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David Hutcheson, Head of Data and Analysis, BMJ

What has been your path to power?

 

After a brief flirtation with a career in computer games testing in the late 1990s, I’ve worked in a number of data roles starting as a database executive for a market research company and then for an engineering company, Buhler Sortex, in East London.

 

I moved from client to agency side to work for Broadsystem, a marketing services and database agency, where I first got to work with single customer views. In 2007 I joined Oxford University Press specialising in developing SCVs to support the delivery of marketing strategies.

 

In 2012 I joined BMJ, a global healthcare knowledge provider, where we started to build a team of data specialists. Currently I’m head of data and analysis, with responsibility for BMJ’s data strategy which aims to deliver value from our customer and user data.

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

 

2020 was about weathering the impact of the pandemic organisationally and understandably some of the future aspirations for data were not able to be progressed. Through 2021 the understanding that a strong data capability is needed to underpin the future success of BMJ’s digital transformation has been recognised and supported.   

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

 

Increasingly so, but to have a permanent seat will require meeting the expectations that come from investing in data capabilities to generate revenue, engage digital audiences and deliver organisational efficiencies.

 

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

 

Broadly, our key area of focus will be continuing to improve our data quality by developing our master data and metadata management capabilities, further developing the delivery of effective self-service reporting, developing our advanced analytics capabilities and enabling BMJ’s digital transformation.

 

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

 

For me, leadership means ensuring that the people and teams that I work with in the data department are able to deliver fulfilling work that has a positive impact on the business. I believe that this is done by being clear on what we need to achieve, by having open discussions about the best way to meet our goals, being able to say what we are not going to work on and being committed to continuous improvement.

 

What key skills or attributes do you consider have contributed to your success in this role?

 

Early on in my career I was able to develop a deep understanding of the data platforms that I worked with and the data within them. I was also able to use this knowledge to show how good data capabilities enable organisations to be more effective.

 

How did you develop – and continue to develop – these skills or attributes?

 

Through a mixture of formal training focused on the theories of data governance and strategic leadership as well as soft skills workshops, and industry networking events like roundtables and conferences.

 

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

 

On the whole I would say that our data tech is keeping pace with our needs. We have access to good technologies which are constantly evolving. In that respect I think it’s important for everyone within our data function to have a deep understanding of the technologies they work with and whether any new features that are released can be applied within the context of our operations. At the same time, it’s my responsibility and the other leaders within the data department to be looking to the future and determining what new technologies we might need to invest in.

 

 

David Hutcheson
has been included in:
  • 100 Brands 2019 (EMEA)
  • 100 Brands 2020 (EMEA)
  • 100 Brands 2021 (EMEA)
  • 100 Brands 2022 (EMEA)