4 episodes

Data-Driven Leaders is a podcast for business and technology leaders who are trying to shape and influence the future of the data and analytics space. In each episode, Christina O'Reilly interviews data-driven leaders who are at the forefront of using data to solve complex business problems. In each episode, leaders share their journey, their thoughts... and the highs and lows of what it takes to build a data-driven culture.

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Data-Driven Leaders is a podcast for business and technology leaders who are trying to shape and influence the future of the data and analytics space. In each episode, Christina O'Reilly interviews data-driven leaders who are at the forefront of using data to solve complex business problems. In each episode, leaders share their journey, their thoughts... and the highs and lows of what it takes to build a data-driven culture.

    Using Data to Fuel Your Company's Performance - With David Lloyd of Ceridian

    Using Data to Fuel Your Company's Performance - With David Lloyd of Ceridian

    At our current pace, we produce 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. And with the rapid growth in data analytics, data will only continue to evolve and grow.
    However, companies are already drowning in the massive amount of accessible data. If we don't do something about it, this problem will only get worse as the data volume increases.
    In this episode of the Data-Driven Leaders podcast, our host Christina O'Reilly welcomes David Lloyd, the Chief Data Officer at Ceridian. They get into the importance of understanding the ‘why’ of your organization before understanding the ‘why’ of your data. They also talk about data-driven cultures and ways to minimize risk when handling large volumes of data.

    Guest-at-a-Glance
    💡 Name: David Lloyd
    💡 What he does: He's the Chief Data Officer at Ceridian.
    💡 Company: Ceridian
    💡 Noteworthy: David's entire career has been shaped by data in some way. This ultimately led him to become the CDO at Ceridian. He considers himself “a data hack from a long time ago.”
    💡 Where to find David: LinkedIn

    Key Insights 
    ⚡When dealing with large volumes of data, start by figuring out why data is important for your organization. With the flood of information coming at us daily, it's getting harder and harder to make sense of it. That's why we need to start asking the right questions. David suggests we start by understanding the ‘why’ of our data. Why does your organization exist, and where can data make the biggest impact?

    "One of the things I find is that it's almost become overwhelming for most organizations because they're trying to eat the elephant in one bite, and they can't do that. The volume of data that’s coming at them doesn't allow for that. So they have to be discerning, and I think we're so busy in our day-to-day lives and our business lives that I'm not sure that we're stepping back and asking ourselves, 'What are the four or five things that we would love to know about our business? [...] What's the root benefit of it? Do we capture data that is actually going to matter in answering those questions?' I think that's the starting point."
    ⚡ We don't have to be data scientists, but we do have to be data curious. With the world becoming more data-driven every day, companies need to keep up and should strive to adopt data-driven cultures. David says that doesn't mean we should be data experts, but we do need to be curious about data.

    "It starts with making sure that the people that you're hiring have a focus on actually understanding or utilizing data, and I think that's one aspect of it. [...]. Everybody can't think like a data scientist. They don't have a math background. They don't have many things that would make a data scientist truly excellent at what they do. But curiosity about data is what I would look for when I'm hiring."
    ⚡ With powerful data comes great risk. Here's how to minimize it. Data is only powerful when you know how to handle it properly. But with great power comes great risk. David and Christina talk about possible ways to minimize that risk.

    "Before we get into all the fancy stuff, if you don't know where it came from and you can't trace it back, that's your first problem. So you need to know what's the source of that data. You need to understand that lineage. The next step is: what is the quality of that data? Is it accurate? Does it represent data that's been modified in some way, shape, or form? So there's that aspect of it, and then there's the transformation of it — putting it into a format or augmenting it in a way that provides better value to the organization."

