Passionately curious about Data, Databases and Systems Complexity. Data is ubiquitous, the database universe is dichotomous (structured and unstructured), expanding and complex. Find my Database Research at SQLToolkit.co.uk . Microsoft Data Platform MVP

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing" Einstein

Saturday 29 May 2021

The Chief Data Officer and Data Innovation

The chief data officer (CDO) is a new role that has been emerging over the last few years. It sprung into life with businesses realising that every business needs to utilise data to succeed in the age of digital transformation. We have spent the last few years thinking about data culture in organisations and how to enable change to utilise organisational data assets and dark data. There is difficulty in the business change process and the CDO role has seen various iterations, adapting to find its place.

As we have seen, data is core to every business and there is opportunity within business to grow and introduce efficiencies by nurturing data as an asset. The CDO is the champion for data within the business and the voice that always thinks about using data as a strategic asset. Data can be utilised intelligently in advanced analytics to create new business opportunity and increase efficiency.

Cross business team utilisation of data requires a change in culture from hording data to making it assessable and advertising in the business what assets there are. CDOs require budget to be successful and must be able to influence enterprise change. There are restrictions of regulation and compliance that must be adhered to, but the CDO needs to be disruptive and drive innovation through the business. 

The role is still evolving and a blueprint is becoming more established. Having a passion for data and storytelling with data is such an envisioning experience for growth. Erudite CDOs have a passion for exploration of data, just as data scientists do, to find that truth and evangelize the possibilities of data value and find that business opportunity. To enable data within the business to reach its potential use there are some foundations that need to be in place, such as data governance.

Thus a CDO should:

  • Understand the data context
  • Collaborate with business and IT
  • Create a data strategy with best practices on managing data, standards for data sharing, policies and procedures across the entire data lifecycle and identify that data value
  • Establish data governance operating models and sit on the data governance council
  • Oversee architecture best practices to review the impact of infrastructure change
  • Reduce barriers to data accessibility
  • Drive a data quality vision
  • Support operational efforts with strategic oversight
  • Be aware of legislation relating to data oversight
  • Data never stops being created and the ongoing role requires evangelizing, finding business value and adapting to changes of use with continuous small steps
  • Be a data driven culture leader
  • Lead data literacy improvement to help with the data culture adoption.
  • Work with IT and the business
  • Always know the current state of data maturity
  • A CDO needs technical and business acumen
  • Lead data transformation projects
  • Operationalise data usage

It is not only large corporations that require CDOs. Hiring a CDO for SMEs is a challenge, but will be instrumental in enhancing business value and making sure the data that is used provides that much needed business innovation.

More Information

The Chief Data Officer’s Playbook, Caroline Carruthers and Peter Jackson, second edition (2021)

The CDO Journey, Insights and advice for data leaders, Peter Aiken, Todd Harbour, Kathy Walter, Ed Kelly, and Burt Walsh (2020)

World Economic Forum: 6 data policy issues experts are tracking right now  

Published on the Coeo Blog 26 May 2021

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Azure Synapse Microsoft Build Announcements

Apache Spark 3.0 runtime is now available .It has various advantages

  • Performance improvements
  • Adaptive query execution
  • Dynamic partition pruning
  • ANSI SQL support
  • Enhanced Delta Lake support

NVIDIA GPU Acceleration for Apache Spark in Azure Synapse Analytics is available in private preview. Azure recently also announced support for NVIDIA’s T4 Tensor Core Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) which are ideal for deploying machine learning inferencing or analytical workloads. 

Azure Synapse Analytics for data engineers is a new learning path covering streamline pipeline development, orchestrate data integration and simplify security and management.

There is also a new getting started toolkit

Microsoft Build May 2021

The Microsoft Build conference is running 25-27 May 2021. It is the digital event to expand your skills. The aim is to innovate for the challenges of tomorrow.

Satya Nadella talked again about how the world will be transformed through tech intensity and the importance of the environment. Microsoft aim to be the platform for platform creators and are releasing 100+ new updates during Build. The next generation of apps will be proactive rather than reactive.  We are at a pivotal time, multi cloud, multi edge, people centred which enables us to address opportunities to empower us and empower the world. It was another inspiring keynote.

