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Beyond Instinct: Using data to achieve customer-centric growth

Consumers across the globe are facing an economic squeeze. Businesses need to work smarter to ensure they keep their customers engaged and spending with them. A customer-centric approach can lead to a virtuous circle of increased engagement and satisfaction, along with sustainable long-term growth. The rewards to both business and customer are enormous. More data is available than ever before to inform such an approach, but some companies are not using this resource effectively, and are being left behind in an increasingly competitive market.

Leadership in the Asia-Pacific region is increasingly data-literate, but more needs to be done to ensure that knowledge and enthusiasm trickles down throughout organisations. Much strategy is still being guided by gut instinct and what has worked in the past. But the instinctive approach can lead to strategic errors that miss opportunities and hamper expansion. How can business leaders best demonstrate the power of data in developing customer-centric approaches that lead to growth? In what ways can data be used to sharpen business strategy?

In this panel discussion, we explored how businesses can put data at the heart of their strategic decision-making to unlock customer-centric growth.

About the speakers

Shivani Saini

Shivani Saini

Global digital and technology head, business units
Haleon Consumer Healthcare

Shivani Saini is the global digital and technology head for the business units of Haleon Consumer Healthcare, being responsible for digital and tech strategy and execution. She leads a global team and partners, with regional presidents, to bring value to customers and consumers through data capabilities, experiences and digital health platforms.

She has 25 years of experience in technology in the consumer goods and health-care sectors. Having spent six years at GSK and 19 at Procter & Gamble, she has a breadth of experience working in the United States, Japan, Belgium and Singapore, across digital marketing, supply-chain and commercial tech, and data and analytics.

Ms Saini strives to bring everyday health and well-being to people around the world with data and technology. In 2002 she invented an app for menstrual well-being and a personalised digital product for new mothers, on which she owns a global patent. Since then she has pioneered digital programmes that have taken her company from selling products to also providing services and experiences. Today she leads teams to scale tech products and platforms for pain, wellness, and oral and respiratory health.

Her work on data and analytics in commercial and supply-chain applications has driven multi-million dollar revenue, and in 2020 and 2021 she was recognised by CDO Magazine in its list of Global Data Power Women.

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Ajay Advani

Vice-president, business and partnerships, Asia-Pacific and Japan
Tableau at Salesforce

Ajay Advani joined Tableau in 2018 and leads Tableau’s partner business in Asia-Pacific and Japan. He is responsible for growing the partner business in the region to help more customers build their competitive advantage through becoming data-driven. Partners help Tableau to scale while servicing customers locally and providing “on ground” resources to accelerate better outcomes.

A passionate people manager, Mr Advani has nearly 20 years of software experience at companies like Dassault Systèmes and Autodesk, where he held senior roles.

 He is a trained lawyer and first started his career at Drew & Napier. He holds a bachelor of laws degree from the University of Nottingham and qualified as a barrister from the Middle Temple in London.

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Andrew Staples

Regional head (APAC), policy & insights
Economist Impact

Based in Singapore, Andrew Staples is the Asia-Pacific head of policy and insights for Economist Impact. He leads a team across Asia, generating evidence-based insights to inform internal strategy and external engagement for governments, international institutions, corporations, foundations, and NGOs around the world

Andrew was previously global editorial director of The Economist Corporate Network (ECN), the Economist group’s briefing and advisory service designed to help senior business leaders understand and navigate the local and regional business environment. He regularly chairs and moderates major Economist events, delivers custom briefings to senior executives (including Fortune 500 C-suite) and public figures (including heads of state) in his areas of expertise which include international political economy, foreign direct investment, international trade, corporate strategy and comparative management. He also regularly appears in the international business media (BBC, CNN, CNBC, Channel News Asia). Prior to his move to Singapore in 2016, Andrew was the ECN director, North Asia, covering South Korea and Japan, where he was a long-term resident.

Andrew has a PhD in International Political Economy and an MSc in East Asian Business, both from the University of Sheffield, UK. He was a Ministry of Education research scholar at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo (2001-2003) and before joining The Economist Group, Andrew pursued an academic career holding both tenured and adjunct posts at leading universities and business schools in Japan and the UK. He has published widely in his areas of expertise and major publications include Responses to Regionalism in East Asia: Japanese Production Networks in the Automotive Sector published as part of the Palgrave Macmillan Asian Business Series and chapters in edited volumes including Asian Inward and Outward FDI: New Challenges in the Global Economy and popular textbooks including Asian Business and Management. Andrew was also previously a Senior Editor for the internationally peer reviewed journal Asian Business and Management.

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Kshira Saagar

Senior director, international data science and analytics
DoorDash

Kshira Saagar is the senior director of international data and analytics for DoorDash. He is dedicated to helping key decision-makers and leaders make smarter decisions using data and believes that every organisation can become truly data-driven. Mr Saagar has been recognised among the Top 10 Analytics Leaders in Australia in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. Outside of work, he focuses on advancing data literacy initiatives for high school and undergraduate students.

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