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  • Murtz Daud, Chief Data Officer, St Andrew’s Healthcare

Murtz Daud, Chief Data Officer, St Andrew’s Healthcare

Describe your career to date


I am the Chief Data Officer at St Andrew’s Healthcare (STAH), a large private mental healthcare organisation. My experience spans multiple industries, including Finance, Insurance, Investment, and Healthcare. Throughout my career, my mission has been the same: to empower organisations in leveraging data as a valuable asset to drive efficiency, foster innovation, and create substantial value. 


With a hands-on technical background, my career has evolved into leadership roles, where I am a passionate evangelist of data and influence stakeholders at Board, Executive, and Operational levels regarding the critical importance of data-driven decision-making. I have successfully steered organisations in need of data improvements and built data departments from the ground up for organisations without prior data capabilities. 

As a leader, I am dedicated to people-centric leadership, providing my colleagues with opportunities for personal growth and nurturing new talent from within the organisation. Notably, I have successfully recruited diverse individuals from departments like HR and Finance, harnessing their organisational knowledge, problem-solving skills, and inquisitiveness. Their existing customer relationships and knowledge proved instrumental in uncovering areas where we can add value. These individuals have excelled, possessing the fundamental soft skills required in a data role while rapidly acquiring technical skills through comprehensive training programmes. 


I have been fortunate to transform STAH into a data-driven organisation by being the driving force in advocating the transformative power of data. Over time, even sceptics have become dedicated supporters, enabling me to assemble a coalition of data advocates across all levels of STAH. This collaboration has yielded many solutions that enhance the lives of STAH patients. Examples include proactive responses to high-risk patients, optimising organisation-wide staffing (a complex challenge in healthcare) and developing statistical modelling to enhance quality and performance. A significant achievement was developing analytical solutions that empower clinicians to tailor patient treatments for optimal outcomes, resulting in improved patient care and faster reintegration into community settings. The sense of fulfilment in knowing our work improves the lives of people in need is unparalleled. 


Motivated by our success, I felt compelled to assist other healthcare organisations facing similar challenges. Therefore, through a global NHS data network, I led a programme that shared our journey and best practices with numerous healthcare organisations. This type of external collaboration was a first for STAH, and significantly elevated our innovation reputation in the healthcare industry.  


To further advance my career, I recently completed an Executive MBA, achieving First Class Honours. This accomplishment not only validated my existing leadership attributes but also equipped me with new skills and diverse sector knowledge that have made instant positive impact on how I manage my teams. My dissertation, Understanding Barriers to Innovation and How Creativity Can Be Legitimised in an Organisation, resulted in the creation of the concept of an Innovation Framework, which enables us to curate, manage, develop, and deliver innovative ideas from all levels of the organisation. 


Driven by a passion for thought leadership and continuous learning, I am a public speaker and Governing Body Member for two influential Chief Data Officer Networks in the UK: Evanta (a Gartner company) and Corinium Business of Data. These roles help me to identify emerging trends and common data challenges across varied industries and facilitate better leadership and technical decision-making to further enhance our Data and Analytics capability. 


Data literacy is a key enabler of the value and impact from data. How are you approaching this within your organisation?  


We have labelled data literacy as data fluency and began the initiative by conducting a comprehensive assessment of the current state of data fluency within our organisation, which allowed us to pinpoint specific areas that required improvement. From this, we will develop tailored training programmes to cater to the diverse roles and responsibilities held by our workforce. A critical aspect of our approach involves identifying data champions within the organisation, who can play a crucial role in serving as role models and mentors. They will not only encourage their colleagues to enhance their data fluency but also demonstrate the potential benefits and provide support throughout the learning process. 


In addition, we have placed strong emphasis on developing data solutions that directly delivered positive outcomes for our customers. This serves as a powerful motivator for our staff to develop their data fluency skills to generate the value that could be harnessed by using these solutions effectively. 


A parallel initiative to enhance data governance is crucial to the success of our data fluency improvement. This ensures individuals with higher data fluency can make informed decisions based on accurate data. 


Finally, we are working towards introducing data democratisation throughout the organisation. This initiative aims to further develop data fluency and analytical skills for specific users in various departments, enabling them to perform basic to intermediate analytics independently. This not only empowers users but also reduces the workload on our teams, as individuals become capable of self-serving their analytical needs. 

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


I am responsible for exploring artificial intelligence (AI) in STAH, and one of my challenges is the increasing excitement for the adoption of AI, particularly generative AI. There is growing appetite to harness the power of large language models for enhancing business outcomes, however, there is also an organisation-wide gap in understanding the full potential and associated risks of AI. We must we go through a thorough process to identify areas where AI can deliver substantial value whilst being cost-effective, upholding principles of impartiality, transparency, and ethics, and have alignment to external healthcare regulations. 

I will need to promote experimentation and incremental value over the hasty delivery of flawless AI solutions, and ensure our data is fit for purpose with robust data governance. Additionally, it will be vital to convey that AI is not simply a technical challenge, but an organisation-wide challenge. 


We also have a shortage of AI skills in our workforce. We face the reality that our desire for AI may outpace our ability to attain the skills required to implement solutions effectively. We will need to develop a comprehensive framework for nurturing and training AI expertise from within our workforce, whilst also formulating a strategic approach to attract experienced talent externally. 


Lastly, I have the challenge of demonstrating the return on investment from our data solutions. In the healthcare sector, quantifiable benefits, such as direct financial returns, are not always readily apparent. Therefore, I intend to collaborate closely with STAH leaders to define non-financial criteria for measuring success and ROI. These criteria include assessing the impact our solutions have on decision-making processes, enhancing patient outcomes, and quantifying the time clinicians saved through our solutions, which ultimately translates into improved quality of patient care. 

Murtz Daud
has been included in:
  • 100 Brands 2024 (EMEA)