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Chris Lockley

Chris Lockley, Director of Decision Intelligence, cinch cars

Describe your career to date

 

My first decade in the industry has been spent building multi-disciplinary data teams (30+ FTE), with an unwavering focus on delivering commercial value and customer first mindset. I currently lead the Decision Intelligence function at cinch – the UK’s leading automotive e-commerce business. Operating as part of the Exec Team, harnessing data to deliver an exponential growth in sales, increasing conversion rate of visitors over 300%, A/B experimentation contributing over 6,000 sales per year, and data-led, personalised CRM campaigns regularly achieving 50%+ CTR.  

 

Having honed my early craft as a Data Analyst working across management consultancy clients, I progressed to spearhead Data Transformation at JLR. As their Global Retailer Network Reporting and Analytics Manager, I engineered a shift from a solo operation to a diverse team of Data Analysts, Scientists and BI Developers. Our focus on delivering data-driven insights and recommendations redefined JLR’s approach to measurement and improvement of their retailer network. I advanced on to another inaugural Head of Data role for BCA, a large pan-European B2B, where I successfully formed and led a team spanning multiple business divisions, dismantling silo’s and fostering a matrix team structure, unlocking comprehensive and previously unattainable business insights. 

 

My latest role as Director of Decision Intelligence at cinch has provided the opportunity to create a data function from scratch. Onboarding shortly after cinch’s launch, my team and I have transformed the perception of data from being an after-thought, to now being recognised as a business-critical enabling asset. This has most recently been recognised with cinch winning DataIQ’s Best Place to Work in Data 2023. I am optimistic looking ahead to the coming decade, building upon my leadership of high performing teams, an unwavering pursuit of leveraging data as a strategic enabler and championing innovation in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and generative AI. 

How are you developing the data literacy of your organisation, including the skills of your data teams and of your business stakeholders?  

 

As a member of the Exec Team, I champion the importance of data literacy to take people on the journey, making data accessible and understandable to all through numerous data democratisation, familiarisation, and self-service initiatives. Examples include; equipping the Exec Team with short, medium, and long-term data-driven insights and recommendations to inform decision making; launching an intuitive data visualisation tool across the organisation; making self-service of insights “a cinch”, sustained with new starter onboarding to enable a fast start to accessing the data they need to perform their roles, as well as regular training to enable greater levels of data exploration from our cloud Data Warehouse for those that require it.  

 

I have introduced regular business updates on initiatives being delivered by the Decision Intelligence function, often in collaboration with the business stakeholders we work with, ensuring colleagues can relate to the data products and services being provided in the context of the decisions they enable our stakeholders to make. I am passionate about developing others; I ensure the continual professional development of our Decision Intelligence colleagues. We have SMART objectives in place for all team members, a dedicated training budget for colleagues to spend as they and their Line Managers determine best – aided by an internally developed competency framework for all core data roles, assisting colleagues in identifying their current versus desired level of proficiency across a range of technical and non-technical competencies, providing them with awareness of skills gaps to address. I am mindful that everyone has different learning preferences and styles, therefore training interventions have taken various forms, including on the job training with peers, and classroom and online training courses and mentoring, all to enable individuals and teams to fulfil their potential and develop data literacy. 

What are the key challenges to your data function that you are facing as its leader? 

 

While cinch is only three years old at time of writing, it has grown rapidly, establishing itself as a leading brand in a crowded market by offering a truly innovative service focused on the needs of the customer, aided by data to inform decision making. Cinch started from a point where, as previously stated, data was initially an after-thought or second-class citizen, through to now being valued as a truly enterprise-wide asset and the Decision Intelligence function being regarded as a business-critical enabling function, unlocking competitive advantage for cinch. Establishing a solid data foundation early was key, so concentrating our time and resources on building our data platform to act as the single source of truth enabled us to achieve early stage descriptive, diagnostic, and inferential analytics capabilities, with timely, reliable, and accurate reporting. We promote a commercial focus for our Decision Intelligence function, with a relentless emphasis on surfacing the “so what?” from data to inform decision making – enabling us to advance further through the analytics maturity curve into prescriptive analytics, with recommendations made by the team being adopted to drive strategic change and inform short, medium, and long-term business planning. Having established our data platform and focusing on data quality and governance while accumulating a critical mass of training data, we have been able to establish a Data Science practice, driving cinch’s capabilities in machine learning – and most recently generative AI – to progress to predictive analytics and true Decision Intelligence (where decisions are automated with data, augmented with human oversight and intervention only where required), with early models delivering high impact commercial results. While cinch has further to go on its data maturity journey, being awarded DataIQ’s Best Place to Work in Data 2023 shows a level of maturity and capability beyond our years. 

Chris Lockley
Chris Lockley
has been included in:
  • 100 Brands 2024 (EMEA)