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CIO Influence Interview with Chris Lubasch, Chief Data Officer & RVP DACH at Snowplow

CIO Influence Interview with Chris Lubasch, Chief Data Officer at Snowplow

marketing teams can create their own Marketing Data Hub, focused entirely on their needs, such as including all cost data from all marketing channels or different attribution models/methods.”

Hi Chris, please tell us what kind of future you foresee in business with Artificial Intelligence and why?

Chris Lubasch, Chief Data Officer (CDO) & RVP DACH, Snowplow: “As much as we love AI, a lot of companies have burned their fingers with huge investments into silo use cases, without seeing their huge, anticipated returns. We will see a shift from ‘AI will solve all my problems; let’s just hire enough data scientists’ to a more thorough approach. AI will still be extremely valuable, but major issues are grounded on the foundations not being ready. Data quality is an issue more often than not. With data cleaning/transforming can take up 80% of the data scientist’s time, there is frequently little time left to the real work around AI. More companies will realize that investing in AI isn’t a shortcut to bypass 10 data maturity steps at once.”

How much of our business operations would be disrupted by the need to stick to data ethics?

“Data Ethics is a topic that’s not yet mainstream, but it should be. With more and more technical capabilities on the rise, in particular, in the field of AI, we need to talk more about how to use data, our algorithms, and our findings in an ethically bearable manner. There’s more than one story of machine-learning trained models that discriminate certain groups of people (e.g. because the training data was already reflecting a certain amount of bias), algorithms denying credits based on questionable correlations, or companies sending out sensitive messages to customers, entering a very delicate field of intimacy and privacy.” 

Read More: CIO Influence Interview with Eric Herzog, CMO at Infinidat

In 2022, what were the key milestones in IT technology stacks that you would like to highlight?

“It was a year of fast-moving discussions around the modern data stack. Lots of new vendors popped up, and major ones like Snowflake and Databricks continue their journey to take over many technical components, despite the challenging economic situation. But at the same time, voices emerged who questioned the modern data stack as such, whose decoupled approach often leads to many tools and high costs, let alone the complexity of getting it all together. The discussions around the ‘postmodern data stack’ (as just one out of many terms) were started, and we’re all eager to see where this will lead us in the coming years.” 

How has the role of a Chief Data Officer changed in the last 2-3 years? Please shed some light on the role of embedded data analytics in modern context.

According to Gartner in 2021, less than 50% of large companies have a Chief Data Office role in place. However, with digitalization continuously disrupting business models and technology landscapes, let alone continuous investments in AI, I expect many companies to follow. Whether we look at Amazon, Netflix, Meta, Apple, or non-digital natives like Walmart, they are all known for their serious investments and the great benefits of deeply integrating data analytics and AI into their business operations and decision-making. We expect more and more companies to create space in their C-Suite, understanding that data is so much more than their weekly PDF reporting. It’s fundamental to digital business, in a similar manner to electricity is in our modern world. Data-driven winners embed data in all their decisions, their meetings, R&D, and, of course, all customer-facing functions. To guide this transformational change, a proper stake is required at the executive table.”

What about the data strategies that every business leader wants to own to reach the holy grail of customer experience management?

“For years, we’ve seen a lot of siloed and very tech-driven investments in data. Yet, there’s regularly no coherent data strategy in place, that ties all data efforts together. More importantly, it’s absolutely crucial to connect the data strategy properly to the Business Strategy and desired outcomes. Many companies will upgrade their existing strategic and operational efforts to clearly show how data helps to create business value and contribute to concrete goals.” 

Read More: CIO Influence Interview with Rich Nanda, Principal at Deloitte

Please tell us more about the expanding role of Data privacy and compliance.

“One of the hot topics in Europe and beyond will continue to be data privacy and compliance. Whether it’s because customers are increasingly aware of how brands use their data, or regulatory bodies are significantly increasing scrutiny and banning Google Analytics in some countries, it’s never been more important for organizations to consider how data compliance and ongoing data management form a critical part of their business and data strategy.  

Privacy regulations are here to stay, no matter how they look in detail. Instead of continuing to exploit datasets to the maximum, often without proper knowledge, consent or understanding of their customers, organizations need to embrace this unique opportunity before their competition. It’s a chance and necessity to enter into a new relationship with users and customers, one that is guided by getting something back in return for sharing private data. It will continue to play an essential role in learning what works and what doesn’t, or data-empowering decisions made across the board. But the days to exhaust all data points possible are finally over. Less is more, deliberately creating and using what you need will become the new status quo down the road.” 

How would these advancements in data science and compliance management impact digital marketing strategies?

“Modern marketing is moving faster than ever, and many marketing teams feel like they cannot keep up with enough insights and learnings. Imagine digital marketing without data: No Google Ads, no Meta, no customer journeys, no attribution modeling, no CDPs, etc. Even if there’s a central data team existing in the company, they often don’t get what they need (roadmaps are full, teams notoriously understaffed, talent hard to find, …).  

We will see an accelerated trend of getting modern data solutions deployed, used and owned directly by marketing/product teams. This goes hand in hand with the rise of technically oriented, data-savvy marketers that has led companies to spin up ‘marketing intelligence’ or similar teams. Gone are the days when everything technical was done somewhere else. Guided by low code but powerful SaaS solutions, marketing teams can create their own Marketing Data Hub, focused entirely on their needs, such as including all cost data from all marketing channels or different attribution models/methods.  

These hubs or solutions are properly connected to existing corporate warehousing and data architectures but go much deeper into marketing than any central unit could ever provide. With the obvious domain knowledge or marketing, paired with data solutions at hand to make data-driven decisions, move faster, and experiment more often, modern marketing teams are set up to outperform their competition.” 

Read More: CIO Influence Interview with Gee Rittenhouse, Chief Executive Officer at Skyhigh Security

Thank you, Chris! That was fun and we hope to see you back on soon.

[To participate in our interview series, please write to us at]

Chris Lubasch will work as part of Snowplow’s senior leadership team to help customers better understand and derive business value from the cutting-edge practice of ‘data creation’ – the process of deliberately creating data to power artificial Intelligence (AI) and advanced data applications. He is also responsible for the DACH region, which leads the world in terms of data privacy.

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Snowplow is a behavioral data platform, built to empower data teams and solve today’s most complex data challenges. Trusted by tens of thousands of organizations around the world, Snowplow helps you create the data you need to power your breakthrough, and unlock AI and advanced analytics right from your own data warehouse, lake, or lakehouse.

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