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Mark Pollard, Digital transition director, EE - Everything Everywhere

Path to power

 

My career started at Ventura Customer Service Management which later became part of Capita. Here, I got my first opportunity to truly see data in action through analytics, reporting and evaluation. I joined BTCellnet (O2), a leading UK network in 1999, after supporting a major billing platform project. I held roles in IT, marketing, CRM and BI. My 14.5 years there culminated in a transformation of data, analytics and campaign solutions which linked insight and value to customer need. In 2014, I joined News UK, one of the UK’s leading media businesses, to establish a new decisioning team in business intelligence, introducing new customer-focused campaign journeys. As customer experience director I was leading customer service, events, campaign management and customer experience. I then undertook a short consulting role with Vodafone Global at its partner network, Proximus in Belgium, implementing a data monetisation programme. In October 2017, I joined EE to establish the foundations for a combined BT consumer decisioning strategy which will roll out through 2019/20. As digital transition director, I am leading the transformation of the EE and BT digital teams into one consumer digital team with new ways of working based on agile methodology.

 

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

 

My career highlight to date was my role as head of relationship marketing at O2. This is a highlight based on the success of the team, rather than me personally. Working with CRM practitioners advanced in their field who were ruthlessly customer-focused with genuinely positive approaches was a brilliant experience. Having a team you trust and who trust you is an ultimate highlight for any leader.

 

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

 

Take more risks! Take roles that excite and look for leaders who inspire. Experience different industries and engage in learning opportunities whenever they arise.

 

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

 

2018 became the year of GDPR. This eclipsed many other areas of progress. Although plans were in place and agreements were secured, GDPR was still a painful development in the data arena. The coming together of the EE and BT consumer businesses has resulted in some loss of pace while we rightly review the differing strategies and agree the focus of the new combined consumer teams.

 

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

 

2019 will see the advancement of machine learning and AI in data. Big businesses will consider this more relevant in the coming year and we will see the technology develop for the mainstream. I also think that automation and personalisation will continue to be key themes. 5G will enter the market on a number of networks across 2019/20 and allow broader access to new technology. It will be an exciting year.

 

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

 

We’re aiming to create roles that stand out in the market. We may not always be able to pay the most, but what we offer as the number one business to work for is broader. We aim to fill certain roles through recommendation and referral. We maximise our partnerships and work with flexible work partners.

 

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

 

Decisioning and recommendation retain my optimism. Enhancing personalisation in customer journeys across all touchpoints will maximise the data opportunity and increase customer engagement.

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