My First 90 Days as Chief Data Officer


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.

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