The Data Chief
The Data Chief
Jun 2, 2021
First Command’s Darren Pedroza on Being a Data Activist and Leading your Company Through Digital Transformation
Play • 51 min

The role of the Chief Data Officer is an evolving one. Today, data professionals are expected to be champions for their business  – aligning data goals with business values – while also leading their company’s digital transformation. It’s a position best suited for visionaries, advocates, and change agents.  

Darren Pedroza is the Vice President of Enterprise Data and Analytics at First Command Financial Services, with a mission of helping military families reach their financial goals. In addition to being a data and analytics savant, a major part of his success in this role is his acute understanding of how to transform a data strategy to keep pace with changing times and business needs. 

On this episode of The Data Chief, Darren explains how First Command transformed its data and cloud strategy to be more flexible, agile, and democratized. Darren also touches on a host of topics, including Databricks, what routinely leads to bad data, and leadership best practices.

Main Takeaways

  • Future-proof your cloud strategy: Your cloud data strategy shouldn’t end at scale. Focus on flexibility, agility, and democratization by adopting as many cloud-native tools as needed and consistently upskilling non-technical business users. Additionally, you want to be intentional about your build vs. buy strategies and make sure the vendors you partner with become allies.
  • Remember that good data doesn’t just happen: All data has a lifecycle, but there are two unique challenges that plague companies when it comes to their data collection: silos and poor user experiences. The best data collection applications are the ones that have a simple workflow, and a clear and pleasant user experience.
  • Align your team to your tech stack: When going through digital transformation it’s important to make sure that not only are you partnering with vendors that can integrate across multiple platforms, but also compliment the skillset of your team at hand.


The Data Chief is presented by our friends at ThoughtSpot. Searching through your company’s data for insights doesn’t have to be complicated. With ThoughtSpot, anyone in your organization can easily answer their own data questions, find the facts, and make better, faster decisions. Learn more at


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