How TD Ameritrade's Chief Data Officer is driving change

CDO for almost three years, Derek Strauss has pushed through organizational change and launched many large-scale initiatives

Derek Strauss, CDO Ameritrade

Derek Strauss, Chief Data Officer, TD Ameritrade

Data is king in the world of financial services, and many organizations are adding new roles in recognition of that. Derek Strauss, for example, has been Chief Data Officer at TD Ameritrade since the position was created almost three years ago. Network World Editor in Chief John Dix recently caught up with Strauss to learn more about the CDO role, how it fits in with IT, and how Strauss is using the role to drive change at the largest U.S. online brokerage in terms of trading activity.

I understand that TD Ameritrade created the role of CDO and hired you to fill it. Where did the need come from?

The CEO and the COO had been discussing for some time the need to become more of a data and analytics driven enterprise, to figure out how to derive more from the data we have about clients in order to service them better. But we don’t want to overstep the mark. There’s a lot of sensitivity in the marketplace about, “Do you know too much about me?” That can be creepy. We’re very sensitive to that.

On the one hand, we want to be able to present clients with information and guidance at the appropriate time that is useful to them, things like education or news articles about areas they might be showing an interest in. But we don’t want to overstep that mark where they think, “How did they know that?” It’s a fine line, but getting to the point where you can understand what would be perceived as useful on a client by client basis is something we desire.

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