    • 32 min
    How to Build a Data-Driven Culture - With Katia Saenko of Cadillac Fairview

    How to Build a Data-Driven Culture - With Katia Saenko of Cadillac Fairview

    The concept of a data-driven culture is not a novelty, and companies from around the globe are looking for ways to make the most out of it, but not all of them can deal with the volume of generated data.
    That's why they need experts to help them approach data adequately using the right tools and processes.
    In today's episode of Data-Driven Leaders, our host Christina O'Reilly chats with Cadillac Fairview's SVP & CIO, Katia Saenko. Katia and Christina discuss the importance of agility, alignment, and data literacy for a healthy data-driven culture. 
    Guest-at-a-Glance

    💡Name: Katia Saenko
    💡What she does: Katia is the SVP & CIO at Cadillac Fairview.
    💡Company: Cadillac Fairview
    💡Noteworthy: Katia is a seasoned technology executive, leading businesses through multiple digital and core technology transformations.  
    💡Where to find Katia: LinkedIn

    Key Insights
    ⚡ Agility is the number-one quality required of a leader in the data-driven space. Companies need to have agile leaders, especially those whose businesses revolve around data and technology (that is, pretty much every company in the world). However, as Katia says, the balance between agility and governance is more important. After all, they all need to follow a specific set of regulations to conduct business.

    ''For example, for the company I work for, personal data is very important and other companies are following SOX, FD, GDPR, et cetera, so we have to make sure that the data is secure, and we can provide certain guarantees that we are following those types of regulations. At the same time, if we think about the implementation of the right processes, agility is welcome.''
    ⚡ Alignment between different parts of your organization is critical. In 2020, Cadillac Fairview launched an app called LiVE by CF. It is a customer-centric application, which is unusual considering that Cadillac Fairview is a property operator. Even though it’s been nearly two years since the app’s release, the CF team still focuses on making sure everyone knows the app's purpose.

    ''I need to establish that level of alignment with our operations teams which run the malls and ensure that the people who are within the mall and those who are servicing the mall have an idea of how this application works because that could impact how they need to respond to the customers. For example, if you're thinking about the service desk area in the mall, they need to be knowledgeable about the application and play within the journey that we have created within the digital path. That was very new. So that was a bit of a change management-type of experience for us. But I guess the biggest alignment was around going beyond just the tenants, going to the customer and connecting with them, and explaining all of that data to help them navigate the mall.''
    ⚡ We need more women in the data space. Although the tech space is male-dominated, female experts are becoming more visible.

    ''We tend to bring some of those soft skills to the table, in addition to the deep technical knowledge. So aligning the organization [with] the idea of data (which is sometimes not readily acceptable), what is the return on investment on data, and why is it practical and pragmatic? All of those questions do require soft skills. I think that's one of the opportunities that women have noticed and have started moving in that direction.''

    • 25 min
    How Data Brings Value to Your Business - With Former Minto Properties COO George Van Noten

    How Data Brings Value to Your Business - With Former Minto Properties COO George Van Noten

    Today, information is power, and as today’s guest says, we should look at data as if it is an asset. But few companies have adopted adequate technologies and strategies for accessing, analyzing, and unlocking the value of their data.
    That's why businesses that want to stay relevant in the market and ensure an exceptional customer experience must rethink how they approach data. 
    In today's episode of Data-Driven Leaders, our host Christina O'Reilly welcomes George Van Noten, the former COO of Minto Properties and Minto Apartment REIT. George discusses the most common challenges companies face with data, the importance of deep learning, and shares what he would do differently as an executive.

    Guest-at-a-Glance

    💡 Name: George Van Noten
    💡 What he does: Industry Expert
    💡 Noteworthy: George is the former COO of Minto Properties and Minto Apartment REIT. 
    💡 Where to find George: LinkedIn

    Key Insights
    ⚡  We need to think of data as if it were an asset. We all know the lyrics of "Money makes the world go round." However, it is safe to say that data (also) makes the world go round, and companies that want to stay competitive in the market, regardless of the industry they operate in, must rely on it to meet customers' needs. Still, many organizations struggle with determining the value of data. Here's what our guest's perspective on this matter is:

    ''I think you need to think of data [...] as if it were actually money. And so, if you think about the diligence and the care that you would put into a cash register, you should treat data in the same way because it has inherent value.''
    ⚡ Adequate technology and strategies are vital to making the most out of the data you collect. As our guest explains, it all comes down to ''shifting from taking a divisional approach to your data.'' However, he says that data is more of an organizational challenge than a technical one, so it's up to C-suite executives to focus on overcoming it.

