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Elizabeth Hollinger, head of analytics and BI, Aggreko

Elizabeth Hollinger

Path to power

I studied mathematics and stats at university and always loved trying to understand patterns of information in large data-sets. I began my career in the insurance industry, joining Aegon and studying to become an actuary. From there I joined Deloitte in the actuarial consulting team to focus on analytics in insurance. Through that time, I gained exposure to other teams and projects and enjoyed the challenge of working across a variety of industries with different sets of data, communicating the messages contained within them and making a real impact on decision-making. I then moved into the analytics team at Deloitte, leading our analytics work across the public sector, helping them to use data to solve business problems.

 

I joined Aggreko in summer 2018 and I lead a team of data engineers, data scientists, business analysts and developers, who use data to drive insight across the business. I work with the business to identify areas where data could add value, building collaborative project teams and finding innovative ways of leveraging our data towards successful solutions. In addition, I am responsible for Aggreko’s information governance framework, to ensure that insights are trustworthy, credible and actionable.

 

I have a passion for helping people understand the value of data, communicating complex ideas in a simple way to enable effective insight-driven decision making.

 

What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?

I am fortunate to have had many highlights in my career to date, and the common theme across them is the great people I have had the pleasure of working with. From the coaches and mentors who helped kick-start and support my career in data; to the great teams I have worked with throughout the years. I’m delighted now to lead my own data team, supporting them to grow and develop in their data careers. In 2019, my team won the award for Data Excellence at the LBG National Business Awards and I am so proud we achieved this external recognition.

 

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

I recently read Michelle Obama’s autobiography, which was fantastic. She is incredibly honest about her experiences, how she achieved success and what was difficult along the way. She is someone I look up to as a strong female leader, who has achieved success through hard work and determination and has managed to do so while maintaining authenticity and integrity.

 

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

2019 was a great year for data in Aggreko. We designed and implemented a modern cloud-based data platform as a central source for operational data for our global business, improving the performance of our models and reports. In addition, we used this platform to successfully integrate machine learning algorithms to our business processes, enabling us to progress towards our ambition of becoming an insight-driven organisation.

 

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

I expect we’ll see continued growth for the data and analytics industry in 2020 – I don’t see the pace of change slowing down any time soon. To build and enhance trust in advanced analytics, there will be a maintained focus on ethics – developing analytical products with strong ethical governance to make sure the power of data is used in a fair, transparent and appropriate way. In my own industry, I expect to see an increased opportunity for AI on the edge, taking advantage of more sophisticated IoT devices and their operating systems, leading to a more integrated IoT grid.

 

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

I’m optimistic about the impact analytics will have on social good and improving public services. We have already seen examples of the use of AI to predict medical conditions and prescribe the right treatment, leading to better outcomes and managing shortages in skillsets. As the use of analytics continues to grow, I’m looking forward to seeing what more we can do as data experts to make a positive contribution to society.

 

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

The biggest challenge we face is keeping up to date with the rapid pace of technology. It is difficult to stabilise our technology stack since there are always new products that enter the market. We must balance trying out new technologies and taking advantage of new features, with maintaining a stable delivery, continuing to add value to our business.

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