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DataIQ Awards 2019 winner – Data and analytics leader of the year (Data Titan): Anita Fernqvist, chief data officer, Zurich Insurance UK

DataIQ Awards 2019 winner - Data and analytics leader of the year (Data Titan): Anita Fernqvist

When Anita joined Zurich as its first CDO, data was still viewed as a risk, rather than an asset. There was no engagement by the business with the idea of data for decision support, only routine management information reports and tactical solutions on a reactive basis. Data did not have a voice in the boardroom, let alone a career path for the dozen practitioners then in place.

With her leadership, this situation has completely turned around, creating a passion for data from the top down and a motivated team delivering transformative outputs. Anita has acted as a change agent through careful listening at grassroots-level, translating needs into the language of the business with a focus on positive impacts.

A data strategy, roadmap and operating model gained sign-off by a new management team, allowing a new data architecture and analytics function to be created around four core areas. Technical delivery of a multi-vendor data environment against a tight timetable has been central to this new culture, allowing the team to deliver a new strategic data asset to the business.

To ensure engagement across the enterprise, roadshows have showcased what the team is capable of delivering, combined with presentations to leadership groups, attendance at team meetings and webinars. As a consequence, the data office itself has a new engaged culture while the business has embraced its potential – even the CEO has used the hashtag #dataisthenewoil in social media posts.

From a team of 12 with low levels of motivation, there are now over 30 people in the function who have one of the highest employee net promoter scores in the organisation and have clear career paths to follow. All of this is helping to ensure data continues to be a catalyst for change and a focus in the boardroom. Anita’s impact has previously been recognised with the DataIQ Transformation through data award in 2018 and her place at number 7 in the 2019 edition of the DataIQ 100.

DataIQ Awards 2019
Year: 2019
Category: Data and Analytics Leader of the Year

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