How is your organisation using data and analytics to support the corporate vision and purpose?
We are using data and analytics to unlock growth by transforming our understanding of customers, consumers and shoppers. Through analytics, our goal is to become a data-driven organisation that revolutionises our ability to offer the right brands, in the right place, in the right way. This means we can drive efficiencies through faster and more impactful decision-making, which, in turn, helps boost incremental growth.
2020 was a year like no other - how did it impact on your planned activities and what unplanned ones did you have to introduce?
The main impact of 2020 was an acceleration in the need to provide more accurate and timely data, so, if anything, this has accelerated plans and put a spotlight on the importance of data and analytics and the value it can provide. We have continued our journey on building best in class capabilities as planned. It’s also accelerated our plans to use more collaboration technologies in the development lifecycle of our analytics products and looking at how we can leverage or optimise cross geographical teams to achieve greater speed to value.
Looking forward to 2021, what are your expectations for data and analytics within your organisation?
I really see a continuation of the journey we are already on, which, from my perspective, is turning Diageo into a leading data-driven organisation in support of its great brands. I see more pressure on our team to get more data faster and more connected than ever before; personally, it’s an exciting challenge and opportunity,
What has been your path to power?
I’ve been really fortunate that my career has run in parallel with the data and analytics evolution of capabilities. Over the past 21 years, I’ve got to witness and experience the explosion in technologies, methodologies and theories, organisational change and data enlightenment. I feel privileged to have seen what used to be seen as an unappreciated back office IT afterthought that no one really wanted to do, to a standalone function that has become an important contributor to the overall wellbeing of a company.
As a result, I’ve become a little bit of a renaissance man of analytics, which has given me a strong grounding and real appreciation for all elements that make up the world of analytics, This has helped me drive fast and stronger insights and to develop high performing, successful analytics teams and tools.
What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?
I really take pleasure in developing my team and supporting them in their goals, so my greatest achievements aren’t really mine, but seeing people learn and progress in their careers is a real buzz for me. I also like seeing the impactful contribution that we can make in helping all areas of the business, especially when you find nuggets of gold or proving out a hypothesis.
Tell us about a career goal or a purpose for your organisation that you are pursuing?
My career goals are to continually evolve and learn; to use high energy in all interactions to make sure I achieve speed to value; and, finally, to make complex items seem simple.
How closely aligned to the business are data and analytics both within your own organisation and at an industry level? What helps to bring the two closer together?
Data and analytics is very much an embedded function within Diageo, working across all functions and geographies. What helps bring this closer together is building credibility, by consistent delivery of accurate and relevant data and insights over time, while the analytics community learns the business in detail to speed up conversations and give greater decision support. Lastly, it is the ability to keep things simple - this means partnerships with a common language, common goals and objectives.
What is your view on how to develop a data culture in an organisation, building out data literacy and creating a data-first mindset?
It starts with ensuring that the leadership team understand and become data literate and be really realistic on where you are on your journey as an organisation and what steps are needed to move the organisation up the maturity curve.
You need to be introspective and self-critical to baseline and then have a clear joint roadmap with joint goals and targets to move the needle. In parallel, the analytics teams need to deliver accurate, timely data and build trust and show value in everything they do.