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Lorenzo Bavasso, director of data analytics and AI, BT Group

Lorenzo Bavasso

Path to power

I started my career in consulting where I learned how to define and implement a vision and I have overseen projects in several areas, including web applications, supply chain automation, data and business intelligence. I then joined the telco industry where I worked in big business and technology transformations. I kept moving from transformation to transformation, in different areas of the business, from back office, to customer management/omnichannel and finally data, because I enjoyed the challenge. All that experience has stood me in good stead to lead the big cultural change needed to build a truly data driven business.

 

What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?

I would say the ability to always position myself and my team as trusted disruptors. One example is the partnership with the data protection officer and the legal team I had in my last role to get the company in shape for GDPR. We defined and explored new limits together. There are many other examples, but the concept is always the same.

 

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

Great innovators like Henry Ford. He thought out of the box but also made his innovations scale, so that they became the new standard. For me, the inspiration comes when I see great ideas executed to change our lives, and that is very often the real challenge.

 

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

Broadly yes, in terms of professional challenges and opportunities, especially in the industry I am in, where the need for transformation is increasingly evident. I was expecting business functions to drive the data agenda more, but there is still work to do, it is still too technology driven or at least it is believed to be, with CDOs often sitting in technology but playing a business transformation role or leading in data products.

 

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

I hope to start seeing the gap closing between the very high performers and the rest, with more and more scaled implementations and significant value driven with data at the core of digital products. I expect to see data product owners develop their services to get more from data science. I also believe the trend towards ethics frameworks will continue.

 

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

I believe the biggest opportunity we have overall is knowledge. Accessible, deep, distributed. The more we are able to analyse data efficiently, the more we will become an informed society. There is of course a big ethical challenge and a responsibility associated to that. From a business perspective, it will be more and more about the amazing things that can be built on top. Products and more and more services and end to end digital experiences.

 

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

To make information available and understandable and to convince stakeholders that the right technology is necessary but is not the silver bullet. There is a side effect of the fast growth of SaaS platforms because they all come with some analytics and this makes it difficult to drive a coordinated change. Again, the tool is seen as the solution, but it is not.

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