Q&A with the New
Executive Engagement Director
– Alex Holdsworth
Thomas Lockhart July 15, 2020
Why did you decide to join the company?
Having worked in and around data and digital for nearly 10 years now I’m passionate about helping organisations really understand how it can transform how they work. Although I am a quant (numbers person) by trade, at my heart I am a creative and I’m very excited to be joining a company that has such a clear DNA and belief in strong design and engineering – along with a group of people passionate to be working here. Fundamentally, the opportunity to be part of a young company and play a role in its ‘origins story’ is genuinely exciting.
What is your new role and what will your primary focus be?
My new role is Executive Engagement Director. My primary focus will be working with the UK business to shape and bring together the service and product offering (the work) with the commercial and financial plan (the numbers). I’m a big believer in the old mantra that ‘everyone sells’ and one of my primary focuses will be on hearing out the best ideas from across the business, wherever they may be!
What characterises understanding digital and data value at the moment?
Most of those who have worked with me before would characterise me as a ‘numbers person’: I’m an economist by background, have completed the CFA, and have spent many years leading teams building various financial models and appraisals.
But, given this, I think what characterises this area at the moment is a lack of understanding of the value of digital and data. On the one hand, many companies are realising after many years of innovation that they are simply not able to understand the returns from their investments; on the other hand, many organisations are still held back in a sort of business case paralysis, as they cannot clearly measure and articulate the benefits (e.g. the hackneyed problem of ‘what is the value of data’). Ultimately, in comes down to the old business school saying: if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
Looking into the crystal ball, what will happen to understanding digital and data value in the future?
That being said, I think the future is much brighter. The way we articulate and tell the story of the value of digital and data to organisations is catching up to the technology itself, which had in many ways left it behind.
For example – and close to my bean counter roots – there is more and more concrete benchmark data on the financial value on things like the benefits to improved conversion rates from having simple design and better UX (or, more prosaically, less calls to the contact centre). Conversely, automation and AI (often with wildy dystopian estimates of its effects) will have a more realistic – but still valuable – assessment of the value it brings. This will only get better as these concepts become better understood and more commoditised.
More highfalutin, in healthcare there is a growing acceptance that ‘patient experience’ through well-designed digital services and proactive community-based models driven by data are the way forward. Fundamentally, there is growing sophistication in the way the benefits of these products and services are measured – exotic methods such as ‘Revealed Preferences’ seem to be gaining popularity.
Executive Engagement Director | EMEA
Manager Accenture Health and Public Service Operational Excellence Practice
Senior Financial Analyst HM Treasury UK
Senior Policy Advisor Cabinet Office UK
BA, Economics and Politics