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Lynn Pope, head of division: data strategy and management, St James’s Place Wealth Management

Lynn Pope

Path to power

After deciding that my original degree choice in alternative energy was not quite right for me, I went on to study information systems and economics. After graduating, I had my mind set on consulting and was fortunate to gain a role as a consultant at Amadeus Software, who specialised in SAS software. After five years of travelling and working with many different organisations developing solutions in SAS, I joined the AA.

 

It was a role that included the mobilisation of the technical team to support and subsequently expand the organisation’s data warehouse and realisation of the business information strategy. I then joined Mango Solutions in a data science role which gave me the opportunity to work with some exceptionally talented people, to learn from them, and to be involved in some truly innovative initiatives.

 

I my current role I am leading on data strategy, supporting our partners and clients as with move forward with our data and digital transformation.

 

What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?

It’s difficult to select just one career highlight, I have been very fortunate to work for some great companies with some fantastic people, and to be part of some very exciting data and analytics ventures. For me, the last few years have been fantastic, moving to work within the data science community for a data science consultancy. I have had the opportunity to work with some exceptionally talented people, to learn from them, and to be involved in some truly innovative initiatives.

 

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

I cannot say I have only one role model, I take my inspiration from the data community, leaders, writers, and speakers I have met and am yet to meet.

 

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

2019 brought more stabilisation with joining St James’s Place, we are modernising our business while keeping our values of face to face advice. It was great to lead a team that during 2019 completed one of the largest data migrations as we moved from our legacy administration platform onto the Bluedoor platform, and to be able to celebrate with them. I have been fortunate to work in a great community where we can share and learn at so many different types of events, and I have met some very inspiring data leaders. I also finally achieved my ambition to work with children and technology and started teaching Python at my local primary school.

 

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

Digital transformation has been a discussion for some time now, I think now we realise that we need to take a data-driven approach to all aspects of business if we want to gain competitive advantage. Alongside this, AI and machine learning will continue to progress, as we see the “citizen data scientist” becoming common place in organisations, with automated tools and built-in algorithms being developed in traditional systems such as CRM.

 

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

If done correctly, digital, automation and AI could provide the opportunity to help shape and drive our economy. However, companies need to be aware of the growing desire in consumers to think ethically and choose who they do business with. This is not just based on price and ease, but how companies are affecting society; be that people’s health, well-being, climate or even their local community. In the current economy, companies that recognise this will come out on top.

 

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

Technology is not our biggest challenge but making sure technology does not become the primary focus; we need to ensure that we our led by our partner and customer experience, and not let new shiny tech take over. Ensuring that this is our focus, we have digital and data working very closely on our transformation as without data digital transformation will not be a success.

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