My First 90 Days as Chief Data Officer

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Ahead of Corinum’s Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Sydney conference in March 2017, we caught up with Mark Hunter, Chief Data Officer of Sainsbury’s Bank (UK). It was great to get a snapshot of Mark’ s experience in his new role and the similar challenges faced by data and analytics professionals in Australia and  the UK.


Corinium: You are relatively new to the Chief Data Officer role. For those about to embark on a similar journey, what have been the key lessons learned in the first 90 days that you would like to share?

Mark Hunter: Although CDO is a technical role, the most important thing to remember in the first 90 days is that “it’s all about people”. Invest time to listen intensely to what people are willing to share with you. This should include your team, the broader data community, stakeholders and your company’s leaders. This should give you a good understanding of where to focus your attention.


Although CDO is a technical role, the most important thing to remember in the first 90 days is that “it’s all about people”.  

Corinium: You will be speaking on “How Architectures Need to Evolve in Order to Leverage New Innovations in Analytics” – a really interesting topic given the staggering amount of talk around machine learning and artificial intelligence. How can you make your company machine learning ready?

Mark Hunter: Unfortunately many firms are not quite analytics-ready, never mind machine learning! During my career I’ve seen firms struggle to come to terms with the fact that analytics results need to find their way onto production data platforms. The issue is that many production data platforms were built to support a static set of requirements, which is the absolute opposite of analytics.

Corinium: What are the biggest challenges people face when it comes to getting the data landscape right?

Mark Hunter: The biggest challenge is how to mainline analytics. By this I mean that we need to build data platforms that are adaptive to change and welcome analytics as a first-class citizen.

Corinium: What are the key factors to consider in how architectures need to evolve?

Mark Hunter:
The biggest factor to consider is how to remove friction out of the system. Some of the types of friction I’ve been focussing on are data, analytics and people. How do we make it easy to add new data and new types of data onto the platform; how do we make it easy for analytics results to find their way onto the platform; and how do we structure our people to ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards a common vision.

Corinium: Why do organisations need a ‘logical data warehouse’?

Mark Hunter: Data is evolving; we are capturing increasing volume and variety of data. It is crucial that our data platforms cater for all of the data and analytics requirements, hence the need to evolve towards a logical data warehouse.

Meet Mark and an amazing line up of over 60 speakers at the Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Sydney taking place on the 6-8 March, 2017.

For more information visit: www.chiefdataanalyticsofficersydney.com  
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JUST RELEASED: Chief Data Scientist, USA - Speaker Presentations | #CDSUSA

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On 16th - 17th November 2016, Corinium launched the inaugural Chief Data Scientist, USA; the premier conference for high-level data science practitioners to get a detailed roadmap for developing the leadership role for data science. The event set out to assist anyone looking to fully exploit the data science capability within their organization.

Using an interactive format, the forum brought together over 100 senior-level data science peers to share their latest innovations, best practises, challenges and use cases, as well as facilitate conversations and connections.  Alongside keynote presentations from our senior speaker line-up, our informal discussion groups, in-depth masterclasses and networking sessions provided the opportunity to take away the new ideas and information to deliver real benefits to attendee's companies.













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What the C-Suite Thought Leaders in Big Data & Analytics are saying about Corinium [VIDEO]

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Corinium events are different. Our extensive experience has led us to develop a new format that gives you the chance to not only hear from the leading minds in the industry, but to contribute to the critical thinking being shared.

"We all learn differently...and this format [discussion groups] let's us learn by participating. And that is the thing we will remember.  It's personal.”

We connect C-Suite executives in the Data, Analytics and Digital space and focus them into Discussion Groups where genuine progress can be made. Each group is dedicated to the topic of greatest importance to you and includes the most knowledgeable people on the subject.

After our expert Co-Chairs initiate the discussion, you are invited to offer your own experiences or questions, sparking a free-flowing and open conversation in which over 65% of the participants typically contribute.

CEP America, Georgia Tech & McGraw Hill Education explain how Corinium Discussion Groups gives a rare opportunity for senior-level executives to have the time to participate with one another in such a personal format.  Barriers are discussed and decisions are made on how to move forward, and more importantly, how to solve challenges together.’

