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From Analytics to Data and back again: Enabling business strategy in the C-Suite


Mark Clare, the Global Head of Data/Information Management and CDO at HSBC, came up next to be interviewed by Jill Dyche of SAS. Mark has been a CDO previously and took his latest role in large part because it is a business role focused on driving data into the operations of several division. He and his colleagues are targeting a digital world in which analytics and data are central to everything. As this is an interview, here are some takeaways in a random order:

  • Executives who get it often have a background in data and/or technology
  • Discovery and operations are both essential – must be able to find new insights and be able to operationalize this and manage compliance, regulations etc.
  • Work the whole leadership team to make sure everyone is on the same page, including technology and finance
  • Shadow IT and shadow analytics arise when the core capability is inadequate to a business need and longer term it requires a focus on what should be a shared service and what should not be
  • It’s really powerful to have an injection of digitally native experience even into regulated industries but this is not a substitute for industry domain expertise
  • It’s important that business units are part of the prioritization discussion – it’s good to listen to their priorities and interpret them but engaging them directly in the discussion works better
  • Acting as a connection between business units can start driving shared analytics
  • As a global organization they are very focused on developing all the skills they need in every region – this means recruiting locally, moving people around and investing in skills training and development
  • Sustainable data requires sustainable processes, data ownership will require process ownership
  • Shifting the focus from reporting and monitoring to insights, deciding and acting.
  • Mix and match packaged and bespoke capabilities, focus “build” where there is unique know-how and business experience inside the organization
  • Speed requires strong business alignment and engagement – can’t move quickly without it
  • Still a bit of a technology space so hard to be an analytics leader without some technical skills but industry and business skills are essential
  • Unstructured data is data whose pattern you can’t see yet and new technologies make it easier and faster to find these patterns so you can use all your data
  • Some analytics projects have an obvious revenue target but it’s useful to always have one. Sometimes though all you can do is link your analytic success to your business partner’s metrics
  • Customer journeys cross lots of silos and business areas requiring a complex mapping of revenue generated to the contributors to that revenue.

It is he said an exciting time so get in to analytics and data now!


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