Inside Track: Back to the Future

PM Network

An Interview with ANITA FERNQVIST, PMP

TITLE: Chief data officer

ORGANIZATION: Zurich Insurance U.K.

LOCATION: Fareham, England

In its 150-year existence, Zurich Insurance has grown through many mergers and acquisitions. Yet as each added organization has brought along its own data architecture, Zurich Insurance has had to consolidate "a very complex legacy data landscape," says Chief Data Officer Anita Fernqvist.

Since 2016, Ms. Fernqvist has led a program for Zurich’s United Kingdom business that involves two prongs: incorporating data systems from the past while delivering data projects for the future. And for both, she says, the team must rely on robust project management.

How do you help define data’s role in your organization’s strategy?

I work with the business to define how we can leverage existing and future data—and then what we need to do to deliver on that. I work to both remediate our legacy landscape and build future capabilities to pave the way for growth. I have to have one foot in the past and one in the future.

Can you describe a strategic initiative where you strike that balance?

For the past two years, our main deliverable has been a strategic data asset program, and it’s been a huge undertaking. It involved bringing multiple data sources into one place—a single view of …

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