Sainsbury’s had made a significant investment into its data function, but it was perceived to be delivering limited value and slow to respond to business needs. Under a new chief data officer (CDO), it brought in JCURV to transform its working practices, methodologies and technical capabilities. The result has been a significant reduction in annualised operating costs and a significant increase in incremental profits.
JCURV has an approach it calls Datagility. It focuses on the building blocks of effective analytics - behaviour, culture and people, combined with methodologies and data capabilities - rather than the data itself. The new CDO brought the consultancy onboard in April 2018 to support a transformation and to tackle the root causes of the function’s underperformance. Stakeholder feedback had identified that there was a lack of alignment with the business, ambiguous goals, poor responsiveness and slow delivery.
A diagnostic was carried out to understand the behaviour of the leadership, what the priorities were for the business, how the function was structured, how it approached the delivery of projects, and its track record. This helped to identify how the transformation should be undertaken by defining a vision, processes and desirable behaviours, then inducting practitioners into agile ways of working.
A squads and tribes organisation has been put in place bringing teams into alignment with 17 business needs, such as loyalty, revenue optimisation or supply chain efficiency, while business owners have defined the outcomes and value they require. Fortnightly stand-up meetings with product owners review progress and each 30 day period is planned and reviewed. An agile playbook has been created and communities of practice established for cross-team engagement.
As a result, working practices have been transformed, staff engagement scores have risen by more than 10%, operating costs were reduced and incremental value to the bottom line was delivered within six months. The new agile ways of working are being sustained enabling the team to be more responsive to the changing market.