the most important thing is to be in alignment with the shared goal, in alignment with the people you’re partnering with. You have to be a true partner with the business. And that has to be the focus, not the technology. The technology is the secondary piece. Technology is what you use to try to find the solution for the business problems that they’re trying to solve. And those business problems don’t always stay the same, they change. They change based on economic conditions, they change based on market conditions, they may change based on who might be occupying the seat that you’re trying to partner with.

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So, you have to stay close and you have to stay connected. That allows you to stay aligned. Then you can figure out the solutions that are going to help solve that business problem. You have to be agile. You have to be able to switch directions. When the business switches direction, you have to be able to switch direction. And I think too many times, IT organizations, they don’t stay connected. They believe that they’re trying to solve this business strategy, that they’re trying to solve the business’ problems. But then the business problems change, the strategies change, and they’re suddenly not connected and eventually they’re heading down the wrong direction for another three to six months, which is a lifetime in technology.

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Harnessing Analytical Insights and Illuminating the Physical Realm of Dark Data – An Interview with Markus Lindelow of Iron Mountain

Harnessing Analytical Insights and Illuminating the Physical Realm of Dark Data – An Interview with Markus Lindelow of Iron Mountain

Eighth in a series of in-depth interviews with innovators and leaders in the fields of Risk, Compliance and Information Governance across the globe.


Markus Lindelow leads the IG and Content Classification Practice Group at Iron Mountain, the world’s largest information management company, where he’s been pioneering breakthrough analytic techniques for over a decade. He holds a Master of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Saint Edwards University and consults across a broad set of industries. I interviewed him in November to discuss his thoughts on the evolution of metadata, content classification, AI, and how organizations are using the new pillars of data science to break down their silos, help customers get lean and discover the hidden value in their big data sets.

Markus, you work with all kinds of companies to help them better understand and address the often incomplete metadata tied to some of their most valuable information assets in the form of historical paper records and materials retained over decades. In many cases, institutional memory has been completely lost and they’re struggling to figure out whether to dispose of these business records, balancing costs of over retention with risks of untimely destruction. How does your team leverage diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive analytics to make sense of what little data they might have to make informed decisions?

Our content classification process focuses on making the best use of the available metadata. This means classifying records with meaningful metadata as well as analyzing the classified inventory in order to create classification rules for records with little or no metadata. We have identified a number of attributes within the data that tend to correlate with classification conclusions. We assess the classified records associated with an attribute to create a profile that may inform a rule to classify the unclassified records sharing that same attribute…

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Book Review: Infonomics – How to Monetize, Manage, and Measure Information As An Asset For Competitive Advantage by Douglas B. Laney

Are CFO’s finally ready to heed the advice of their Chief Data Officers and begin adding information assets to the balance sheet?

Although the commonly used quote “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” is regularly and erroneously misattributed to Victor Hugo, originating from his account of the French coup d’état of 1851 that brought Napoleon III to power, I feel it’s almost appropriate for Douglas B. Laney’s passionate argument on Infonomics. It’s an idea he’s been meticulously developing and arguing for almost two decades and has at last fully articulated in his latest book published by Taylor & Francis entitled Infonomics: How to Monetize, Manage, and Measure Information As An Asset For Competitive Advantage. Laney previously published his thoughts on Infonomics in Forbes back in 2012.

This brilliantly researched book, supported by industry giant Gartner, is steeped in both a mastery of information technology as well as economics, in particular accounting methodology and complementing business disciplines that range from supply chain economics to compliance frameworks.

Laney, with brevity and unfailing pragmatism, weaves his impressive understanding of the business of information, it’s flow and it’s enormous potential into a convincing pleading that I believe is a must read for not just the aspiring digerati, but any CFO, Chief Data Officer or executive hoping to survive and thrive in the Information Age.

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40th Annual Data Protection Conference

40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners

Reflections on the 40th Annual International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners

Guest Post by Abby Moscatel

It’s been about a week since Rafael and I returned from Europe, where we attended the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners at the European Parliment’s Hemicycle in Brussels, Belgium.

The thought leaders posed the single most important question facing us today: What kind of world do we want to live in? You see, we are at the tipping point where the internet will know more about us than we know about each other, or even ourselves. And yet there is no recognized universal ethical and moral code for how we deal with all of the data that is being collected about us. How do we handle it? Right now, Data Kings hold the cards. Companies provide free services to gather our information.

Apple CEO Tim Cook was correct when he said that we are now in a time where our data is being weaponized. We see it in our news feeds. No matter what you believe, you get socials and content that affirms your position, and makes the opposite position something you must resist.

Tim Cook at the 40th Annual Conference of Data Protection Comissioners

Hong Kong artificial intelligence researcher Pascale Fung was also right when she said that unless we get all of the world leaders together, it won’t matter.

Now, we have the GDPR. And, here in the US, we are starting to get patchwork legislation, like the California Consumer Privacy Act, heavily resisted by Big Tech in favor of a federal privacy law.

I want to live in a world where I own my data, control access to my data, and where I can delete my information. If a company or individual breaks a law, then I want a private right of action. Most importantly, I want to live in a world where we have a universal agreement on digital ethics.

What kind of world do you want to live in?

The Olympics of Privacy in Brussels!

