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How Under Armour Became a Data-First Company in the Cloud 

As Under Armour’s Vice President of Enterprise Data Management, Patrick Duroseau has overseen the company’s transition to becoming a true data-first company. In a recent episode of The Data Cloud Podcast, he explains how he’s achieving this, what being data first means to him, and why “servant leadership” is his preferred style for motivating teams and helping others to reach their full potential.

Under Armour’s vision is to “inspire you with performance solutions you never knew you needed and can’t imagine living without,” something it achieves through a global network of suppliers, distributors, and retailers. During the pandemic, Patrick explains, being able to share data quickly and easily with each of these constituents has been critical to keeping Under Armour’s global supply chain running smoothly and efficiently.

The company’s journey with Snowflake began several years ago in a single department: Marketing. At that time, the company’s ability to make data-driven decisions was impeded by the fact that its data was decentralized, Patrick says. “Essentially, everyone was operating in a siloed fashion.” 

The Data Cloud has allowed Under Armour to consolidate its data in a single cloud-based platform. Departments can now operate with a “single source of truth,” and the Data Cloud’s built-in security and governance capabilities make it easier for them to share and access the data they need—including with partners and other data providers outside of the company.

Patrick views his primary role as that of a data evangelist. His mission is to drive awareness and data literacy across Under Armour so that every department understands the benefits of using a shared data platform and thinks of data first for every decision. “To me, that’s really what my purpose and my role is. It’s less about the bits and bytes,” he says.

Patrick identifies three key pillars to being a data-driven organization: the data itself, the governance of that data, and engagement with that data. That third pillar is critical, he says, and not something every organization considers sufficiently. “When you get all three of those things together, that to me is the definition of being truly data-driven.”

Patrick also shares why he’s a strong believer in “servant leadership” as the most effective way to manage teams and help them flourish. Leading with empathy is the most effective way to engage teams and help other leaders to grow and reach their full potential, he says.  

Looking ahead, he sees a time when sophisticated analytics will be instantly accessible to any user, regardless of their technical expertise. With technologies like natural language processing, combined with AI and automation, CEOs will be able to ask predictive questions about their business and receive answers almost instantly without needing to engage with data scientists or data analysts. “It’s really that next generation of maturity that I’m talking about,” he says.

The Data Cloud is a podcast hosted by award-winning author and journalist Steve Hamm. For each episode, Hamm speaks with a data leader to learn how they leverage the cloud to manage, share, and analyze data to drive business growth, fuel innovation, and disrupt their industries. You can listen to more episodes here.

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