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Neil Currie, Head of Data Management, Crowe

Path to power

As a career data professional, I have been fortunate to see years of change in the adoption, collection and use of data. Every day brings a new use case and I love being in the middle of those conversations and the mental stimulation of being able to participate in these conversations. 


I have been fortunate to spend time with many of the data leaders in the world and to work for some of the top data and analytic companies. It’s fun, stimulating and challenging to be with people of all ages who are creative. Many are doing fantastic things with data that in some cases we collected years ago and were holding in anticipation we might find something useful to do with it.


What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?

For many years I was paid as a turnaround specialist and the proudest moment in each case was to see that we had turned something that was failing into something that was successful. Sometimes it was about the data but in most cases, it was about the people and their desire to be a part of something successful.


Who is your role model or the person you look to for inspiration?

I am privileged to network with a number of data leaders and the thing that impresses me most is their openness to accepting that anything is possible while taking a pragmatic approach to what is achievable. The ability of these individuals to look at what a company is doing in data and access whether it is commercially viable, and something they should be investing in, makes them stand out.


Did 2019 turn out the way you expected? If not, in what ways was it different?

2019 brought greater adoption of AI than I expected at the beginning of the year. But it also highlighted that, with the increased volumes of data, the challenges around storage and access to it still remain for most companies. 


What do you expect 2020 to be like for the data and analytics industry?

The introduction of new data use cases will continue to accelerate as we find more capability through technology, but it will bring challenges and opportunities in harnessing how Gen Z share their data. 


Data and technology are changing business, the economy and society – what do you see as the biggest opportunity emerging from this?

The collective desire of the new generations to use data for social benefit versus the historical desire to use it for profit. The greater social awareness of Gen Z and their desire to rally behind a cause will place us in a position where we look at data differently; not replacing previous use cases but supplementing them. Combine this with emerging “business zebras” and we are seeing a corporate culture that wants to solve societal and economic issues with data, not just make a profit.


What is the biggest tech challenge your clients face in ensuring data is at the heart of their digital transformation strategy?

It is the need for companies to develop use cases for new technologies – AI, emotional intelligence and others – to meet the governance, compliance and risk management requirements.

Neil Currie
has been included in:
  • 100 Enablers 2019 (EMEA)
  • 100 Enablers 2020 (EMEA)