For over 110 years, at NFU Mutual we have worked to ensure that providing the best service for our members is at the heart of every decision. To keep delivering excellent service and the experience our customers expect and deserve, it’s essential that we continue to focus on managing our data. Lydia Sarjeant has joined us at the NFU Mutual Data Centre of Excellence (DCoE), to help ensure our business is fit for today and into the future. We caught up with Lydia to hear all about her new role as Head of Enterprise Data Management, what the DCoE is looking for in new recruits as they build the team and her aspirations for a data driven future at NFU Mutual.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey with NFU Mutual so far?
I’ve worked in insurance for longer than I’d like to admit! I’ve built my career around solving and delivering complex, high priority initiatives. I started this role 3 months ago and before that, I worked in the Strategy department shaping NFU Mutual’s longer term ambitions and strategies. As an insurance business, data runs through everything we do.

My work in Strategy highlighted just how important it is for us to develop our data capabilities and evolve the use of our tools to deliver our business objectives, and particularly to help us help our customers now, next year and in ten years’ time. We’re a truly customer focussed business and that won’t change. But we’ll be a customer focussed business driven by data - which will help us meet our evolving customer needs and ensure we’re still here for them for another 110 years!

You’ve recently taken on this new role. Can you tell us a bit about it?
My role as Head of Enterprise Data Management is to help shape our journey to achieve our goal of becoming data driven. I’m here to drive a strategic approach to the effective management of our data. Finding new solutions, using the right platforms, and evolving the use of our tools will help us to identify new opportunities, support delivery, improve operational efficiency, and make quicker, better-informed decisions. As our chosen markets evolve, we’ll be able to better meet the individual needs of our customers, add incremental value, and remain competitive. In terms of maturity, we’re on our way but there’s still lots to do, so to be able to influence the direction that this journey takes and see how much value our work adds to the wider business is very exciting!

What does this work mean to the wider business?
We’re trusted experts at what we do and over the years NFU Mutual has built up a leading reputation for huge member loyalty. This is because of our focus on a local, personalised, attentive service, and this is something as a business we do fantastically well. With accurate, real-time data and better solutions to access it, we can make quicker better-informed decisions to add value for our customers and achieve that seamless, connected experience.

What we’re doing will make the lives of our people so much easier. By bringing together, standardising and driving improvements in our data to create a centralised internal marketplace of easily accessible, ready to use, trusted data products. It’ll remove barriers to getting things done and I think the business will come to wonder how they ever managed without it. It will really change the face of how the organisation accesses and uses our data, which is so exciting.

What kind of people are you looking to join you on this new journey?
We’re looking for people who are inspired by what we can achieve through data. People with a natural curiosity and who love the challenge of solving problems and getting projects over the line. Passionate and enthusiastic with a growth and improvement mindset, who can understand what the business need and drive delivery to meet those needs and our business objectives.

How is NFU Mutual different?
You hear the terms, ‘people first’ and ‘customer first’ banded around everywhere, but here they really mean it. Culturally, there is nowhere else like it. And they really do look after their people. There is an authenticity of leadership and their passion for what we’re here to do is infectious, which makes it such a great place to be. There’s always support on hand if you need it, as well as the autonomy and trust to do your job as you need to do it. There are also the practicalities of hybrid working, and we expect people to be in the office at least one day a week, so work life balance and lifestyle fit are hugely valued and encouraged.

What you say to someone thinking of applying?
Go for it! This is an exciting opportunity to do something different in an evolutionary department, with high impact and visibility right to the top level of the organisation and ultimately, to shape what the future looks like at NFU Mutual.

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