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Synchrony Financial Executive on Change Management in a World of Big Data and Analytics

Dimple Thakkar, Vice President of Data & Analytics – Credit & Fraud Portfolio Leader at Synchrony Financial, shared her thoughts on change management and transformation during a Fireside Chat with Xoobies founder MQ Qureshi at the 2018 Leadership in Big Data & Analytics Forum in Chicago on December 4. The Fireside Chat, “Transformations and Change Management in the World of Big Data and Analytics,” focused on several topics, including:

1. Women in Data Science

Data science is a growing field. Yet the number of men in data science generally exceeds the number of women in the sector.

Regardless of gender, career opportunities are available in data science. In fact, for those who want to explore careers in data science, they may find that both lucrative and rewarding opportunities will be available both now and in the future.

To succeed in data science, it may be beneficial for an individual to work with a mentor. If an individual has a data scientist as a mentor, he or she can gain insights into the field that may be unavailable elsewhere. Perhaps best of all, this individual can obtain deep industry expertise that could lead to a successful data science career.

“If you are really interested in [data science], it is important to find someone who can help show you the path to the field,” Thakkar indicated. “[Data science] is not hard, and it’s not rocket science for sure.”

2. Use of Big Data and Analytics Across Businesses of All Sizes

Businesses frequently want big data and analytics as part of their day-to-day operations. But some companies struggle to achieve the best-possible results, despite significant big data and analytics investments.

Today’s companies must establish priorities relative to big data and analytics. If these businesses understand how big data and analytics can help them achieve their immediate and long-term goals, they can map out their technology investments accordingly. Then, these companies will be well-equipped to get the most out of all of the data at their disposal.

“At the heart of a company is a business process … and the business problem you solve [determines data use],” Thakkar said. “You have terabytes of data available, but you need to figure out what problem you are trying to solve.”

3. The Transformational Business Journey Associated with Analytics

How a business approaches big data and analytics may have long-lasting ramifications. Because if a company educates its workforce about big data and analytics, it could help its employees become valuable contributors.

Building a passion for data within a business is a gradual process. If a company takes a slow, steady approach to big data and analytics technology deployments, it can help its employees integrate various technologies into their everyday operations. Over time, employees can understand the true value of data and the insights they can obtain from it – something that could help an ordinary business become a data-driven company.

“It’s important to know your passion for data and how you want to transform the business,” Thakkar noted.

4. Effective Big Data and Analytics Business Models

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to implement big data and analytics across a company. Instead, a business must maintain flexibility as it explores big data and analytics investments.

Additionally, a company should develop an infrastructure to support its big data and analytics efforts. This infrastructure will enable a company to understand how to implement big data and analytics across all departments, at all times. Plus, it could help a business use big data and analytics to drive continuous growth, innovation and improvement.

“You may have a centralized data office, but you need to make sure that as a leader that this office focuses on strategy, governance and execution,” Thakkar pointed out. “You need to explain the concepts of data … and make it know [throughout] the business. And this may be harder than you think.”

5. Achieving the Optimal Results with Big Data and Analytics

Big data and analytics success requires collaboration and communication across a business. If employees in different departments work together to implement big data and analytics technologies, they can use these technologies to deliver meaningful results.

Getting employee buy-in for big data and analytics is paramount, too. Fortunately, if a company prioritizes employee training, it can teach its workers how to leverage a broad assortment of big data and analytics technologies. And as a result, this business can empower its employees with the ability to use big data and analytics to become more productive and efficient than ever before.

“People talk about change management, but how you put that into practice is key,” Thakkar stated.

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