SAP, PwC, TimeXtender &  Caserta Concept  are discussion group facilitators.  PwC and SAP lead discussion groups all around the world at Corinium C-Suite events, and continue to do so because of the value of these interaction.


What our participants had to say:

We all learn differently...and this format [discussion groups] let's us learn by participating. And that is the thing we will remember.  It's personal.”
Dipti Patel, Chief Data and Analytics Officer, CEP America

'It really takes the coming together of people like these [Attendees of the Chief Analytics Officer Fall]...to tell us, this is the problem we need to come together to solve'
John Sullivan, Director of Innovation, North America Center of Excellence, SAP

'I think the interactions here are much better than...the other conferences I have ever attend'
Oliver Halter, Partner, PwC

'The people at the Corinium events are the decision-makers and are the people that push the industry forward. If that benefits the industry, great. If that benefits us too, also great."
Romi Mahajan, Chief Commercial Officer, TimeXtender

To learn more, visit www.coriniumintelligence.com    
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CCO Forum: What Customer Experience Leaders were talking about

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What an amazing event these last two days at the Chief Customer Officer Sydney. I feel very privileged to have spent so much time speaking with some of the best minds in Customer Experience.

I noticed during my conversations that there are some common themes for what is expected for the future, what is working in the present and what is holding back progress.

1. Lead the pack

Mark Reinke of Suncorp set up his presentation by talking about the extinction of the Mammoth and how as a child you get taught about this and assume it was quite a sudden extinction. In reality, it happened very slowly as the Mammoth did not adapt to the changing environment.

There seemed to be some shared sentiment that it was not only important to adapt to avoid extinction, but that the first mover advantage was significant when it comes to customer experience opportunities.
There seemed to be some shared sentiment that it was not only important to adapt to avoid extinction, but that the first mover advantage was significant when it comes to customer experience opportunities.

2. Alignment with IT is a priority

The jealousy was almost unanimous upon finding out that Richard Burns of Aussie leads both the CX and IT teams, helping to increase the velocity of CX change projects, which brought into view the issue, that many at the forum were struggling with IT alignment.

I heard from many conversations that delays caused when the Enterprise Infrastructure cannot support the next phase of CX transformation, were top of the agenda to avoid.

To many, the solution is ensuring that IT teams are included in forward planning and that contingencies are in place to resource projects that take advantage of a "moment in time opportunity" as one attendee put it, without having to compromise on projects essential to the "Roadmap".

Whilst there are certainly some strategies to solve this problem, internal agility and alignment continue to be a challenge for most companies.

3. Agility and expertise of partners/vendors

When it comes to transformation and digitisation, many companies do not have the skills in-house to be able to ensure the success of an implementation. There is an expectation that the Vendor they end up choosing will bring this to the table along with the product. The feeling was that the initial success and speed of delivery came down to choosing a partner that was able to provide this at a high level.

Whilst there were certainly examples where this was not the case, I heard some amazing feedback on this front about some of the Vendors in the room.

As well as the expertise, the ability to change course and assist quickly, wth one of those "moment in time" opportunities was what created the stickiness with some of their closest relationships.

4. Using Data to inform transformation and product development opportunities

This was perhaps the most interesting to me as a self-professed data enthusiast, in that whilst many companies are still struggling to harness their own internal data to understand customer behaviour, there are many companies looking to use both internal and external data sources to better understand what their customers will need predictively rather than historically.

The ability to use these insights to create better products and provide better service seems to be the goal for many.

In many cases, however, attendees were suggesting that (back to point 2) their IT Infrastructure was not ready to support and would be a few years away unless they could find a cost effective solution to skip a couple of steps.

These certainly were not all of the themes, but a good representation of the conversations I had across the two days.

Thank you to everyone who shared so willingly, it was an amazing learning experience and I can't wait to do it all again in Melbourne

Thank you especially to our wonderful Sponsors and Presenters who supported the event and the attendees with their insights, knowledge and solutions. The feedback on how you assisted and educated across the event was spectacular.

