We had a privilege of interviewing Rick Davis, VP, Global Data Office, Kellogg Company ahead of the upcoming Chief Analytics Officer, Spring happening on May 2-4, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona. In this fascinating interview, we discussed the evolving role of analytics leader, the challenges of the role and the ultimate goal of wowing with insight.
Corinium: Please tell us about your journey to becoming a data and analytics leader.
Rick Davis: I think there are very few people who have been in the industry for 20+ years, who idealised a career in data and analytics. For me personally, being at the forefront of the technology and BI space in our organisation naturally put me in a place to evolve into the space. The key is to always be willing to look outside, see what others are doing and learn from that. Being a successful leader in data and analytics requires one to remove the blindfold, see the big picture, be willing to lose your bias and drop your baggage. In other words, what got you here, may not get you there. Most people are most comfortable when they are repeating something they have already done. The data and analytics promise is bigger than that. It is about seeing things, learning things, and trying things, which you have never done before. You have to be a bit of a risk taker, and a change agent.
Corinium: Do you see your role changing/evolving in the next 5 years? If so, how?
Rick Davis: I absolutely do. The space is not defined or limited, and analytics is going to evolve significantly with IoT and AI. We have to change/evolve with it.
Corinium: What are the main objectives for data/analytics within your organisation?
Rick Davis: Today, it is problem solving and optimisation, but it needs to become more about driving the forms of innovation that we have not focused on. Operational, Customer Experience, and Business Model.
Corinium: What is the biggest challenge you face within your role today and how are you looking to tackle it?
Rick Davis: There are a couple of things which are challenging. There is always an urge within the organisation to maintain status quo, try things that worked before. There is also a lack of understanding on what advanced analytics can do and that it depends on breaking down functional silos and barriers. The power and the money will flow from connecting things we have not connected before and uncovering correlations and causals that we did not know existed before.
Corinium: What do you feel is the biggest challenge faced by the analytics/big data industry currently and in what ways does this affect your business?
Rick Davis: I would say it is the rapid pace of change and advancements within the technologies. The current business model does not support rapid advancement. The ROI / business case model just can’t keep up and it is too resource intensive. Companies have to start placing some bets. That starts by educating within on what others are doing and where they have been successful.
Corinium: Where do you see the biggest area of investment in analytics within your industry over the next 12 months?
Rick Davis: Our path is set for the next 12 months and it is around improved quality of analytics with traceability and customer/consumer experience.
Corinium: If you could have one piece of technology which would revolutionise you and/or your departments activities, what would it be?
Rick Davis: A technology that educates the masses while eliminating all “sound bites” 🙂
Corinium: What is your ultimate goal as a data and analytics leader?
Rick Davis: Wow with insight and enable the organisation to keep up with and ahead of changing consumer trends!
Hear Rick speak at the Chief Analytics Officer, Spring event on May 2-4 in Scottsdale and attend his highly anticipated Masterclass: Structuring teams for success and business integration You can register for the event and his session HERE