    ''I think step one is to understand what data you have, and in what format, and what data you think you need, which is not always internal data. So what are the pools of data, both internally and externally? I think those conversations need to happen, not at the divisional level, but at the C-suite level.''
    ⚡ We need to be agile. Although it is crucial to collect as much valuable data as possible at a given moment, we need to be aware that today's relevant data will not be relevant forever. That's why being agile when approaching information is of the utmost importance.

    ''We don't know how our competitors are going to evolve going forward. We don't know what the economy is going to do a year from now. We don't know whether there's going to be another health crisis or world event. We don't know what we don't know in terms of information. So whatever we design, we need to be able to adapt it to the changing environment.''

    • 28 min
    How to Connect Data and People to Drive Greater Customer Experiences - With Alicia Samuel of Holt Renfrew

    How to Connect Data and People to Drive Greater Customer Experiences - With Alicia Samuel of Holt Renfrew

    Providing a seamless and enjoyable customer experience is the number one priority for businesses all over the globe. And it's become crystal clear that data is the key to a customer's heart.
    But how can you effectively connect people and data, build a data-driven culture, and drive greater customer experiences? 
    In this episode of the Data-Driven Leaders podcast, our host Christina O'Reilly welcomes Alicia Samuel, the Senior Vice President of Information Technology at Holt Renfrew. We get into the importance of data science, how to provide your customers with relevant information by using data insights, what are the biggest challenges around connecting people and data, and so much more.

    Guest-at-a-Glance

    💡 Name: Alicia Samuel

    💡 What she does: She's the SVP of Information Technology at Holt Renfrew, a Canadian fashion and lifestyle retailer.

    💡 Company: Holt Renfrew

    💡 Noteworthy: She has 24+ years of experience in Information Technology with strengths in strategic IT road-mapping and delivery.

    💡 Where to find Alicia: LinkedIn

    Key Insights
     
    ⚡Your customers want a personalized user experience and relevant information. Customers are savvier than before, and they know their way around online shopping and browsing. Now, it's up to businesses to identify customers' pain points, listen to their feedback, and give them what they need. That's why data is so powerful; it's the way to a customer's heart. You just need to know how to use it effectively.

    "Our customers, especially after the pandemic, are very savvy about how they shop, what they're looking for. They want organizations to know them and to personalize information to them. [...] You want to make sure that when you're engaging with a customer, that it's really relevant, that it is showing that you know who they are and what they're interested in. You've got that information from multiple channels and sources and you can really cultivate that relationship with the customer because, honestly, all retailers are competing for a customer's attention."

    ⚡ The biggest challenge with having a lot of data is figuring out how to effectively use it to create a good customer experience. According to Alicia, pulling data is not the issue. The data is there. The challenge is how do you make the right decisions and create effective strategies based on that data.

    "The new channels or multichannel data that we're trying to pull in, we can get that data. Then what do you do with it? How do you make the decisions with that data? How do you get to the execution of creating that new customer experience? What are the right algorithms and user stories that you need to build in order to do that without coming across as creepy or providing way too much interaction with the customer?"

    ⚡ Data is the future. Alicia and Christina talk about the power of data, and they both agree that the future of customer experiences is data-driven. If businesses want to put their customers first, they need to learn to leverage data and understand customer behavior.

    "In order to engage with that customer to win them, you have to drive forward on a really solid data strategy, and there's a lot of noise out there about what that looks like? There's a lot of MarTech out there about whether we could do this, or we could do that, but really you've got a ton of data. I'm sure all organizations are in the same spot. We've got a ton of data we've clocked in. Now, what are you doing with it for your decision-making and your execution with the customer? And that becomes the important part."

    • 19 min

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