New York Life's Cara Gagliano Talks Data Strategy

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print
Cara Gagliano, New York Life

Cara Gagliano, a senior vice president at New York Life Insurance, leads the company's data strategy and helps the organization drive digital transformation.

One problem is that the word "governance" implies bureaucracy. So, I prefer to view the concept as managing data as a strategic asset. It's a journey with the end goal being transparency and visibility across the organization. When an organization establishes metrics, it has a way to view results and become more sophisticated.

Baseline: How important are data scientists and high-level business and data analysts?

Gagliano: Data science has evolved into a critical enabler for delivering on predictive analytics and incorporating this into day-to-day operations. We have witnessed an incredible evolution in the way we mine data, explore data, and test and learn from data.

Data science is enabling this. It also is introducing ways to democratize data and put it into action for those who need it—and in a way that works for them.

Baseline: How do you view the internet of things and its role in delivering data?

Gagliano: This is a fascinating area. We are going to see data streaming coming in from drones, wearables, sensors, machines and more. Three or four years ago, these things sounded like something from the military or a science fiction novel. Now, they're beginning to deliver data.

One of the things we try to do is imagine possibilities and have a lot of curiosity about the art of the possible. As disruptive change takes hold, an open mind and an innovative spirit are critical.

Baseline: How do you see the business world changing as a result of digital technology and big data?

Gagliano: Clearly, the environment will continue to evolve, and data will become even more important. The key to managing in a highly disruptive world—and this extends beyond life insurance and financial services—is to look for ways to improve experiences and deliver value to people.

Baseline: Any final thoughts for Baseline's readers?

Gagliano: Many of the possibilities are kind of mind-blowing. When you start to think about digital profiles, blockchain, autonomous vehicles, AI and how data will be put into motion, it's easy to become overwhelmed.

In the end, the key is to invest in experimentation and explore innovative ideas. There's a need for a fail-fast mentality. Organizations must pivot quickly, learn and continually get better. When you combine this with a mindset of being curious and open, you're at the sweet spot for innovation and success.

Photo courtesy of New York Life Insurance Company

This article was originally published on 2016-11-01
Samuel Greengard writes about business and technology for Baseline, CIO Insight and other publications. His most recent book is The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).
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