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Payal Jain, Managing Director, JCURV

What has been your path to power?

My career has been a zig-zag between analytical and commercial roles – data has always been my core. It has been hugely beneficial to understand different perspectives in order to deliver best what’s needed in these critical roles for an organisation. Over the years, I have enjoyed the opportunity to work internationally. You soon realise that data is in fact one language – it’s a story of human behaviour. I love interpreting this in defining actionable strategy for organisations.


I made a big decision in 2018 to leave banking and focus on having a broader impact on organisations and started consulting by joining JCURV as managing director. I’m leading its Datagility proposition, which is encouraging organisations to change radically the way they work with data; “making big data small” to deliver at speed by focusing on business outcomes and working collaboratively across the organisation for these to be achieved. I am also chair of Women in Data.

What impact has the pandemic had on demand from your clients?

During the pandemic, the demand for data went through the roof for organisations. We have all witnessed a real sense of business-level transformation with data at the heart of many organisations’ responses. This helped CDOs think big and secure investment while the exec and boards were listening. Now, it’s all about accelerating the extraction of value from data and for business cases to payback! 


The pandemic has proven that big changes can happen which were previously deemed impossible and are no longer pipe dreams. We are seeing more organisations wanting to deliver “more for less”. It’s about establishing the right operating model with the business to ensure interlocks with key areas so they work as efficiently and effectively as possible, and that key business goals are understood to enable the data teams to contribute and solve these challenges.

Do you get a seat at your clients’ strategic discussions? If not, what will it take to get you there?

I feel so privileged to be working with clients and supporting them on their data transformations and journeys. It’s important to be continually  curious and listen to their challenges and opportunities as each organisation and sector is different. What’s key for us is to ensure we create a sustainable capability for our clients so that they can develop and strengthen their data muscles. Our role as JCURV is continually to develop our “Datagility’ proposition to ensure we are supporting our clients in the best possible way. 


What are your key areas of focus for the business in 2022?

There are three key goals that get me out of bed each day:

  1. To enable every organisation to leverage its data assets to drive value for its customers;
  2. To create sustainable data capability and culture for our clients;
  3. To see greater diversity and inclusion in data. 

How do you apply your leadership skills a) within your own business and b) on behalf of your clients?

Think big, start small, scale fast – this applies to both JCURV and our clients. It’s important as leaders that we help to provide clear intent and empower our teams to deliver.


What key skills or attributes do you consider have contributed to your success in this role?

It’s so important to listen to your clients and not being afraid to challenge. Clients bring us in to deliver rapid step-change, however, it’s important solutions are right for their organisation and culture.


How did you develop – and continue to develop – these skills or attributes?

Life is always a journey and more of a marathon than a sprint in my mind. I have always found it important to be curious, learn from others and test different approaches as everyone and every situation is different. I have had some great role models and mentors throughout my career that have supported me along the way. It’s important never to stop being passionate about learning.

How do you ensure that your proposition keeps pace with your clients’ goals and requirements so that you are leading rather than lagging behind their demands?

Every month, we run a JCAD (JCURV Academy) session. Each month it’s a different topic and often talk about data trends we see in the industry as well as for our clients. We also talk about lessons learnt from our client projects. These sessions are great, as we have the opportunity to take a step back and think about how we improve and develop our propositions or how we operate to provide the best data solutions for our clients.

Payal Jain
has been included in:
  • 100 Enablers 2020 (EMEA)
  • 100 Enablers 2021 (EMEA)
  • 100 Enablers 2022 (EMEA)