Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the Boston CDAO Community

Suresh Martha

Head of Data Driven Innovations & Analytics

EMD Serono

Suresh Martha currently serves as Head of Data-Driven Innovation & Analytics at EMD Serono, the healthcare business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in the U.S. and Canada. In this role, he leads business intelligence and analytics, reporting, data science and AI teams. 

With deep expertise in data-driven innovations, he performs a critical role in designing BI solutions to crunch massive healthcare data and generating insights for the senior leadership to make informed and real-time decisions - advancing a data-driven culture across EMD Serono’s healthcare business.

Suresh is a renowned information technology professional with more than 17 years of industry experience in data warehousing, data technologies and Business Intelligence (BI).  He is a senior member at IEEE, participated as a Judge for Stevie Award, Globee Award, Smart India Hackathon 2022, Brandan Excellence Award, a co-mentor for small business Owner at Score, acts as a Journal Peer Reviewer and a renowned speaker.

Learn more about leaders in the Boston CDAO community here.

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

Growing up I was always excited about mathematics, hardware, and software coding. I would love to take things apart to understand the code and structure behind it. With this interest, I pursued engineering, completed my Bachelor of Technology and started my career as a software developer. While working for different clients and customers, I was able to use the latest technologies, programming languages, and industry best practices to analyze huge amounts of unstructured, inconsistent, and scattered data to generate hidden data driven insights and solutions for business users. 

Seven years ago, I started my first data manager position, where I gained additional insights and experience by collaborating with different cross-functional business leaders. It was during this time that I found my passion for data innovation - managing and leading high-performing and diverse IT team members and guiding them in creating and implementing system solutions from concept through delivery and by solving complex real-world issues.

It has been an interesting technical and data journey for me. And now, as a data and analytics leader, I am looking forward to providing insightful solutions for successful execution of business processes and data strategies, promoting a cross functional data culture, and guiding and training my team members to become data literate in a world where data and analytics is becoming increasingly important to maximize business value.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

Mentorship: I always support mentorship engagement as I believe it is a mutually beneficial process where all parties gain an immense amount of knowledge and insights. Through my experience with mentors, I have been able to achieve great knowledge and wisdom in my field, which I always try to use and create a structured blend of both technical, analytical, and business solutions for my mentees. I aim to help and motivate them to think creatively and innovatively, which ultimately leads all of us to achieve the operational goals set up by the company.

With disruption being a key theme of the past year, where do you see your role as a CDAO going in the next 1-2 years?

The past few years of disruption have shown how difficult situations can lead to innovation, creative changes and technological advancements. Even though we see different industry disruptors challenging and inspiring us for change, few things among others are still consistent - that is the growth of data. 

Being part of the biotech/healthcare industry for the past 5 years, I understand that a significant percentage of the world’s data is created by this industry. However, the information is siloed, making it difficult to access it to its full potential. Keeping these in mind, I see my role evolving through 3 phases:

  1. Data management and analytics through data modernization and democratization to optimize data processes.
  2. Inspiring data innovation and change by promoting a data driven and data literate culture. (This includes regularly reviewing emerging technologies and implementing change efficiently.)
  3. Value creation by trusting data during times of uncertainty.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the role as a CDO?

My advice would be to aspire to create a data literate and data driven workforce. Ensure strategic and proper planning, motivate and guide your employees, team members, and stakeholders to understand and work with data (appropriate to their needs) and improve their data skillset to forge a better data-driven organization. I also advise embracing data, technology and system changes based on industry best practices and innovations to leverage all aspects of your data to make the most informed decisions possible.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

  1. I always try to prepare different recipes for my wife, as she loves to eat, and I love to cook.
  2. I love gardening. I have lots of indoor plants, and I also grow vegetable plants. My grandfather was a farmer and gardening reminds me of him.
  3. I love to be hands-on. I always assemble my furniture myself, be it a small night stand or a big treadmill.

What is the value of joining an Evanta community?

It is meeting with different leaders from different industries, establishing connections, learning from their experiences, and sharing knowledge and ideas within an interactive space.


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