Debating Ethics: Dignity and Respect in Data Driven Life, the 40th Annual Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners

Two Americans walk into a EU Privacy Conference…

Just a few weeks ago, a colleague reached out and reminded me “the Olympics of Privacy” were being held at the EU Parliament in Brussels in late October, and also if I’d like to attend. Well, how the heck am I supposed to turn down an invitation like that? After all, this is the year of GDPR, the NYDFS, the new California Privacy legislation and the ICDPPC has leaders like Mark ZuckerbergSundar Pichai, Tim-Berners Lee, Jagdish Singh Khehar and even the King of Spain all lining up to share their thoughts.

We want to stimulate an honest and informed discussion about what digital technology has done and is doing to do to us as individuals and as societies, and to consider future scenarios. We want to better understand the impact of technology on people of all generations, in all parts of the world, including the way people think, interact with others, develop their opinions, create art and write, how they buy and sell and how they participate in civic life.  – Privacy Conference Statement

Mark and Sundar are likely showing up because they realize the stiff penalties now associated with data security and privacy violations and the rest of the speakers realize that we are on the cusp of a digital and ethical revolution of sorts, one which will affect generations to come. In fact, Debating Ethics: Dignity and Respect in Data Driven Life is probably the most important privacy conference of the 21st century. My wife Abby Moscatel, an attorney and ethicist heard about this lineup and quickly said, yeah… I’m coming with you to this one!

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Navigating The Global Digital Economy – An Interview with April Dmytrenko, CRM, FAI

Navigating The Global Digital Economy – An Interview with April Dmytrenko, CRM, FAI

Seventh in a series of in-depth interviews with innovators and leaders in the fields of Risk, Compliance and Information Governance across the globe.


April Dmytrenko - Information Governance Perspectives

April Dmytrenko, CRM, FAI is a recognized thought leader in the field of information management, governance, compliance, and protection. As both a practioner and consultant, she works with global organizations on key initiatives and best practice approaches for the enterprise; developing sustainable solutions; integrating legally compliant programs focused on information/digital assets; motivating and facilitating multi-disciplined groups to collaborate on achievable goals; and building strategic partnerships with internal and external teams. She serves on industry action committees and governing and editorial boards, and is an active industry speaker, trainer, and author. I had the pleasure of sitting down with April this September to discuss privacy, the role of industry associations and key concerns for leaders navigating the global digital economy.

April, almost five years ago I asked what the next big frontier would be for those of us managing data, and more importantly where the jobs would be. You wisely predicted that privacy would be on the horizon. Well we now have a number of legislatures drafting regulations and CPO positions can’t seem to be filled quickly enough. Do you believe there is still time to enter this emerging field and make an impact?

Right now we are experiencing an amazing transformation of the business environment based on many things but particularly the evolution of technology and the global digital economy. It is indeed an exciting time but we are acutely “headline news” aware of the impacts of compromised data security and privacy, including financial impact on brand and reputation, litigation, and the overall burden and distraction on the business. The exponential growth rate of incidents of data theft, damage, loss or inadvertent disclosure continues to expand not only in frequency but scope, and complexity. While privacy concerns gained attention over 100 years ago, and became topical about 15 years ago, it is still truly in an infancy state. Privacy offers IG professionals a rich and important opportunity to expand their leadership or advisory role in maturing a unified approach to protection, compliance with laws and regulations, and incident response and recovery.

April Dmytrenko - Governance - Not Taking Risks
Courtesy ARMA International

In your role as a fellow of ARMA International, you’ve helped to connect organizations with practitioners who truly understand the discipline and benefits of Information Governance. How has this evolved over the years and what steps do you think organizations like ARMA and the ICRM need to keep taking to remain relevant?

This is a great question as the core IG professional organizations have been dealing with an identity crisis for some time, and still struggle to have a clear and concise “elevator speech” on mission and value. IG, while it has a wide breath, has many in the industry confused, and still is a term that does not universally resonate with senior management. These associations have tremendous value and passionate support but numbers speak volumes and membership and conference attendance have been decreasing for years. We are seeing the technology vendor market taking over a leadership role and may serve as the new defining force in setting direction and guiding the industry – self-serving yes but it could be what is needed going forward. I am not concerned about relevance as it will continue to be all about information and technology, and the management, protection and leveraging of information asset. While the role of a traditional Records Manager may not continue to be relevant, I don’t find it concerning – the relevance is in the work and it evolves.

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GDPR - General Data Protection Requirement - Information Governance Perspectives

Emerging From The Dense, Digital Fog – An Interview with Dr. Ulrich Kampffmeyer

Emerging From The Dense, Digital Fog – An Interview with Dr. Ulrich Kampffmeyer

Third in a series of interviews with leaders in the fields of Risk, Compliance and Information Governance across the globe.


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Dr. Ulrich Kampffmeyer is the Managing Director of Project Consult in Hamburg, Germany and a renowned expert on digital transformations, business intelligence and enterprise content management. I had the opportunity to sit down with him in May and discuss the GDPR, artificial intelligence and social issues emerging from the dense, digital fog we all find ourselves in.

Ulrich, you write and teach extensively about the cultural and social changes in work environments that are a direct result of the emergence of digital transformations. Now that data is at the fingertips of everyone…

What changes should society expect that the business world may have already?

The pace of digital transformation accelerates day by day. Cloud technologies, artificial intelligence, IoT and other developments are happening so fast that there is a danger they’ll get out of control. The mightier AI becomes the larger the danger that it gets uncontrollable.

Consider Soshana Zuboff (one of the first tenured women at Harvard Business School) and her three laws:

  1. Everything that can be automated will be automated.
  2. Everything that can be informated will be informated.
  3. Every digital application that can be used for surveillance and control will be used for surveillance and control.

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