Data Means Business at Allianz

Last Published: Sep 10, 2021 |
Thomas Brence
Thomas Brence

Senior Director, Product Marketing: Data Quality and Governance

If you’ve been following my posts for the past nineteen months, you know that I’ve been focused on telling our customers’ stories as part of the Data Empowerment Experts series. Every month has offered another great opportunity to learn from our customers as they tell us more about their journey. From the very beginning, the series has focused on data governance leaders who are empowering their organizations with trusted data—and there are only a few data leaders that I’ve gotten the chance to work with more frequently than Barry Green. If you haven’t had the chance yourself to check out one of Barry’s discussions, you should definitely do so. His down-to-earth, pragmatic approach to a data governance framework is engaging and inspiring.

For this next episode, I will be joined by Barry Green once again to discuss his latest project. He’s one of the authors of a recent book titled: Data Means Business and will share excerpts from his book, including his Level Up Framework. I hope you have a moment to take a look at a recent summary Barry did with our blog.

We will then be joined with one of Barry’s former colleagues and current Chief Data Officer of Allianz UK, Chris Wyard. As an Informatica customer, Chris is also focused on fueling his data strategy with trusted, governed data. I had an opportunity to sit down with Chris in advance of the webinar, as I do with each of our experts, to discuss his perspective:

Question: What’s your background and how did you get into the world of governance?

Answer: I am currently the UK Chief Data Officer and have responsibility for our data strategy and teams. I have been in this role for 12 months and have accountability for our Data Value Management team who deliver our data management, governance, and quality initiatives. Prior to my current role, I was the Head of Technical Data, which meant I was primarily responsible for delivering data value to our underwriting teams. I have worked for Allianz in a multitude of IT and Data roles for 15 years, and as such have always been in the world of data governance.

Question: Who are the best advocates for data at your organization?

Answer: We are focused on raising data advocacy across Allianz. From a global perspective we have a strong CDO community/peer group, who are committed to collaborating on global initiatives and sharing expertise. This community shapes the global agenda and ensures that our shared priorities are successfully delivered. The value of this community is significant!

Within the UK, our data office has benefitted from strong advocacy from our Chief Underwriting Officer (to whom I report)— this reporting line is testament to the fact that Allianz UK believe data is a business asset, and as such we have placed responsibility for enterprise data at the heart of our core business. 

Question: How can you help to improve data literacy?

Answer: Whilst it is part of my vocabulary, in and of itself I think “data literacy” as a term has the potential to be a blocker. We need to avoid those who consider themselves to be data literate telling others they need to be more data literate…especially if the term “data literacy” has not been defined, and/or there is ambiguity about how the literacy gap will be bridged.

Within Allianz we are committed to raising our data awareness, competence, and engagement, and have a number of initiatives to raise our data literacy:

  • We have simplified our engagement with our internal customers, largely by avoiding buzz terms and technology—the focus is on what business problems exist and what data could support improved outcomes. The more value we deliver and showcase, the easier this becomes as our internal customers remain engaged. We have recently recruited a number of data business partners to ensure the connection to our customers, and maintain a sharp focus on their needs/wants as a result
  • Regular dialogue and reporting to the ExCo on Data Value, and the improved outcomes that data is delivering across our business
  • Show & Tell sessions
  • Data Apprenticeships
  • Dedicated “Excellence in Data” L&D pathways which are accessible to everyone across the business
  • Senior Management training and boot-camps on the art of the possible

Question: What parts of your business benefit most from having trusted data?

Answer: Our data fitness initiatives are wide ranging and tuned to the specific objectives and goals of our business teams. There are fairly obvious areas where data quality is paramount, including finance, claims, pricing, and business standards/regulation. We also have benefitted significantly from the deployment of MDM solutions in our customer-facing teams.

Question: How have you helped to build a data culture?

Answer: Building on the points I’ve already made in relation to data literacy and advocacy, our data strategy is designed to ensure that we enable a data driven culture, in which our data capabilities deliver the right information to the right people at the right time. We increasingly showcase best-in-class solutions and services to our customer, and ensure our prioritized efforts result in our customers understanding how best to use data/tooling in the context of their work to inform decision making.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to join me when I speak to Chris and Barry later this month in this special episode, where we’ll dive into the teachings from the Data Means Business book and showcase how those learnings have been, and continue to be, applied at Allianz. You won’t want to miss it!

First Published: Jul 06, 2021