Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the Chicago CDAO Community

Vikrant Saxena

SVP, Analytics Officer

Global Atlantic Financial Group

Vikrant Saxena is the Analytics Officer at Global Atlantic Financial Group, a leading life insurance and annuity company in the United States. In this role, Vikrant leads data and analytics strategy to meet the needs of Individual Markets business leaders. He is responsible for all aspects of data management, reporting analytics and Artificial Intelligence to provide timely and reliable answers to business-critical questions in support of the Individual Markets strategy.

Learn more about leaders in the Chicago CDAO community here.

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

Over 20 years ago, I was a research assistant at LSU, and I had the opportunity to analyze significant amounts of data to understand the heat transfer patterns on airplane engine blades. This experience demonstrated the value of data in telling the complete fact-based story and the importance of data for decision making, and it motivated me to pursue my professional career in data management and analytics.

Over the next several years, I worked in various consulting roles to build and maintain data architecture and analytics for insurance companies (specifically Aviva and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield).

In 2013, I joined Global Atlantic Financial Group and worked under several business functions, including: finance, corporate development, operations and strategic business execution. The increasing demand for data insights to understand and grow the business provided me the opportunity to create a data and analytics vision and ensure execution of the strategy. I worked closely with cross-functional executive leadership and analytics team leaders to build the Analytics Office Center of Excellence for Individual Markets at Global Atlantic.

Now as the Analytics Officer, one of the best parts of my job is advancing our data and analytics maturity to support business partners to make better-informed business decisions.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

A successful Data & Analytics program requires a system thinking approach and investment in the following:

  • People: Invest in training, coaching, expanded opportunities and development assignments to build experienced, skilled and motivated teams.
  • Data: Quality data should be a focus at the beginning of the business process, and it should be easily accessible for generating meaningful insights.
  • Velocity: Extend the agile concept to data and analytics solutions development to keep pace with the business need to make quick and informed decisions.

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

I see my role evolving through 3 phases:

  1. Building automated data pipelines, centralizing data and optimizing analytics creation tied to specified business value.
  2. Exploring the potential of data to explain and predict outcomes that create business value, such as growth in business, improve customer experience and better digital adoption.
  3. Becoming instrumental in driving organizational strategy through the power of analytics.

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

  1. Focus on business outcomes: Develop a cross-functional, end-to-end value chain reporting framework through key business stakeholder interviews. Based on your organization's business goals, build a 3-year data and analytics roadmap.
  2. Invest in Infrastructure: A digital foundation - inclusive of platforms, applications and data and analytical tools - is essential for an optimal-state data and analytics operation.
  3. Cultural Shift: It’s critical for all employees to understand the value of data and analytics for decision making to become a data-driven organization.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

  1. I love hiking. I travel to places with hiking trails of varying difficulty and duration almost every year.
  2. I enjoy 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles. With help from my 2 daughters, we can complete one in 5-6 hours.
  3. I love biking.


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