By Ben Shipley: 

Ben Shipley is the Partnerships Director at Corinium Global Intelligence. You may reach him at ben.shipley@coriniumintelligence.com   
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How to Put Data at the Heart of Everything We Do

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Ahead of Corinium’s CDAO  Sydney event, we spoke with keynote speaker Darren Abbruzzese, General Manager, Technology Data, at ANZ to find out more about their group data transformation program. We also gauged his views on data as a tool for competitive advantage, its importance in the financial services industry and the role of the Chief Data Officer, its longevity and evolution.

Meet Darren and our amazing line up of over 60 speakers at the Chief Data and Analytics Officer Forum, Sydney taking place on the 6-8 March, 2017.


For more information visit: www.chiefdataanalyticsofficersydney.com 

Corinium: You will be speaking on “data at the heart of everything we do” – how have ANZ’s data needs changed in the last 18 months?

Darren Abbruzzese: Providing customers with a fantastic experience is absolutely critical in developing and maintaining deep and engaging relationships. The minimum expectation around what is a ‘great customer experience’ is being continually lifted by interactions our customers have every day with companies like Uber, Facebook, Google and the like. These companies are really raising the bar on what a great digital experience is all about. Customers then come to their bank and expect a similar level of experience. We are embracing that challenge and working to deliver a standout customer experience, both digital and through our branches. We can only achieve that if we make the best use of our data. A great customer experience, one that is tailored to the individual and their specific needs, can only be successful if we use the data we share between us and the customer to its full extent.  This helps us create a unique and engaging experience for our customers, and it will lead to a more engaging relationship than they’ve had in the past.


The minimum expectation around what is a ‘great customer experience’ is being continually lifted by interactions our customers have every day with companies like Uber, Facebook, Google and the like.

Corinium: Digital channels must play a huge part in that. What are your top technology investments in the coming year?

Darren Abbruzzese: Big data and fast data are major priorities. The amount of data we produce as a bank is exploding and we need to ensure we’ve got the tools to harness and make use of that data, which is where our Big Data capability comes in. But having a scaled infrastructure and Hadoop capability is not in itself enough. As a customer, I want real-time information and I want it relevant for my specific interaction. This is where fast data comes in. Moving away from earlier batch-based patterns and towards real-time capture and exposure of data into our internal and customer-facing channels is a key pillar to our strategy of developing a digital bank.

Corinium: How will ANZ’s group data transformation program cater to the diverse enterprise needs?

Darren Abbruzzese: As a large organisation, servicing millions of customers across a multitude of countries and segments we certainly have a diverse set of needs when it comes to data. Trying to deliver to the needs of the organisation via individual solutions won’t get us very far. Instead, our approach is to shape our delivery around solving common bank-wide problems, and being lean in our approach so we can learn, react and move at pace. Some of those common problems are things like data sourcing and collecting millions of data points from hundreds of platforms on a daily basis and consolidating that into joined up, usable models. If we solve that common problem we will make consumption of data via reporting easier and faster. Having a view about a medium-term architecture is also critical. While the technology in the data landscape is moving fast, the capability we need to help deliver our strategy is clear. Building common assets in line with that architecture will help us move at pace and solve for individual business or project needs.

Corinium: What are the leadership challenges educating and synchronising a global data team?

Darren Abbruzzese: It really comes down to being clear on our purpose and ensuring our staff understands what we are trying to achieve and why. If everyone is clear on what will make us successful, and how as a team we will add value to the organisation, then day-to-day decision making will be faster and more aligned to strategy. That’s easier said than done though and requires a lot of work.  Putting our purpose in a PowerPoint pack and emailing it around isn’t going to cut it.  We need to continually reinforce our purpose through concrete measures such as our organisational structure, operating model, architecture, delivery processes and KPIs. We can talk about purpose, but if we embed it in the way we work then it will become part of the culture. 

Corinium: What’s your opinion on the view that the CDO role is just a flash in the pan job title that will eventually become merged or lost amongst the web of new C-suite titles?

Darren Abbruzzese: Banks traditionally have seen their deposits and loans as strategic assets, and also their customers, staff and technology.  In each of these cases there’s been solid management structures established in recognition of the importance of these assets to the future of the organisation.  So we have a bunch of C-suite roles to lead these functions. Data has emerged as a core, strategic asset of any organisation that needs to be curated, managed, protected and leveraged just like any other strategic asset. Data needs a clear organisational strategy – what will we use data for and how will it help make us successful? It needs to be managed and protected. Whether it needs a Chief Data Officer really depends on each organisation and how they operate. That might be a role absolutely critical in raising the profile and importance of data, or it might be something the CEO themselves will define and drive. In other cases, generally where data is already more maturely managed, it has already been well-embedded into the organisation on many levels.

