RSS I  I  I  I  E-Newsletter                             

 - Please note that CIPS is currently receiving a high volume of inquiries and applications. We thank you for your patience - 

Interview with Hashmat Rohian - AVP, Research & Development, AVIVA CANADA - via Data Marketing

via Data Marketing - Exhibition and Conference 2014 (Toronto, Dec 10-11) -

Hashmat Rohian

AVP, Research & Development


Hashmat leads a cross-functional team charged with bringing data-driven insights and solutions to the masses and making fast, fact-based decision making a reality across Aviva. As an academic and practitioner, his work concentrates on taking an issue-to-outcome execution approach putting the focus on innovation in the digital space and tying Data, Execution, Learning, Analytics Technology directly to making better and faster decisions for improved business outcomes.

1.       What is your role as the AVP of Research & Development within Aviva Canada?

I lead the Data Science R&D. Basically, my mandate is to help the organization make fact-based decisions; better and faster decisions, with the right visualization tools, technologies, and statistical techniques that allow us to make the right decision at the right time and embedding analytics into our business processes.

We rely heavily on data, it is the key to making good decisions. Good data, with good statistical techniques expedite the fact based decision making process. It can answer questions for us, such as; what is our next best action, what channels, customers or processes do we need to optimize, where do allocate our capital, if the payback is enough to justify the initial investment of time, resource, and people, etc.

When engaging with the business, there is a bit of education on the ‘Why’ rather than the ‘What’. It’s all about the ROI at the end of the day. Hence, you always have to link data analytics, with ROI and value added.

2.       Where does your data come from?

Both, Internal data and huge external data. Our data comes from all kinds of data aggregators, consortiums, credit, quotes…etc. One of our roles as data scientists is to go and harvest both internal and external, open and proprietary data. Before mining and doing analytics, we do data acquisitions to build the required data hub to support decisions made. 

3.       What are your top 3 goals when it comes to data?

Our number one goal, which is our vision, is to make fact-based, data-driven decisions. This can be achieved by deploying predictive analytics, and sophisticated learning algorithms. We are implementing new ways of organizing, analysing and storing data.  

My second goal would be to apply this data within our digital and offline journeys, hence improving the customer’s journey in a digital arena as well as offline. And my third goal would be, automation; what part of the business can be automated? Can fraud be automated? Can we shave off some costs and time by automation in our claim processes?

4.       Do you believe that data plays a role in driving innovation within an organization? If yes, how come?

Absolutely, and I am part of it. Even some of our business automation goals, are all internal continuous innovation. Optimal pricing might touch customers, but portfolio optimization might not. Hence, data can guide us through sustaining and disruptive questions like quarterly and annual planning; where should we invest? Which line of business? How do we deliver personalized services and target to segments of one? Data can help us not only to optimize our business, but our customers too, it helps us with marketing solutions as well as with fraud claims.

5.       In your opinion, is there a lack of talent when it comes to data?

There is a lack of talent, and lack of those that are willing to learn, willing to fail fast, and learn fast. Data Scientists are especially very hard to find. I’m always hiring and recruiting. You see, acquiring the talent is one thing, and retaining and growing it is another. It is a challenge to pull and retain people into insurance and finance when you have Silicon Valley and start-ups as your competition to give the autonomy, sustained purpose and mastery.

Customers are becoming more demanding, and they expect everyone to have a Google-like seamless experience (i.e. a customer-first experience). They want to see the next recommended product ready for them; they would like to have their next best action. Customers expect you to know who they are, and this demand and expectation is ever-growing, hence companies need to catch up or they lose.


via Data Marketing - Exhibition and Conference 2014 (Toronto, Dec 10-11) -


CIPS Corporate Partners

The following organizations support CIPS' commitment to professionalism, ethics, and high standards for the I.T. professionCIPS thanks all its partners for their contribution. Become a CIPS Corporate Partner Today! - Send an email to

RocketTheme Drupal Themes