There was a raft of announcements of new technology and enhancements to applications.

The general availability of Azure Cosmos DB Serverless was announced along with other Azure Cosmos DB enhancements.


Azure SQL ledger capability adds tamper-evident capabilities to Azure SQL Databases, available in Preview. Azure SQL Ledger is for sensitive systems enabling rich analytics and is enterprise ready.

Pytorch Enterprise is on Azure 

Azure Database for PostgreSQL has various features

Azure Purview now supports Azure Database for MySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL as a source for metadata, classification and lineage extraction

You can read about all the announcements in Harness the power of data and AI in your applications with Azure

Power BI has announced various features which can be read here Posts categorized: Announcements

My favourite announcement is Power BI in Jupyter notebooks . The new package lets you embed Power BI reports, dashboards, dashboard tiles, report visuals or Q&A in Jupyter notebooks easily.

The Microsoft Build 2021 Book of News covers all MS Build announcements. 

Sunday 23 May 2021

Ethics Self-Assessment Tool

 The ethics self assessment tool helps researchers use an ethics framework throughout their research.

This tool helps shapes discussions and highlights ethical issues. The questions it makes researchers ask is what should be done. Biases in AI research can cause harm or disproportionately weight outputs. Potential biases could come from data sources, methods employed and in the outputs and how the results are interpreted. The framework is here. 

Microsoft is investing in helping with understanding ethics in the business and research arena. The Microsoft ethical rules are based on 6 principles.  To get started with that holistic approach to AI and learning go to the AI Business School for Artificial Intelligence

The principles of responsible AI from Microsoft are

  • Fairness - should treat all people should be fairly
  • Reliability & Safety -  should perform reliably and safely
  • Privacy & Security - should be secure and respect privacy
  • Inclusiveness - should empower everyone and engage people
  • Transparency - should be understandable
  • Accountability - People should be accountable for AI systems 

  • Saturday 15 May 2021

    Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

    Nature is the theme for mental health awareness week.  Take a moment to yourself and connect with nature. We did a scavenger hunt to help us be motivated to get out into nature. Things to look out for   

    • A footprint
    • An oak leaf
    • A post-box
    • A bench
    • An interesting cloud
    • Most colourful wild flower
    • Most usually shaped tree
    • Most spectacular view
    • Most interesting animal/bird
    • Something that makes you smile

     Getting out and about is important and this is what our team have been up to

    Sunday 9 May 2021

    SQLBits Replay Sessions


    SQLBits are taking a novel approach to help encourage people to continue their learning journey. SQLBits are sharing their last virtual conference sessions publicly as they normally do but with a twist. Normally videos are only on the SQLBits site. They are now also on YouTube. In addition to this on the SQLBits spatial replay platform they are enabling group viewing each and every Thursday supported by a Q&A session presented by the speaker live. 

    The platform that is being used has a number of themed breakout rooms and a main stage where the recorded session will be streamed. Each session being shown is about 1 hour and this is followed by live Q&A by the speaker of the session.

    Moving around the platform is great as it allows you to drift in and out of conversations as if you were walking round the conference hall. It is great to have that opportunity to chat with the presenters and attendees about the sessions. 






    Thursday 6 May 2021

    Innovate Today with Azure SQL

    Microsoft organised a digital event to explain how to build an effective cloud database management strategy that responds to today’s changing business requirements and tomorrow’s opportunities. The event built on the premise that the first adopted step has been a straightforward “lift and shift” to virtual machines (VMs). The Azure SQL digital event was on 4th May 2021: Innovate today with Azure SQL

    Azure services power out-of-this-world solutions

    A.I. Intelligent by default, AzureML and Cognitive Services

    Hybrid Operational freedom, Azure Arc

    Infrastructure Linux and Windows VMs

    Data Choose the database that meets your workload’s needs

    Apps App service, Azure Kubernetes services (AKS)

    Tools Developer productivity, Azure DevOps

    Fuelled by the best database for your workload

    • Azure PostgreSQL
    • Azure MySQL and MariaDB
    • Azure SQL Family
    • Azure Cosmos DB
    • Azure Cache for Redis