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Cristina Diofebbo, Senior director, strategic insight and analytics, Sky UK

Path to power

 

From the beginning of my career, I’ve had one guiding mantra: analyse, innovate and impact. It’s always helped me to connect the dots between commercial, content, marketing and financial insights in order to deliver more effective strategic customer decisions. This is particularly key in my current role leading the strategic insight and analytics function in Sky UKI. Running a multi-functional team, including strategy, analytics, research, econometrics and campaign planning talents, my core mission is to influence a broad set of strategic decisions across all business areas (including content, marketing, commercial and strategy). We do that by unearthing consumer insights. Prior to joining Sky, I held multiple roles across a number of territories for American Express, including pricing, acquisition, customer management and product development. This variation in roles allowed me to work across a range of business strategies and front-line projects, gaining experience in a number corporate functions. However, I actually started my career in consultancy, helping clients managing their P&L effectively. I followed that with an experience in investment banking where I had the opportunity to support complex trading strategies, leveraging the MSc in Finance I gained at CASS business school. I also have a degree in Economics and Business Management and gained a chartered accountant qualification.

 

What has been the highlight of your career in the industry to date?

 

Developing our function into a key strategic asset for Sky against the backdrop of a changing media landscape and internal operational change. We are a high-performing, multi-functional insights and analytics team which I consider the best in the media industry. We bring data, insights and consumer trends to the top table, influencing critical decisions from senior stakeholders and transforming business performance. It’s something I am incredibly proud of.

 

If you could give your younger self some advice about how to progress in this industry, what would it be?

 

Learn more about different corporate functions, either through projects or through job rotations. It really gives you an invaluable opportunity to immerse yourself in critical commercial aspects of the company and industry you operate in. Learn how the company makes money and the context in which operates. Insights and analytics only add value when they are linked to the commercial context.

 

Did 2018 turn out the way you expected? If not, in what ways was it different?

 

2018 was a great year for me and my team. Firstly, we rebranded to strategic insights and analytics, which is more reflective of the value executives associate with the team, as well as the important role we play in the business. We have also evolved our customer closeness programme, regularly showcasing a range of key insights about our products, customers and services to senior execs. And, finally, we have been able to recruit top talent from across the industry to drive future performance and innovation.

 

What do you expect 2019 to be like for the industry?

 

I expect senior leaders in the industry will place more and more importance on insight and analytics to deliver their strategic agendas, putting more focus on developing talent not only with technical skills, but also with strong financial and commercial skills. Indeed, I think that development plans will also evolve to include more soft skills. Communication, for example, is key if stakeholders are to engage with insights in an effective way across the organisation. I expect more collaboration between big corporates and data start-ups, complementing current analytical tools and capabilities, increased democratisation and automation of data, and an evolution of customer journeys that includes more personalisation powered by new sophisticated marketing data tools.

 

Talent and skills are always a challenge to find - how are you tackling this in your organisation?

 

First of all, we have built a very clear career framework for strategic insight and analytics professionals in Sky. This is coupled with strong internal training plans which develop not only technical skills, but also commercial and financial skills. Secondly, we run a very strong graduate programme, tapping into key talents across a broad range of degrees and universities. Lastly, we work in strong partnership with our recruitment team to source the right candidates across a very diverse pool of talents, increasingly leveraging social channels.

 

What aspect of data, analytics or their use are you most optimistic about and why?

 

I am fairly optimistic to see insights and analytics professionals become better at translating their technical analysis in clear and concise commercial outputs. This will help them become more impactful in strategic discussions across different corporate functions and, ultimately, create strong partnerships with business decision-makers.

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