Data has emerged as a core, strategic asset of any organisation that needs to be curated, managed, protected and leveraged just like any other strategic asset. 

Corinium: What do you consider to be the key building blocks to establishing an effective data governance framework?

Darren Abbruzzese: Two key pillars: the first is the age-old problem of “garbage in / garbage out”. Start with what are the key data elements for your organisation and put in place processes to govern the collection, checking and cleaning of data right from the source and throughout its lifecycle. Someone needs to be accountable for this process or it won’t happen, or it will happen for a few months and then fall away. The second pillar is ensuring you have really strong information security and user access management in place. Nothing will destroy the credibility of your data program more, and perhaps even your organisation itself, if you were to suffer a data breach via internal or external means.  It's an important asset so protect it.

Corinium: What do you believe to be the most common form of ‘bad data’ and what effect can that have an organization?

Darren Abbruzzese: Poor data quality management can have a really detrimental impact. If poor data capture and management processes allow inaccurate, or wrong, or misleading data to pollute your key information assets then all the investments you’ve made into building a data capability will be for nothing. Your reporting won’t be trusted and you’ll spend countless hours trying to explain it. Your analytical efforts will return misleading signals potentially leading to sub-optimal or downright disastrous decisions. Your data program will lose credibility – as will you – as you’ll be left to explain the bad outcomes, even though you may not have controlled the input. So clearly, data quality right from the start is really important.  Again, it comes down to data being a core asset of high value and needs to be treated as such.   

Corinium: The financial services industry understands the value and power of data, why do you think that is? How do you see that developing in the next 3-5 years, with particular reference to the use of analytics?

Darren Abbruzzese: Banks have appreciated the value of data and what that means for their businesses for a long time. It's only been in the last few years as the tools and capability have started to mature that banks have begun to make better use of their data and do it at scale. I believe we are only at the start of this journey. Banks have been pretty good at developing digital channels for their customers, and these are the predominate ways that customers now interact with their bank for simple transactions, but looking forward it is by blending data into all of our channels that will drive the next great leap forward. Using analytics to really understand the needs of the individual customer, recognising what they need and are likely to need in the future, and building that into their mobile and desktop interface in an engaging way is where banks will go next and it’s pretty exciting.

Join Darren and 200 attendees at the Chief Data and Analytics Officer Forum, Sydney taking place on 6-8 March 2017.

For more information visit: www.chiefdataanalyticsofficersydney.com   


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Activewear brand evolves from sports clothing to wearable fitness tech | #CDSUSA

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Editor's Note: Recently, at the Chief Data Scientist, USA, we had the pleasure of being joined by @SiliconANGLE Media, Inc. (theCUBE) to interview some of our attendees about the world of Data Science. Watch the video below. This article written by Bev Terrell was originally posted on SiliconANGLE blog.  

While most people think of Under Armour as the supplier of sportswear and sports footwear, it also owns the digital apps MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal and Edmundo. As such, the company has taken the first steps this year toward more investment in wearable technologies, called “Connected Fitness,” so that people can track their exercise, sleep and nutrition throughout the day.

Chul Lee, head of Data Engineering and Data Science at Under Armour Inc., joined Jeff Frick (@JeffFrick), co-host of theCUBE*, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, during the Chief Data Scientist, USA event, held in San Francisco, CA, to discuss aspects of the Chief Data Scientist role and Under Armour’s move into wearable fitness technology.

Being your own advocate

During a panel discussion held earlier in the day, Frick noted that Lee had brought up the point that in addition to being a scientist, a CDS also has to be a salesperson to sell the role, engage the business units and help them understand what they’re doing, at the right level.

Lee expanded on that by saying, “I learned, through many experiences and many years of failing, that there was an ‘ah-ha’ moment where I had to start communicating and being a salesperson.”

