Payal Jain of JCURV scooped the Transformation with Data prize at the DataIQ Awards in the summer. The managing director of JCURV answers questions about her company’s ‘datagility’ model and the biggest challenge she and the team faced during the transformation process at supermarket retailer Sainsbury’s.
Toni Sekinah: What does winning the Transformation with Data prize mean to you and the team at JCURV?
Payal Jain: We were massively humbled in being recognised for what we’ve achieved and we’re really proud at the same time. We’re passionate about our ’datagility’ approach and it’s so fantastic to get industry recognition For us, it is so humbling to be part of and to be able to support Sainsbury’s on that journey.
TS: What is the ‘datagility’ approach?
PJ: There are four levers of the model. The first is behaviours and culture. What we mean by that is creating the right environment for the team to operate within and focusing on business outcomes. And thinking about what we’re solving for the customer. How best do I solve the business problem or the challenge? It may be that you are using simpler techniques that may give 80% of the value and then go and focus on your world-class techniques on something that truly needs it. So it is around being very business outcome-focused on what you are trying to solve for the end customer.
The second lever is people and having the right people. It is not just bringing in the right people but nurturing your people and empowering them to solve problems. It is around the action and the curiosity to solve problems then actually to see it through to implementation and you see the outcome. It really is allowing people to shine.
"It’s about working in cross-functional teams."
The third lever is methodology and this is around testing and learning, thinking about ways of working and working in cross-functional teams. It’s not about working in a silo but working cross-functionally, sometimes with the technology team, sometimes with the marketing team, the commercial team or the operational team. As teams become more cross-functional with that dedicated focus, that’s where actually the speed increases of ensuring that we’ve got insight and are creating solutions and then you get the learnings far quicker.
The last lever is data capability. Where investment is required, this datagilty approach enables you to invest in the right areas where you’re truly going to extract value. The companies that don’t follow this model, they then invest a little bit blindly and not thinking about what value is going to be generated. So it is really making sure that every investment is really considered and business outcome-focused.
TS: What was the biggest challenge that you and Sainsbury’s encountered during this transformation and how was it overcome?
PJ: Bringing your stakeholders with you and saying ‘trust me, we will deliver.’ But Helen Hunter is such an amazing leader in enabling that to happen.
TS: What was the timescale of the Sainsbury’s data transformation?
PJ: We were there for around nine months in total but the way we deliver things is we will create agile teams on different challenges. With Helen Hunter we started nine different teams and we go through a 12-week delivery phase and producing outcomes every second week within each sprint.
"Build the right cultures and behaviours."
TS: What advice would you give to other organisations looking to work with consultants when transforming with data?
PJ: It’s about building the right culture and the behaviours around it to really empower people to be creative, be curious, and to solve problems. Every organistion is sat on so much of their data assets but it is totally underutilised. We’ve seen with different clients across a multitude of industries that it is actually people and the behaviours and the culture that truly make a difference. It is just thinking more broadly. Sometimes you go to, as your first answer, investing in technology to get more out of it but there is so much that you can do with the technology that you have and the data that you have.