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CDO Q&A: Fostering an agile data strategy with Nirali Pitel, AXA PPP Healthcare

Wed 26 Feb 2020 | Nirali Patel

As Chief Data & Analytics Officer at AXA PPP Healthcare, big data expert and thought leader Nirali Patel leads a team of 70+ data experts in developing data capabilities for AXA’s health insurance business. Ahead of her Keynote session at Big Data & AI World, Techerati asked Nirali to detail AXA’s data successes and the changing role of the CDO

Was there any moment in your professional career that truly crystallised the power of data?

Yes, working on health  data to predict the risk of emergency admission for people and realising that through this insight we had the opportunity to prevent it!

Why is data so critically important to AXA and its members?

As with any company it is a fundamental part of our business, our members expect us to use and care for their data, so that we can be there for them when they need us.

What would you say are some of the main success stories of AXA’s data and analytics strategy?

Awareness of the power of data, our strategy has been to focus on the foundations and impactful use cases that help us deliver better services.

Nirali Patel - Chief Data & Analytics Officer AXA PPP Healthcare

Has the role of the CDO evolved over the last few years?

In general, it has become more broad and varied across the industry, it really varies from organisation to organisation, the real change has been the demand for the role.

What are some of the main challenges facing CDOs in the health insurance industry, and CDOs in general?

For CDO’s in general, I believe the key challenges are ethical analysis, embedding an enterprise wide vision for data & analytics. And within the wider health sector, the Data Protection Act 2018 which places the right constraints on the use of health data.

What kind of things keep CDOs up at night?

I’d like to say nothing as am hoping that many have a good work life balance, but I guess in reality, what keeps me up is regulation and future of data. The rate at which it is growing / transforming it is hard to stay in front of it all the time.

In your view, what are the key ingredients to a successful data strategy?

In my view, I believe the key ingredients for a successful data strategy includes (a) understanding the business goals, (b) right data governance and management, (c) technology & (d) people & processes. The same fundamental components for any type of strategy.

What are your key objectives for next year and beyond?

My key objectives for the coming year are empowering our people to enable the generation of actionable insights and having our business buy in and understand the data strategy. I believe the latter will be the larger challenge of the two but will be the most fruitful as well. Over the last year the genuine business demand and understanding of data and its impact has grown, hence I will be carrying this engagement / data literacy to a greater and more appropriate depth.

What is your message for data leaders at Big Data and AI World 2020?

My message to other data leaders is to enjoy this new era of data, it is a fantastic time to be involved in this life changing evolution.

Join Nirali at Big Data World London, 11-12 March, ExCeL London

CDO focus: Fostering an agile data strategy
11 Mar 2020, 11:50 – 12:15
Big Data & AI World Keynote

Experts featured:

Nirali Patel

Chief Data & Analytics Officer
AXA PPP Healthcare


cdo strategy
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