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Barry Green, interim chief data officer, Allianz Partners

Barry Green

Path to power

I started my career in Palmerston North at Bank of New Zealand. Since that first job I have undertaken many different roles and implemented various change programmes at a country, regional and global level. While I have been in banking for most of my career, I moved to PwC to help start a consulting practice in New Zealand and was there for two years before coming to the UK in 2001.

 

I have been fortunate to have undertaken many different roles, serving customers in relationship management and sales roles and working in various functions (finance, IT etc). This has been useful as a CDO, enabling me to understand the issues of people across the organisation. In the past 22 years, I have been in internal consulting roles, running large change programmes or fixing broken “business as usual” teams. My success has been using process and data to understand and resolve issues effectively.

 

What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?

My proudest moment was the birth of my son. I am not one for dwelling on success, rather I am always looking for the next challenge.

 

Who is your role model or the person you look to for inspiration?

I always look at the people I work with to try to learn from them where they have skills I don’t, or they are more accomplished. This I find is very rewarding, allowing me to share my expertise and build on it, while working with others around me.

 

Did 2019 turn out the way you expected? If not, in what ways was it different?

I was very fortunate to get the CDO role with Allianz. In this role I have all the facets I believe a CDO should have from data science, reporting and information provision and data management. It did not come immediately, and I turned down several other opportunities in order to get the role I wanted.

 

What do you expect 2020 to be like for the data and analytics industry?

Much the same. There continues to be too much noise and too many buzzwords. This only confuses the masses. It needs to change.

 

Data and technology are changing business, the economy and society – what do you see as the biggest opportunity emerging from this?

The ability to join up data to deliver public services more effectively. This means efficiency of services both terms of cost and the services provided. Effectiveness means services provided to those who need it and ensuring the system is not able to be manipulated. Public monies are finite and as such we should use data to ensure we allocate funds in order to maximise social benefit. There is also a huge opportunity to implement preventative healthcare, and, while I understand the privacy concerns, this should not in my opinion be a reason not to try.

 

What is the biggest tech challenge you face in ensuring data is at the heart of your digital transformation strategy?

The problem is people see the challenge as a technology challenge. Digital transformation for me is maximising straight through processing. This is achieved by digitising inputs to make process more effective and deliver better employee and customer experience. In order to do this, it requires cultural change. This is technology, process and potentially structural change within an organisation. All too often this becomes “we are different” and the changes needed are not undertaken. By having an individual responsible for data, much like a CFO is for finance, it helps break down some of the barriers to making the necessary changes.

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