Nirali Patel

We caught up with CDO Hub member Nirali Patel (who we were thrilled to see recognised in the Data IQ 100 most influential people in data list), on her data journey and the passion that drives her.


Nirali Patel

Job Title

Chief Data Officer


AXA PPP Healthcare


How long have you been a data leader?

Since 2014 . 5 years and counting.

How did your own personal data journey start, and how did you get to this point?

I fell into data! It was when I started to work for a consultancy service, that I found I had a knack for data – probably from my IT related degree and linking IT to business problems. I never grew up thinking data, I didn’t even know what it was really.

Since then I have a developed a passion for health, and how data can help improve our health ecosystem.

What is the data related achievement that you are most proud of?

I am most proud of bringing business and IT to work together to achieve the same outcomes through better use of data and insight.

On a tangible note getting an NHS organisation  to use predictive models to reduced burden on the health ecosystem, such as creating a service to meet population needs and move from being reactive to proactive.

Hearing non-data people having light bulb moments on what data and insight can do for them, and seeing them embrace this, is more recent achievement.

Tell us about a challenge when it comes to data

Picking one thing!

I like to look at challenges in terms of what have I learnt when things haven’t turned out as expected or planned. Over the years I have learnt to be careful not to assume that everyone has the same level of understanding around data and the data strategy, and that it’s important to repeat and create a story that each persona can relate to and engage with. Something that is meaningful, and has clear value outcomes.

What are your 3 top tips for others looking to make a career in data?

  • Be able to communicate and translate effectively. This is a key capability for all data leaders, through this capability you are able to engage with your  stakeholders to bring them on the data journey – and share the art of the possible with data. Help them become more data literate
  • Imagine you ring your electricity company and they have the wrong contact details for you, how does that feel? For me as a consumer I’d be frustrated, for me as a business I need to ensure good data quality (correct contact details in this case) to enable our customers have a good experience and hence stay with us and recommend us to others
  • You are not alone, link with peers as that is the source of great experience


Best advice you were given?

Be humble, it is ok to not know everything, as it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Anything else we should know?

There are days where I wonder whether being a mother of two young boys is harder or leading the way in which we have a relationship with data.



If you would like to hear more from Nirali, she was a guest on Hub & Spoken, where she shares the value of having an agile data strategy.

Written by Tor Park


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