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How to Achieve Successful Data Transformation for Long Term Business Value

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Demonstrating business value from data transformation pivots on quick wins with measurable outcomes, a focus on data quality, developing a strong data culture, ensuring management buy-in, and dealing with everyday change such as the forthcoming implementation of Consumer Duty Regulation.

A CDO panel at A-Team Group’s recent Data Management Summit London dived into the detail of data transformation. The panel was moderated by Niresh Rajah, managing director, head of data, RegTech and digital at Grant Thornton, and joined by Sarah Walker, head of data and analytics, commercial and institutional at NatWest Markets; Diane Berry, chief data and analytics officer at Phoenix Group; Gurprit Singh, global head of data and analytics at Partners Capital, Hany Choueiri, interim head of data at Sainsburys Bank; and Indhira Mani, head of data management and tooling, at Anglo American.

Defining data transformation

The panel got going with a definition of data transformation. As one speaker put it: “The biggest transformation is evergreen, not a one and done transition such as a migration project, but lots of programmes with data at their core and an evergreen approach.” Others noted data transformation as changing the way the business works, and moving on from siloed teams to build multi-disciplinary squads using the same metrics and bringing more use of data and digital to the business.

Quick wins

Quick wins, whether in the cloud or on premise, are central to successful data transformation. Panel members said quick wins are best achieved by bringing skilled people together, elevating the conversation and developing proofs of concept to get the business thinking about what it can do. A clear understanding of the business can also help transformation teams find quick wins and deliver, along with identifying opportunities to automate.

Data culture

Conversation on data culture was accompanied by an audience poll on the challenges of developing a strong data culture. The poll results showed 29% of respondents noting no single source of truth for data, 28% no well defined and streamlined processes of data access across the organisation, 21% low levels of data literacy across the organisation, 6% mistrust and lack of confidence in data, and a further 6% lack of buy-in for data from senior data management.

Acknowledging the poll results, panel speakers suggested data culture could be strengthened by building relationships in the business and discussing what can be done with data. Alternatively, an internal services – which can be towards 50% of an organisations’ people – can be branded and partner with the business.

Consumer Duty Regulation

The FCA’s Consumer Duty Regulation is also on the CDO agenda, with the panel noting that future data products must incorporate consumer duty considerations. Quick wins here include implanting the FCA rules now rather than waiting for the deadlines. Essentially, the new duty sets higher and clearer standards of consumer protection across financial services, and requires firms to put their customers’ needs first. The rules will come into force on a phased basis with new and existing products or services that are open to sale or renewal subject to the rules on 31 July 2023, and for closed products or services on 31 July 2024.

Finally, a word of warning on adopting cloud in data transformation. “Everyone loves cloud, but does everyone understand it? Lessons learnt suggest the need is to bring IT, security, business and other teams on the journey. You need to coral a lot of people to get this right.”

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