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Interview with Valencia Cleinwerck, Data Solutions Manager, Pernod Ricard

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Interview with Valencia Cleinwerck, Data Solutions Manager, Pernod Ricard

Written by Corinium on Feb 7, 2019 7:15:15 AM

Datacon Africa DataCon Government 2020 Data and Analytics

Corinium’s data analytics events are designed to provide deep value to senior leaders and decision makers who are responsible for driving the strategic growth of data analytics within their organisations.


Gert Botes, our Data Analytics Portfolio Director - MEA conducted a brief interview with Valencia Cleinwerck, Data Solutions Manager at Pernod Ricard, who will also be presenting at DataCon Africa (13 – 14 March 2019, Cape Town)


Valencia, can you share a little bit about what it is that you do and what a typical day for you is like?

I am the first point of contact for internal stakeholders, so all ‘queries’, tasks and environmental challenges get directed to me, so my day is very unpredictable. Often, I need to change focus and address more urgent tasks. My day is a continuous juggle of what is important vs what is urgent for the business. I think 1st priority is always that the business can function optimally, so the environment needs to be stable. Most importantly, as a team we need to make sure all reports and dashboards are updated correctly, then, of course, that the team is delivering weekly operations reporting to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. I was born to code, so I get my hands dirty and do some ‘dashboarding’.


What do you wish you had known when you started in this industry?

How stressful it is, but it’s a good stress mostly. It’s a sense of accomplishment and I love the growth and constant learning.


DataCon Africa has the theme of “Moving Towards a Data-Driven & Data-Centric Future”. Would you say that Pernod Ricard is a data driven enterprise, and what is your team doing currently to move towards the data-centric future?

Yes, data centralisation is key to our business. I work for the best innovative company. We are trying to encourage a self-service BI adoption (Power BI is leading the platform for data analysis). We only use the best technologies.


What are your thoughts on the role of the Chief Data Officer?  

Part of my role is to design business/technical solution architecture, develop and maintain data standards, and governance framework but yes, without a data management framework (which should be stewarded by Chief Data Officer) we can’t be agile.Data management is key to successful enterprise change.


What are some of the biggest challenges people who want to venture into the world of data analytics/data science face today?

I think the biggest challenge is unstructured data, lack of data management procedures and the inability to be agile due to improper data architecture design.


You’re responsible for the data solutions within Pernod Ricard. What is your vision for your department and what challenges have you faced in achieving that vision?

My biggest challenge is mentioned in the previous question. We are busy with QV 12 Upgrade, so now is a good time to address these challenges. I think it’s important always to protect the team and company – so good data governance is important.


At DataCon Africa you will be talking about visualisation. This is a very important aspect to getting business trust and buy-in. Would you say SA companies are still battling with this? What is the one tip you can provide on visualisation?

I don’t think SA companies are battling, we are using the leading technologies in the industry. One tip: it takes seven seconds to make an impression which leads to a decision/action. What ‘story’ do you want your dashboard visualisation to be telling you?


How would you describe the maturity of data analytics within South African companies? Do you feel like the profession is maturing and what’s driving this?

 Not too mature. Yes, definitely maturing, and what’s driving it is the big data challenges, the need for insights and the need for predictive analysis and Artificial Intelligence. Business Intelligence is not as completely efficient as it can be without agile data architecture. We need to be able to incorporate Machine Learning and different types of source data. This is what’s driving data analytics.




Learn more from Valencia during her discussion at DataCon Africa:

Data Visualisation & Storytelling




Valencia Cleinwerck, Data Solutions Manager, Pernod Ricard

 Started her IT career 20 years ago at Old Mutual as a Trainee programmer. In 2004 she got the opportunity to move out of Mainframe programming and into the Business Intelligence, Data Warehouse Environment. 
In the last 10 years she has been exposed to many Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence competencies as well as played various roles in the Full System Development Life Cycle of solutions. 

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