(US & Canada) VIDEO | Solid and Connected Data Foundations Are Key to AI Success — Mars, Global Director and Head of SRM Analytics

Wendy Janssen, Global Director and Head of SRM Analytics at Mars, speaks with Amy Horowitz, VP of Data Governance Solutions Sales at Informatica, in a video interview about building a data-driven culture, measuring business value, and best practices.

Mars is a family-owned American multinational manufacturer of confectionery, pet food, and other food products and a provider of animal care services.

Speaking about building a data-driven organizational culture, Janssen states that the first thing that comes to mind is building data solutions, tools, and dashboards. However, tools are not enough to transform the organization, she adds.

Further, Janssen lays down the other critical aspects that require working in harmony to drive the data culture, and she names that honeycomb. The honeycomb consists of five elements centered around tools, processes, and people and the magic happens when it all comes together.

Highlighting the aspects, Janssen notes that the tool part including the data, systems, and databases come to life after being implemented in the day-to-day business processes. Similarly, she adds that understanding the KPIs and maintaining the sync between tools and KPIs are crucial factors.

About the people aspect, Janssen stresses the importance of having the right data skills, the skills to turn insights into actions, drive the actions, and the entire cultural mindset. To sum it up, she states that organizations must focus on making all the elements work together.

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(US & Canada) VIDEO | Solid and Connected Data Foundations Are Key to AI Success — Mars, Global Director and Head of SRM Analytics

When asked about the KPIs used to measure business value, Janssen mentions that it is the business that sets the KPIs. She maintains that at Mars, the business is analytics-enabled and the metrics can be assessed based on the part of the business and its objective.

Adding on, Janssen stresses helping businesses with analytical solutions to unlock value. She states that when the solutions work well with one business leader, the other leaders are inspired to do the same.

According to Janssen, it is interesting to see how well the built solutions are being adopted. She affirms working with other analytics and organizational governance teams to carry out surveys to assess the relevance of the solutions among users.

Based on the feedback, the solutions are tailored to add more value, because, Janssen believes, the value comes through if the solutions are processed and used by people every day.

Next, Janssen sheds light on the need to churn the value out of generative AI and states that the organization has started to pilot with generative AI by leveraging it to generate quick answers.

Having a solid and connected data foundation is the key to making the pilot work, she says. Janssen adds that while the organization is already building one data foundation, the need to leverage GenAI for quick results has sped things up.

Highlighting some best practices, she recommends working closely with the business. This leads to understanding the functional areas in depth, says Janssen. Consequently, she and her team understand the technical data side well enough to have conversations.

Moving forward, Janssen mentions helping the business with governance, as the analytics partner, and builds the right solutions that fit the business needs, while ensuring its usage in the right way.

Furthermore, she mentions working with a regional analytics team that helps in governance, while keeping oversight on all the analytic solutions built within the region. In conclusion, Janssen states that the aim is to bring existing solutions together in a way that the business is not overwhelmed and is using it right.

CDO Magazine appreciates Wendy Janssen for sharing her insights with our global community.

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