Data Community in Latin America

Building a Data Community from the Ground Up in Latin America

Learn from a thought leader in data analytics and experience the journey of pioneering data strategy in a fascinating discussion with Chief Data Officer Iván Herrero Bartolomé - an engaging interview with Ben Blanquera of Rackspace Technology for CDO Magazine.

As a member of the editorial board of CDO Magazine, Ben is interviewing global CDOs to gain their insights to create a playbook for the industry.

Ivan Herrero Bartolomé is an experienced data analytics leader with a long and successful career spanning 17 years across two continents. After initially starting in Spain, he is now the Chief Data Officer at Grupo Intercorp, a $10B company based in Peru.

Responsible today for data strategy across Intercorp, Bartolomé has personally created a data community from scratch in Latin America, where he now manages data strategies for 30 companies across sectors such as finance, retail, real estate, education, leisure and entertainment industries.

Recently, he discussed his journey by sitting down with me for CDO Magazine to discuss the challenges and stages of implementing a data program. In an insightful discussion, he outlined the hardships his team overcame and explained how he built a successful data community.

Watch the video here.

From day one as Intercorp's first CDO, Bartolomé recognized the disconnect between how the company stored its data in the cloud and how best to integrate it across its diverse companies.

Bartolomé's team observed that some data had been migrated but was not structured for business or customer consumption. To address this, the team developed two tracks, to understand the company's data needs both from a business point of view and from a customer perspective.

When the team encountered questions on creating a coherent strategy, Bartolomé's solution was to "look for opportunities to bring value from the different business units and try to match those opportunities to something related to customers and transactions."

From that initial step, the team created a model to process those reviews or ‘data flows’ in a more standardized way, which was then stored and accessed by the company’s retail business units. This strategy was then applied to the insurance and banking units.

With the now readily available access to the company's data, Bartolomé and his team worked to make the information "usable and easier to interpret" so as to "go from data to insight, to action, at its company level."


Buy-in and building an effective data platform

Establishing a data model and applying cloud storage at Intercorp was the first step to building a data community. According to Bartolomé, the next challenge was twofold: “Getting top management to ‘buy in’ on the promise of the benefits of a new integrated data management platform,” and, “Actually building it.”

Bartolomé and his team harnessed the power of Intercorp’s data by building a data management platform. They started by gaining buy-in from top management and secured $300,000 per year to build a model tailored to Intercorp’s needs. The team was also fortunate to have enough time to create an adaptable, user-friendly platform that could evolve over time.

“To make something management doesn’t understand and that they don't value, I knew that conversation was not going to go very far. So right from the beginning, my team understood that we needed to lower the barriers for everything that we wanted to achieve,” said Bartolomé.


Building an effective team

Bartolomé has expanded the company's data office from a 17-person team focused on banking to a staff of more than 70. The team includes a 20-person corporate and data analytics teams with varying levels of expertise for every business unit, such as 30 people in Intercorp's pharmacy chains. Other units have between five and ten people for data analytics with plans to scale up. “We are hiring people from the central team to move through the companies, building these capabilities,” said Bartolomé.


A successful data-program journey

Data management and analytics are invaluable, yet it can be difficult to implement these tools and convince companies of their worth. A CDO faces many daunting obstacles, none more challenging than getting an entire organization to get on board with the change.

Building the right team to understand and implement data management and analytics can be a crucial step in creating real changes in an organization. For Bartolomé, who came to Latin America by way of Spain, it required understanding the Peruvian data community and determining how best to convince a cautious management team of the benefits of data analytics.

He has successfully established a visionary data program at Intercorp by hiring highly skilled Peruvian talent and retaining the most skilled layer of people from the beginning of his project, who are still part of his team. “We've had to find our way through the different obstacles that we found, but it's been an amazing journey,” Bartolomé said.


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Data Community in Latin America

Get insights and playbook takeaways from Bartolomé, the first CDO at Peruvian business group Grupo Intercorp.

About the Authors

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VP - Evangelist and Senior Architect

Ben Blanquera

Ben is VP-Evangelist and Senior Architect with Rackspace Technology. He works with enterprises, architecting solutions to enable them to drive business outcomes through thriving in a multicloud world.    He is a 35-year veteran in multiple industries including health care, manufacturing, and technology consulting. Prior to Rackspace, Ben was with Covail, a leading-edge provider of AI/ML and cybersecurity services to Fortune 1000 clients. At Covail, Ben was VP of Delivery and transitioned to VP of Revenue and Client Success.  A recognized technology leader, Ben was named a Premier 100 leader by Computerworld. Outside of work, he loves to travel, ride his bike, and spend time with his wife and four daughters. He is an active organizer in the tech community and curates the Central Ohio CIO forum (150+ CIOs) and founded Techlife Columbus. Ben also serves on the Pitch Advisory Board for South by Southwest and the Editorial Board for CDO Magazine.

Read more about Ben Blanquera