“We need to use data to anticipate and plan—and react”. Leaders shared thoughts on data-powered experiences, outlining emerging trends to drive maximum impact.
This panel of technology leaders and experts discussed the importance of data-empowered experiences, explored how data can be used to enhance customer experience and picked out some of their key strategies that deliver ROI and delight customers.
With Mark Chillingworth moderating this roundtable debate, the panellists included:
Maritza Curry, Head of Data, BNP Paribas Personal Finance SA (RCS Group)
Daria Grishina, IT and Data Director UKI, Danone
Ian Cohen, Chief Product & Information Officer, Acacium Group
Colin Simpson, Global IT Director, PZ Cussons
Leon Gauhman, Chief Product & Strategy Officer, Elsewhen
Kicking off the debate, Elsewhen’s Chief Product & Strategy Officer, Leon Gauhman, said: “We ultimately believe that data is a key to unlocking value for organisations”. While organisations are dealing with data in different ways, Leon argued that it still, after many years of industry rhetoric, remains “siloed” and “disjointed” from the front-facing elements of the organisation.
He focused on the opportunity to adopt a customer-centric approach while utilising this data. When leveraging it, Leon believes leaders ought to consider how their teams can deliver value and change the way these operational processes work. “How are they changing with new interfaces, with new integration of data, with new ways of empowering employees?”.
When sharing her own encounters with data-powered experiences, Head of Data at BNP Paribas Personal Finance SA, Maritza Curry, noted that “we operate in the knowledge economy”. Within this digital and knowledge economy, data is the currency. In agreement with this take, Ian Cohen argued that the current challenge for organisations is the narrative change around data.
“We need to use data to anticipate and plan—and react”, said Ian. His observation is that the narrative has changed from past to present to future tense. Enacting this shift from the inside may prove difficult if an organisation, for example, has built its data science team around the next iteration of reporting and is not well-placed to have a “future-tense conversation”.
Tackling the productivity challenge
How can we use data and design to change the employee experience and proposition, and then how does that benefit the customer? Danone’s IT and Data Director UK and Ireland, Daria Grishina, argued that productivity stems from the right employee interactions and getting access to the right information.
Currently, she believes that people have too much access to this information and are struggling to generate “valuable insight”. Daria wants companies to aggregate the data and give employees access to the right information in order to make the right managerial decisions. In addition to this, she wants leaders to consider how they can use digital technologies to make collaboration more effective and not “overwhelming”.
In agreement with Daria’s views, Global IT Director at PZ Cussons, Colin Simpson, noted that the challenge is that leaders have “gone down verticals of data”. Being insight-led is more effective than the more time-consuming ways of applying data into knowledge.
Offering his insights on this take, Ian emphasised the importance of using the words “culture” and “insight” when talking about productivity. When entering a productivity period, Ian said that organisations tend to forget things very quickly and go back into their “traditional silos”. He went on to explain that if a data and insight culture had been created, there would be different conversations about productivity.
Maritza agreed that culture is important when driving returns—and enabled through data. Maritza’s main focus, however, is on the basics and foundational aspect. While some may decide to design “fantastic data literacy programmes”, this will not provide good-quality data. The real focus should be on data governance and data management, and the overall culture.
What are the emerging trends of technology leadership for CIOs, CTOs and CDOs?
For Colin, ethics and sustainability are two of the most important trends. He recalled the company’s values for good and staying on top of what they are doing with the right products, technology and getting out to the right markets.
These values, he said, need to be ingrained within the organisational culture. “I'm so fortunate to work for an organisation who absolutely believes that doing good is absolutely in its original mindset”, he commented. He went on to explain that there are other companies out there who do not possess these “ethical pieces”.
Another trend Maritza is seeing no sign of abating in the data and analytics industry is data privacy and protection. She explained that this data can be used in many ways to understand customers better to forecast and predict their behaviour. It is also a key pillar within customer and employee experience. Users want to know they are protected and respected; the era of personalisation may not be so clear cut if a proportion of customers wish to have their identity, habits and past interactions protected or removed. Businesses need to recognise this and act accordingly.
Martiza feels that her future is as private as her present. While she encourages the different uses of data, she wants this to be carried out in a responsible manner. Speaking from a customer perspective, she made it clear that she wants to know if her data is safe. “An experience I don't want is a data breach and to know that my data is out there”.