Get To Know: Amy O’Connor from Precisely

Get To Know: Amy O’Connor from Precisely

Precisely is a global leader in data integrity, providing accuracy, consistency and context in data for 12,000 customers in more than 100 countries, including 99 of the Fortune 100. Precisely’s data integration, data quality, data governance, location intelligence and data enrichment products power better business decisions to create better outcomes. Amy O’Connor, Chief Data and Information Officer from Precisely, speaks about her most memorable achievement and the advice she would offer to someone aspiring to join the C-suite.

Describe your current job role.

As Chief Data and Information Officer at Precisely, I lead the global IT, data analytics and information security teams responsible for delivering a world-class digital experience for our employees, partners and customers.

We are continuously building stronger relationships with our customers and developing a clear view of operational data to run our business more efficiently and effectively, while ensuring that we are properly handling all the data for which we have fiduciary and privacy responsibilities. To achieve this, my team and I are responsible for consolidating systems of record for efficient operations and maintaining a focused data culture so that we can trust our data and make more confident decisions across the business.

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?

One of my most memorable achievements occurred in late 2019. Precisely was about to embark on a journey to grow rapidly through acquisition, and our IT systems simply could not accommodate a business with our growth potential. Despite the obvious challenges, I was excited to join the team to lead the Digital Transformation needed to make our growth plans a reality. With the acquisition of the Pitney Bowes Software and Data business, the company immediately doubled in size. Given that business was a carve out from Pitney Bowes, it came with no IT systems, and we had nine months to build out what we needed and exit the M&A transition services agreement.

We devised a strategy where we built an entirely new enterprise applications landscape on more than 50 best-in-class SaaS applications. We standardised our productivity tools and our cloud approach. We also developed our strategy that enabled us to consolidate from more than 20 data centres to three regional data centres, which not only cut costs, but also vastly improved our information security (InfoSec) posture. We developed and executed upon our InfoSec plan during a time of rapidly increasing cyberthreat – and we did all of that during a global pandemic which moved our entire global workforce to their home offices!

What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?

There is growing pressure for companies across all sectors to be investing resources in the latest technologies, such as Generative Artificial Intelligence, and many leaders fear being left behind. However, although these new technologies can deliver a whole host of improvements to business functions, they cannot do so if they are being powered by untrustworthy data.

More than ever before, companies require accurate, consistent and contextual data to make confident decisions, set goals and track the progress of their initiatives. If companies aren’t already investing in the integrity of their data, they are already behind the curve; introducing new technologies without addressing these data issues will only serve to widen that gap further.

Organisations therefore need to take a step back and invest in people, processes and technology that combines data integration, data quality and governance, location intelligence and data enrichment capabilities. Investment into these areas creates a foundation of high-integrity data that can be unanimously trusted. This will then allow organisations to unlock the full potential of future technology investments.

What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a C-level position in your industry?

I would encourage people to invest time into their continued education. All professionals should investigate which courses they could attend to upskill and assess what other resources are available within and outside of their organisation to learn. Within the tech industry, it’s important to use as many different technologies as possible, read about technology, talk with friends and family about technology. These actions help people develop a perspective on, not only what they are most interested in, but also on what good technology looks like, which helps to establish their vision.

I would also advise professionals to build and nurture a strong network of the people they meet and work with over the years. It’s these connections we can rely on when we need advice, support during difficult situations and a strong network is an important asset of any hiring process, such as vetting a role or a candidate through someone they know.

What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?

My approach to management is grounded in the principles of leadership. I believe in setting a clear vision and strategy, fostering a culture of collaboration where agreements are sought rather than imposing expectations. I prioritise open communication and actively seek feedback to ensure alignment and continuous improvement. My commitment is to transparency in all aspects of our work, ensuring that every team member is informed and empowered to contribute to our collective success.

If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?

I have thoroughly enjoyed my career journey, and I firmly believe that the diverse experiences leading to my current role as CIO have significantly contributed to my strength in this position. My career has been marked by a variety of roles; I have been an IT buyer, seller, technology creator, engineer and marketer. Each position has provided me with unique insights and skills that have enhanced my capabilities as a CIO. If there’s one aspect I would alter, it would be to have sought a broader range of experiences earlier in my career and to have transitioned between roles more swiftly to enrich my professional growth.

What behaviour or personality trait do you most attribute your success to and why?

The trait that I attribute most to my success is my ‘investigative curiosity’. This innate desire to understand how all the pieces of a project fit together allows me to weave a compelling narrative. It’s this storytelling ability that has been instrumental in securing investment and buy-in for various initiatives. My knack for seeing the big picture and connecting the dots is what sets me apart and drives my success.

What’s your go-to productivity trick?

My go-to productivity trick is, believe it or not, meditation. It’s about slowing down to take a step back. This practice helps me clear my mind, refocus, and approach tasks with renewed energy and clarity.

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