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Matt Lovell, Global Director of Data & Insight, Pret

Describe your career to date

When I was younger, I didn’t really know what I wanted to be when I grew up, and, frankly, the concept of having a career in “data” just wasn’t something that really existed, or, where it did, it was limited to financial analytics.

 

My first role out of university was as a planner at a digital media agency which unbeknown to me when I took the job, instantly threw me into a world saturated with data that was largely overlooked. I had a great opportunity to start exploring the art of the possible and look at both analysing and optimising campaigns for a wide range of clients. 

 

After eight years, I moved in-house and having worked for a range of well-known brands and having taken on broader roles/remits with each move, it’s been great to play a part of the ever-increasing focus on data within businesses.   

 

While I’m a capable technical practitioner, I’ve been lucky that my ability to help dissect a problem and look at the different ways we could use data to help answer the question at hand has proved invaluable and enabled me to establish data-driven decision making in each organisation. That said, I’m always learning, particularly from the new generations of data candidates we see coming into the field who often introduce me to a completely new way of approaching problems.

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

In terms of data maturity, we’re still in the very early stages of our journey but things are moving at a rate of knots. You only have to go back to the start of the pandemic when we knew very little about our customers and had limited data-sets beyond the primary source – till data from our shops.

 

Fast forward three years and we now have an abundance of data and we’re establishing governance around that. The key focus this year is around enabling self-service so that teams can start to embrace this and make data informed decisions. Data is a strategic priority for us to help us to navigate this uncertain market.

 

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

Our central data team will soon be ten strong and gives us a good base across everything from data governance and privacy through to analytics, reporting and data science. We’re all based out of our UK support centre in London with a remit for supporting markets across the world, from Asia through to the US. We sit within our global digital function, alongside technology, operations, digital product and trading, setting the blueprint for all of our markets to work from as they continue to grow.

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?

As an organisation, the biggest challenge for us is the thirst for everything now. Having only really turned our focus to data in the past 24 months or so, there are so many things that the business wants to do, and the more people engage with data, the more they realise what it could do.

 

As a result, prioritisation is key, so that in 12 months’ time we feel we’ve made real strides forwards and part of that is having a clear data strategy. There is also so much happening externally in the market, with new software and techniques available every month. In recent weeks, Chat GPT has been a major discussion point and has actually proved insightful when we’ve asked it to analyse data-sets so I’m excited to see what solutions we will have decided to incorporate before the year is out.

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?

Our vision for data revolves around enabling everyone across the business to be able to use the rich data we have across every area to help them make better decisions. A key component of that is around bringing everyone on that journey, from team members in our shops through to our CEO and shareholders, and ensuring they have the skills and access to be able to find what they need.

 

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

On a data quality front, we’ve made great strides forwards in the past 12 months by actively mapping out the data flows between all of our core systems. Our data foundations are constantly evolving so getting to where we want to in data quality is a journey rather than a destination, but we are getting to a great place.

Matt Lovell
has been included in:
  • 100 Brands 2022 (EMEA)
  • 100 Brands 2023 (EMEA)