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Nick Sawyer

Nick Sawyer, Chief Data Officer, Dr Martens

Describe your career to date

 

I spent 14 years with EY progressing from a Graduate Analyst to leading major transformational projects with some amazing clients such as The Home Office, Lloyds Bank, MOD, Shell, Unilever, and Xerox. In turn this gave me the opportunity to travel and experience new cultures and ways working in countries across the globe. I enjoyed the variety and constant challenge of consulting, but I wanted the opportunity to own decisions and live the end-to-end impact.  

 

I moved to Sainsbury’s to get those opportunities, and while there I was able to deliver initiatives where we used data to drive real change – from range and price to company acquisitions and how we worked with and supported our farmers. For me, people and culture are so important, and I am most proud of the team I grew and the huge maturity growth in Sainsbury’s, both analytically and culturally, during the six years I was there.  

I was tempted back into consulting with Deloitte, where I enjoyed working with some of the world’s largest retail and CPG companies, developing their data strategies, igniting their delivery, and building capability. However, while exposure to other companies and challenges was rewarding, the opportunity to grow a global Data and Analytics team at an iconic brand such as Dr. Martens was too tempting. I am at my best when a product or brand resonates with my personal beliefs and I am working in a collegiate environment, which I am fortunate to have at Doc’s. We are in many effects still a new company which brings with it challenges, but also some exciting and rewarding opportunities which I am thrilled my team and I are central to.  

How are you developing the Data Literacy of your organisation, including the skills of your data team and of your business stakeholders? 

 

We talk about the data fluency of Dr. Martens, as we believe our people are not data illiterate, but rather need our support and guidance to develop a greater understanding of the opportunities and challenges that data and analytics brings. So, while we are transforming our data ecosystem; implementing modern tools to provide new and improved capabilities, we recognise the importance of growing the data and analytical skills and awareness across the business.   

We have created a global Data Council which helps govern, champion, and prioritise our use of data. Supporting this, working groups and business functions are driving change not just through the more mature use of our data, but the ownership and the improved quality and governance of the data.  

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 or mission is to make every Doc’s decision better with data. We see this as our north star that gives us direction, supported by a strategy and key tangible outcomes from which we can measure our progress. I am also proud that data is now seen as a cornerstone of our organisational and operational excellence pillars within our DOCS strategy. 

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

 

This year we go live with our new data ecosystem incorporating a new data warehouse and data catalogue. These tools will provide access to our data when and how our users want, as well as driving clarity over data ownership, lineage, and metrics. That said, our approach is not just a technical delivery and fix, but rather an ongoing journey with the wider business. So, while we provide guidance (process and policies), tooling, and monitoring, we are working with the business so they can take greater ownership for the care, quality, and development of our data, from which we all benefit.  

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

 

As a growing business operating in over 60 countries, we will have our operational and data pains, but my key challenge for the coming year is to grow and develop my team in order to support the business where most needed. I am determined to ensure the team have the opportunities to develop new skills (technical and interpersonal), while working on transformational initiatives and supporting the core activities of the business. Much like our iconic boots, shoes, and sandals, we have seasonal demand, but equally we have exciting new launches and collaborations to look forward to in the year ahead which we trust will excite and engage our colleagues and our customers.  

Nick Sawyer
Nick Sawyer
has been included in:
  • 100 Brands 2023 (EMEA)
  • 100 Brands 2024 (EMEA)
  • 100 Enablers 2020 (EMEA)