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Payal Jain, managing director, JCURV

Payal Jain

Path to power

Having had a successful executive-level career in banking for the last 19 years, including being recognised as number one in the 2016 DataIQ 100, I started consulting by joining JCURV as managing director. Here, I am leading the Datagility proposition, which is encouraging organisations to change radically the way they work with data, making big data small to deliver at speed.

 

My passion is to enable all organisations to leverage their data to ensure the UK maintains its competitive advantage. During 2019, the Datagility proposition has supported clients in unlocking c£400 million in returns and was key in JCURV winning the DataIQ Award for Data Transformation of the Year for its work with Sainsbury’s.

 

I take a significant leadership role in industry and have continued to be chair of Women in Data (WiD), a not-for-profit organisation that is seeking to achieve gender parity in data and technology roles, especially at senior levels.

 

Through my leadership, the network has increased to over 25,000 women in the UK from 125 in 2015. During the past 12 months, I have attended forums at Downing Street and been a keynote speaker in many conferences, discussing how organisations need to evolve to extract the value of data and raising awareness on the importance of diversity.

 

In 2019, I was recognised in the HERoes Top 100 Women Executives in the UK and highly commended in the category of Digital and Technology in the Asian Women of Achievement Awards, as well as being shortlisted as Woman of the Year in the Credit Awards.

 

What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?

I have so many proud moments in my career, the red thread is about making a difference. A few highlights are:

 

- Turning the Danish credit card business around from a loss to a profit

 

- Establishing strategic analytics at Barclays into a core capability that added incremental growth of the business

 

- Being part of the JCURV team supporting FTSE 100 CDOs in their data transformations and helping unlock millions of pounds of value to their organisations

 

- Leading Women in Data and seeing the network grow to 25,000 across the UK

 

- And being recognised as number one in the 2016 DataIQ 100 list (of course).

 

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

I find great inspiration from Toto Wolff, the CEO of Mercedes F1 team. Not only has he led the Mercedes team to deliver incredible results, he is an inspiring leader. He’s not afraid to fail, admit mistakes, always strives to improve and aims high. We can all learn from him.

 

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

Most companies across all sectors say that data will be the source of their competitive advantage in the years to come. What’s incredible, however, is that the true value of data has yet to be unlocked in many organisations – with 74% saying it’s just too complex. I thought as an industry we would be further along this journey. Over half of data scientists are now looking for a new role in 2020 because of this – they want to work on making a difference yet get stuck in low level work that is often bureaucratic and siloed. We need to change this.

 

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

I really hope more organisations overcome the complexity to unlock value, so we are in a position to demonstrate how customers and companies can be served better through data. It’s essential during 2020, that there is a greater emphasis on aligning to customer and business outcomes instead of functional expertise, working cross functionally, and delivering value early by breaking down complex challenges into smaller tasks – making big data small. Some of this breaks the mould on how we have historically worked, but it’s time to empower teams in these new ways of working.

 

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

The thing I love about working in the data industry is that you can solve the world’s largest problems through data. Technology enhancements in AI for example are outpacing people capability, the possibilities are huge in what the positive impacts on society can be, from detecting disease to offering us products that only our subconscious knows we want. I am also excited about what this can do to bring more diversity and talent into the industry from different backgrounds, as the sector is so exciting in defining the art of the possible.

 

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

From our experience at JCURV, we see that our clients are challenged on two issues. The first is realising the benefits of previous investment in data technology; the second is if they have investment spend from the executive, where best to spent it. Our advice is to always align to business outcomes and then the answer becomes much clearer.

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