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Seema Mandhra, insights and analytics director – dplay, Discovery Inc

Seema Mandrha

Path to power

I started my digital career at ABCe (Audit Bureau of Circulations electronic), where I got a taste of the web analytics industry. Working as a digital auditor provided me with a platform to gain a vast amount of knowledge and experience across web analytics, data capture and reporting, by conducting various audits across multiple digital “print” platforms.

 

Working with raw analytics data gave me an insight into the true capabilities of analytical tools, I then transitioned into a web analyst role, bringing me into the forefront of producing reports via the analytics tool UI. In 2011, I joined ITV, where I gained experience in implementation; this is where my passion developed for data analytics, allowing me to combine analytics implementation with reporting.

 

I later joined Channel 5 and continued within the broadcasting industry, which has led to positions at Viacom and my current role.

 

What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?

I have been fortunate to work across multiple broadcasters, including ITV and Channel 5, where I had the responsibility of ensuring their online web and video on demand services were accurately measured and reported.

 

My experience with Discovery Channel has been an interesting journey so far. When I initially joined there was a need to aggregate data sources and track customer behaviour across all platforms. Among these challenges, the main priority was to replatform the entire analytics framework. As a team we managed to implement a customer data platform (CDP), unifying our online and offline data to create a single customer view. This integrated all marketing channels to optimise marketing and analytics capabilities, creating a unified customer database.

 

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

There are many impressive leaders and role models. I do not follow or look for inspiration in just one, however, what inspires me the most are good leaders within our industry. I have been fortunate enough to work for some amazing female leaders, who have inspired my career and supported my continuous development.

 

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

Last year has been extremely challenging but also rewarding. The main challenges were introducing a VoD product across multiple territories and ensuring the analytics was in place to provide effective feedback. Having to do this with limited resource has been a challenge. Last year was an important milestone for Dplay, as we have successfully implemented a customer data platform.

 

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

Based on my experience this year, I can see artificial intelligence, applying advanced analytics with machine learning becoming more prominent as analytics teams look towards automated reports, spending more time analysing and taking action.

 

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

Coming from the media industry, technology and analytics has significantly improved the customer experience across all platforms. Providing tailored content based on user behaviour and allowing users to access content whenever and wherever they are with a personalised experience. With the advancement of AI and machine learning, I can only see this enhancing the consumer experience.

 

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

Digital transformation is forcing companies to change their business models and adapt to the new market reality. These changes are being driven by the customers. Analytics provides the ability to read what the customers want based on their usability, but the customer dictates the business strategy, which is why unifying customer data and providing the ability to target segmented audiences becomes important. The tech challenge has been accomplished by implementing our CDP, the actual challenge is ensuring that data is at the forefront of every business decision, as opposed to making decisions based on what you think the customer wants.

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