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Dave Holland, Head of Data and Insight, Coventry Building Society

What has been your path to power?

I joined a BI software vendor as a consultant in the early 90s when business intelligence was a huge growth area. I focused on project management and after a successful spell at Vodafone, I established my own project and programme management consultancy.


After helping a number of large organisations to define and embed their analytics functions successfully, I joined Coventry Building Society in 2016 to lead its data warehousing programme and the development of a centre of excellence. Since then, we have grown into a data and insight function with a much broader remit.

What impact has the pandemic had on the role of data in your company/organisation?

For our team, it meant increased demands for data from internal teams and regulators alike, with a greater emphasis on real-time data. More strategically, it accelerated our digital transformation and, inevitably, data is a key part of that.


Does data now have a seat at the table during strategic discussions? If not, what will it take to get it there?

Data is recognised as a core capability in the organisation but we have a lot of ground to catch up. We need to demonstrate the potential of data to our colleagues and make sure we are delivering real value from the initial investments that we have made.

What are your key areas of focus for data and analytics in 2022?

Our priorities are driven by business strategy. For Coventry, that means eight shared goals and data is important to the achievement of most of them. Firstly, we need to deliver modern and resilient data foundations. Our new cloud data platform is now live, but we still need to migrate some important apps from our legacy data warehouse and get our basic business intelligence capabilities right.


Secondly, we need to increase confidence and understanding in our data. Much of that work will focus on our finance and treasury areas, embedding data governance within a key transformation programme. Finally, we need to look at our operating model. We need to scale our teams and align them to a product model to reduce friction and deliver more value.


Tell us what leadership means to you in the context of your role as a senior data leader.

Leadership is about setting the vision (the “why?”). You then need effective collaboration and communication with your team and other colleagues to gain support for that vision and a delivery mindset to make it happen.  Strong relationships with your team are also vital, which means building and maintaining trust.


Is the data tech you have keeping pace with your goals and requirements? Are your providers leading or lagging behind your demands?

I am increasingly optimistic that our new cloud data platform will prove to be the basis for future success. We need to complement that platform with data governance and data visualization tooling this year. As we progress, a digital transformation on both mortgages and savings, the volume and variety of data that we hold will increase significantly. That may expose further shortfalls and crystalise a need for a data fabric, including data virtualisation and metadata-driven automation.

Dave Holland
has been included in:
  • 100 Brands 2020 (EMEA)
  • 100 Brands 2021 (EMEA)
  • 100 Brands 2022 (EMEA)