“The most successful businesses are data-driven.” Eddie Short, Chief Data & Analytics Officer, 02 (Telefónica)

3 Mins read

Data and Analytics have become an integral part of organizations worldwide – both big and small. Analytics can help organizations enable key strategic initiatives and improve customer and partner relationships. It allows you to take data from a myriad of sources and analyse them. The result from these analytics can help improve organizational decision making at various fronts. However, to take full advantage of data and analytics, organizations need to know how to get full value out of data. A chief data and analytics officer can help organizations do just that.

We talked with Eddie Short, Chief Data & Analytics Officer, 02 (Telefónica) on how organizations can implement a data-driven culture and what can be the common challenges.

Read on.

1. Let us start with a quick introduction of O2.

O2 is the primary trading business of Telefonica in the UK, and the core business acts as a Mobile Network Operator.  The O2 network has over 30 million connections, making it the Number One in the UK.  The business has a turnover in excess of £6 billion per annum and has delivered considerable growth of the last few years.

2. Please walk us through your role as the CDAO for O2. Why do you like working in this space?

At O2 I am accountable for all of our Data, and the leader in supporting the end to end business in exploiting that data through Advanced Analytics for both Performance Management and Revenue Improvement. For me, Risk and Performance are two sides of the same data, and what I love about my role is that it touches all aspects of our business and is pivotal in ensuring we are maximizing the quality and value of our products and services to best serve our customers.

3. How, according to you, can organizations implement a data-driven culture? Please share some tips.

Helping organizations and ultimately people to realize that Data Ownership and Control is not a source of individual power and control, but an opportunity for repeatable and scalable, fast and agile decisions. Any organization that wishes to be customer-centric, (and surely that is all organizations) needs to know their customer and that requires you to harness and leverage any and all data you (have consent to use) and that means being data-centric.

4. Why, do you think, is the role of CDO is becoming pivotal across organizations? What business challenges are CDAOs best positioned to solve?

I believe that is the unique contribution to both Risk and Performance of the business and insight on customers and financials that make the CDO an increasingly pivotal role.

5. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning can help organizations get more value out of their existing data. What do you think?

Human Beings are very creative but proven to be very poor and unreliable decision-makers, as we can only ever process a small sub-set of data. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence models can analyze all available data, efficiently and effectively, and help codify and drive the optimum rules for business decision making. This can lead to both an agile and ‘industrialized’ model to decision making, which also supports a real-time personalized experience for Customers. And that significantly improves the value an organization gets from its Data.

6.How important is data analytics for accelerating innovation and forging new paths in a post-COVID19 world?

The most successful businesses are data-driven, and so-called Tech and/or Digital companies ultimately use Data as their primary source of competitive advantage. If COVID-19 has taught us one thing it’s that the past is not necessarily an indication of the future, and consequently, we need to be much faster in responding to change. Data & Analytics are fundamental to that.

7. O2 5G network serves a total of 108 towns and cities in the UK. How this 5G roll-out has improved people’s everyday lives. Please shed some light.

The initial roll-out of the 5G network, is building a core capability that largely leverages existing 4G infrastructure. At this time we are only scratching the surface of much faster connectivity, gaming and capabilities such as augmented reality, are creating lifestyle opportunities, but are yet to be truly transformative. As the 5G infrastructure expands and interconnects across the country, real-time healthcare, transport, financial services and many other capabilities that are enabled will transform people’s lives.

8. What keeps most data and analytics officers up at night? (The most disrupting trend according to you in the data/analytics space)

Deep Learning. Models that don’t necessarily rely on historical evidence and data, but can redefine a problem and how to resolve it. Whilst General Purpose AI is a long way away, Deep Learning demonstrates methods to dramatically outperform traditional human and/or machine learning-based decision making.

9. Name three industries or sectors you think will benefit the most from the implementation of data and analytics in the coming year.

Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare and Government. Despite the trials and tribulations of the Government, COVID-19 has unleashed the need for transformational data and analytics in the entire Healthcare and Government value chain.

10. How would you describe a day in the life of a CDAO?

It’s like being a juggler on a unicycle-riding along a tightrope. It can be very exciting, and uniquely challenging, as you have a lot of balls in the air, and a very complex landscape of people and data to manage and navigate.

Read Next: “Data virtualization offers a unified and integrated view of the data when it is needed.” Charles Southwood, Regional VP, Northern Europe & MEA, Denodo

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