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Martin Houghton, Chief Data Officer, JLR

Describe your career to date

I started my career in the energy industry with Shell in the early 1990s. My very first position grounded my appreciation of the connection between reality, data and its potential to transform performance. Responsible for the physical audit of the network and compute infrastructure, I maintained a large inventory and reporting system for all our fixed assets. This role got me out into the real world of the business (refineries, production facilities, etc) and really set the trajectory for my career. 


Several data-related positions later I moved to a relatively small boutique analytics company as a performance management consultant, working across a range of industry clients. I rejoined Shell a couple of years later, with much broader industry and technology experience and went on to lead data and analytics initiatives across the globe for various business units. 


BP came next, a big global role – setting data strategy, deploying transformational data management, data quality and analytical capabilities within the downstream business. A very enjoyable and formative part of my career with probably too many air miles clocked up! 


I took up my first CDO role four years later in 2006 with Computer Science Corporation. My second CDO appointment came in 2012 with Hewlett-Packard and, finally, reaching the executive committee as CDO for Target Group in 2018. I then spent an incredible time contributing to public sector services, from earth observation satellite systems, environmental services, healthcare services and so many other diverse data landscapes for Serco. I’m now leading the charge on data in the journey in the electrification of our luxury automotive industry with Jaguar Land Rover… A dream job.

What stage has your organisation reached on its data maturity journey? 

We are leading the pack when it comes to data maturity. There is still lots to do but we’re investing in people and skills, that is the heart of becoming a data-driven business.


Tell us about the data and analytics resources you are responsible for

We are investing in a hub and spoke federated model. We can’t do it all from the centre, we need to spread and embed the skills across the business domains. We have several hundred data specific roles in the digital core, with thousands of data practitioners dispersed and embedded across all functional disciplines, including engineering, HR, finance, product, customer etc. It’s pervasive.

What challenges do you see for data in the year ahead that will have an impact on your organisation and on the industry as a whole? 

Sharing, collaboration, openness. Data is fast becoming a team sport. Those who embrace this first will win.

Have you set out a vision for data? If so, what is it aiming for and does it embrace the whole organisation or just the data function? 

Yes. It’s IP and I can’t share it.


Have you been able to fix the data foundations of your organisation, particularly with regard to data quality?

Now, that’s a great question… It is a work in progress and needs prioritisation.

Martin Houghton
has been included in:
  • 100 Brands 2023 (EMEA)
  • 100 Enablers 2019 (EMEA)