He also explained that data scientists tend to think they have to unpack the ‘black box’ of whatever project they are working on at the time and try to explain everything that they are doing to everyone. Data scientists feel the pressure to talk about the science aspect of projects and how it is done, rather than focusing on the value you’re trying to deliver to your customers.

Lee has found that all that is needed is to explain your project at a high level to coworkers and make sure they understand and are supportive of that.

Data is in sports clothes, too

Frick asked about how Under Armour got started with its Connected Fitness services, the software services arm built around the Endomondo, MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness apps.

“The way we start thinking about shoes and shirts is that, OK, you need to enter an experience around shoes and shirts,” he said, adding that because data is everywhere, in every sector, they asked why shouldn’t it be in fitness clothes, too.

Watch the complete video interview below:


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The Gawker effect: Can deep learning go deep enough to write tomorrow’s headlines? | #CDSUSA

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Editor's Note: Recently, at the Chief Data Scientist, USA, we had the pleasure of being joined by @SiliconANGLE Media, Inc. (theCUBE) to interview some of our attendees about the world of Data Science. Watch the video below. This article written by R. Danes was originally posted on SiliconANGLE blog.  


When now-defunct Gawker revealed its use of analytics in content decisions, many old media types shook their heads; algorithms must not replace human judgement in journalism, they warned. But some believe a happy medium is possible: Data can be sourced and analyzed to inform content writers while leaving them with the final say on what readers see.

Haile Owusu, chief data scientist at Mashable, said that this space where data meets human knowledge workers is fertile ground for innovation. He told Jeff Frick (@JeffFrick), host of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, during the recent Chief Data Scientist, USA event that data practitioners do their best work in tandem with “people who are not especially quantitative, who are expecting — and rightfully so — expecting to extract real, concrete, revenue based value, but are completely in the dark about the details.”

Digital research assistant

Owusu explained how Mashable assists writers with data without encroaching on their judgement. They utilize an accumulated history of viral hits, its Velocity Technology Suite and its CMS.

“What we found is that writers are able to distill from sort of a collection of greatest hits — filtered by topic, filtered by time window, filtered by language key words — they are able to incorporate that collected history into their writing,” he said, adding that it does not simply fetch more clicks, but actually improves the quality and depth of their writing.

Two heads are better than one

Owusu stated that deep learning neural networks are able to grok the nuances of data in an almost human manner.

“They’ve allowed us to do feature extraction on images and text in a way that we hadn’t been able to before, and there has been a significant improvement in our ability to do predictions along these lines,” he concluded.

Watch the complete video interview below:


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Show me the money: selling inexact data science to tight-fisted investors | #CDSUSA

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Editor's Note: Recently, at the Chief Data Scientist, USA, we had the pleasure of being joined by @SiliconANGLE Media, Inc. (theCUBE) to interview some of our attendees about the world of Data Science. Watch the video below. This article written by R. Danes was originally posted on SiliconANGLE blog.  

What industry takes risk management more seriously than finance? Corporate and personal investors want a gold-embossed sure thing when they sink their cash into a venture. So techies who come to them with an untested data analytics toy will likely find them tough customers. Some folks in the finance world are out to dispel anxieties by educating investors on why data sometimes picks a winner and why it may fail.

Jeffrey Bohn, chief science officer at State Street Global Exchange, said the confusion lay in the problem of data quality. He also believes that companies still do not have enough hands on deck to separate the wheat from the chaff.

“You still find 70 to 80 percent of the effort and resources focused on the data preparation step,” he told Jeff Frick (@JeffFrick), host of theCUBE*, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, during the recent the Chief Data Scientist, USA event.

Data scientists spread too thin

According to Bohn, more data stewards are need to select quality data and to free up analysts to innovate and find solutions.

“I’ve had problems where you have great models, but data quality produced some kind of strange answers,” he explained. “And then you have a senior executive who looks at a couple of anecdotal pieces of evidence that suggest there are data quality issues, and all of a sudden they want to trash the whole process and go back to more ad hoc, gut-based decision making.”

The best and the rest

Bohn argueds that to increase data quality, companies need to start culling from a greater number of sources.

“We’ve recently been very focused these days on trying to take unstructured data — so this would be text data, it might be in forms on PDFs or html document or text files — and marry that with some of the more standard structured or quantitative data,” he said.

Watch the complete video interview below:


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