The Data & AI Podcast Ep. 1 – Quantifying the Value and Impact of Data

The Data & AI Podcast Ep. 1 – Quantifying the Value and Impact of Data

Are you a new data leader that’s struggling to get buy-in from the wider organisation?

If so, you aren’t alone. In our first episode of the Data & AI Podcast, Rockborne’s CEO Waseem Ali sits down with Craig Civil, Director of Data Science and AI at the British Standards Institution (BSI) to talk about their experiences as data leaders.

In this episode, Craig shares some of the biggest challenges he’s come across throughout his career, how he’s overcome them, and some key lessons he’s learned along the way.

Craig Civil Introduction

Straight out of university, Craig’s first role was with the National Health Service (NHS) in Norfork, where he helped digitise the NHS’ data. They’d previously kept all their records in huge binders, and Craig’s job was to transcribe this printed data into digitised computer systems. This was his introduction to computers, and since then, he’s never looked back.

Craig moved up the ranks within the NHS, eventually taking on a leadership role where he managed information teams within the health service. In total, he worked at the NHS for 15 years, but eventually, he was ready for a new adventure.

So, he gave up the comfort of public sector to join a start-up called Health Dialog. There, helped build the organisation from the ground up. After a few years, the start-up got bought by Bupa, a health insurance company, which introduced Craig to the world of insurance. This would come in handy down the line, as a few years later, Craig was given an opportunity to work at Lloyds Insurance (where Craig met Waseem). He worked at Llyod’s for five years, before he got approached by BSI to head up their data and AI innovation team, where he is today.

Throughout his career, Craig’s had the opportunity to build up several data teams from scratch. Because of this, he is no stranger to the challenges that come with establishing a data function in a business that has previously had no data team, whatsoever.

What Does Quantifying the Value and Impact of Data Mean?

Quantifying the value and impact of data involves learning how to effectively communicate data’s value to your organisation, in a way that cements the value of a data team.

Why is this important? The pay-off from data projects can take three, four, or five years to come to fruition, and the upfront investment can be significant. Because of this, it’s crucial that data leaders learn how to paint the vision of data and tell stories in a way that really sells data’s long-term value.

To do this, data leaders need to gain an understanding of a business’ ultimate needs, and then create a road map on how data can support these overarching business goals.
According to Craig, the key to this is collaboration and communication – data leaders must get the businesspeople on their side to succeed.

Data Leaders are Data Salespeople

In Craig’s experience, it is not an easy feat winning stakeholder over. Especially in a highly regulated industry like insurance, where many people are naturally “to the book,” which makes many wary of innovation or new process that disrupts the status quo.
Because of this, data leaders need to act as “salespeople” because often, a bit part of their role is selling the value of their data team to the rest of the organisation.

So how can you win people over? As Craig mentions in our recent whitepaper, going after the “low hanging fruit,” can be useful, or in other words, identifying some quick wins that allow you to build up a positive reputation. These early successes will give you more leeway when the biggest projects inevitably come up.

Craig’s Biggest Success

When Craig was working at Health Dialog, he worked on a project with the King’s Fund to create an predictive risk model that would analyse patient data and make recommendations on how to keep people as healthy as possible.
It was a rewarding experience because Craig saw first-hand how data can have real-world impacts on people’s health.

Watch the full episode here:

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