How is your organisation using data and analytics to support the corporate vision and purpose?
DAZN’s vision is to become the world’s number one sports broadcaster by connecting fans to the sports they love, their way. Data is absolutely fundamental to how we are doing this by better understanding the behaviours of sports fans and using this to guide and inform how we evolve the products and services that we offer to them. More so than traditional broadcasters, data gives us the key ingredient to driving relevancy, engagement and ultimately loyalty amongst our subscribers.
2020 was a year like no other - how did it impact on your planned activities and what unplanned ones did you have to introduce?
2020 was certainly completely unplanned for. It challenged everything – how we managed our business, how we resourced our teams, our targets, our work-life balance and our wider priorities in life. Certainly, too many changes to list out here.
DAZN is a pure-play sports streaming business, so naturally when sport stopped soon after the pandemic broke, we had to make some quick and tough decisions. It was a challenging period, but we have really grown from that and sports fans through their passion and loyalty put us quickly back onto a big upward trajectory. We ended the year with very strong growth which we have taken into 2021 and we’re very excited for what lies ahead this year.
Looking forward to 2021, what are your expectations for data and analytics within your organisation?
2020 was a year of huge disruption on many levels, however, in spite of this we were able to make huge progress on data within our business in terms of data quality, data literacy and understanding, target-setting and core data products.
The priority for this year is to further leverage these data fundamentals to grow, and the only way we will achieve this is by embedding our data products and tools within the day to day work of decision-making across the organisation.
The most challenging part of data transformation is changing people’s habits and decision-making processes so that it becomes part of their daily routines. The other major area of focus is on experimentation across the business – embedding a test and learn culture, where failures are treated as learnings, will be key in order for us to grow incrementally to achieve our challenging goals.
Is data for good part of your personal or business agenda for 2021? If so, what form will it take?
Data for good is not something which is currently on the DAZN business agenda but a topic which we are planning on exploring in 2021. It’s something which I am personally intent on getting involved with too. I spoke last year about the need to empower consumers with data to help them make better decisions regarding their lifestyle, budgeting or any other part of their life. I believe that now more than ever there is an opportunity to use data to help people recover from this devastating global pandemic.
What has been your path to power?
I started my career at dunnhumby as a data analyst and progressed to becoming an analytics director, after which I held numerous leadership positions in the UK and internationally. I first led dunnhumby’s customer insight, price and promotions and trade intelligence services for Tesco in the UK. I then went on to be responsible for dunnhumby’s solutions in new international markets.
After that, I then turned my hand to media services, firstly heading up analytics for the digital media business, before leading the overall media division in Latin America. Finally, I was responsible for dunnhumby’s customer engagement activities, covering CRM, media and loyalty services across its international markets. I also spent several years working as a management consultant for Ernst & Young, where I led customer and strategy consultancy projects for leading energy suppliers in the UK.
In 2018, I decided to take all of these experiences into a client-side role when I joined DAZN Group, the largest and fastest-growing global sports streaming service, combining my passion for sports and technology.
At DAZN, I head up our subscription analytics, research and planning, and performance management functions globally. We use rich customer data from a range of sources, such as the hundreds of millions of hours of sports our users stream each year to power our disruption of the sports broadcasting industry. We are making the best sports available to fans around the world, in a more affordable, accessible and relevant manner than traditional broadcasters have ever achieved.
What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?
Establishing dunnhumby’s media division in Latin America was a highlight. On a personal level, my family and I moved to the other side of the world, learnt a new language, culture and way of life, which was thoroughly enriching. On a professional level, I set up a business from scratch in a new and challenging industry. In doing this, I successfully built a profitable, multi-million dollar organisation by disrupting the media sector for the benefit of consumers who received more relevant and engaging advertising from their favourite brands.
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 is imperative to how DAZN operates. Compared to a traditional broadcaster, we hold a significant competitive advantage in that we can measure how each of our subscribers consume our content. Traditional broadcasters who do not own the relationship with their viewers directly often have to rely on third parties or panels to understand these viewing habits. Because of this advantage, we see data being absolutely fundamental to our growth.
We operate a decentralised data analytics structure, whereby analytics and data science teams are embedded in our different organisational functions to ensure their work is relevant and actionable. This means that our data analytics teams are heavily aligned to different parts of our business and focused on meeting common goals. The key to making this work, though, is a strong central data model, managed by our core data management team, and good collaboration and governance between the different data analytics teams to maintain a consistent source of truth and share learning collaboratively.
What is your view on how to develop a data culture in an organisation, building out data literacy and creating a data-first mindset?
Data is the enabler to delivering business objectives and growth - it’s the means and it can represent a significant competitive advantage, but rarely is it the end goal. When developing a data culture in an organisation, it’s imperative that the data function keeps this in mind at all times. That means data products and solutions need to support the operational functions of the business, the data strategy needs to support the overarching strategy of the business and it needs to make people’s jobs easier, not more complex.