In 2006, I was honoured with the Spanish annual award granted by AEDEMO for my professional experience to date and for being the top graduate on the Marketing Master’s degree I studied. My favourite subjects were about statistics applied to business and I ended up working for BBVA in London on business intelligence. My passion for analytics, financial services and the UK grew and, after BBVA, I worked for Santander and American Express in roles that helped me shape the marketing strategy with analytics, from new product development and product-bundling offers supported by above-the-line campaigns to CRM activities. In financial services, I progressed in those organisations to more senior and influential profiles having direct links to the executive committee. Now in the Open University, I am leading an organisational change that will entail developing a centre of data and analytics that will effectively and efficiently exploit data assets to support the OU in achieving its noble mission and strategic objectives.
In analytics, it is always very rewarding when you see the impact of what you do on the strategy and the bottom line. In my career, being involved in the development of products like the Santander 123 product suite, positioning campaigns like 100-200-300 switching, shaping the American Express Centurion card proposition and helping partners to achieve results has been thrilling and a learning curve. Now in the OU, I am having the opportunity to define what the end-to-end capability will be in data and analytics to change our student’s lives. It is a great and worthwhile challenge.
Keep the focus and passion, continue to learn, grow your ambition to innovate, build your network and invest on soft skills straight away.
The OU is a consultative organisation and it takes time to agree and drive change. But in 2018 there has been real determination to materialise some changes that will be critical for analytics and its position. The direction of travel means that analytics innovation and using data to drive business success is becoming an integral part to define the strategy. 2019 will be a demanding year for my team, but we are now at the beginning of the race and we have the right running shoes to start off well.
In 2019, the links between technologies and data will continue to grow. It is crucial that organisations find the right balance between the optimisation and added value that technology can bring when exploiting data with the commercial mindset needed to embed these benefits in the organisation to impact results. Having the right balance of different skill sets will become even more crucial to lead a successful data and analytics team. Having robust analytical foundations like BI either centralised or devolved is vital to inform the business direction and the investment on technology and cutting-edge analytics.
Having a culture that promotes: 1) building a reputation within the organisation so team members feel acknowledged; 2) teamwork to allow cross-functional rotation so staff feel part of something bigger than themselves or their sub-teams; 3) development opportunities so there are clear career paths inside or outside the organisation; 4) meritocracy so progression is fair; and 5) innovation so there is investment into up-skilling the workforce on latest trends.
The use of data science to segment customers to drive engagement, predict outcomes to change behaviours and prescribe products to increase loyalty and impact results. Data science is growing and attractive to stakeholders and becoming an art to influence marketing and digital acquisition.