Can you tell us about your career path in data and analytics?
Christophe Pineau: After earning a PhD in Economics, I joined a macroeconomics consulting firm where I was assigned to work on real estate. I discovered that real estate was a sector where macroeconomics merged with finance, so it was a perfect fit for me. I then moved to Atisreal, which was later acquired by BNP Paribas Real Estate. There, I worked on creating forecasting models and doing analytics for real estate. I started as head of French research, and then became head of the European research department. I eventually earned the title of Global Head of Research, working for all business lines throughout Europe before moving into my current role as Chief Data and Analytics Officer.
Can you describe your current role as Chief Data & Analytics Officer?
CP: My role has three main components: data, analytics and personal data protection.
First, in terms of data, my role is to help to develop data quality, identify client business needs, and determine what kind of data is required to answer them. In the past, data was an afterthought in strategy: It was about what we could do with what we had. Today, we’re more proactive with our data: we can now determine client needs and seek out data to respond to them. This is a totally new way to think about data that reverses the traditional order.
Secondly, my job is about developing analytics. With the help of new data visualisation tools and new open algorithms, our data project manager, geomatics expert and data scientists can better answer client needs. We are now able to improve operational efficiency, improve today services and develop new services.
A big part of the job is also link to personal data protection. The new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is currently being studied and I am personally leading projects across all departments to ensure we’re ready for implementation in May 2018.
In order to accomplish these three goals, my team is working on data across the company, which involves quite a bit of collaboration with other departments. In the end, we aim to better answer client needs through data together, to help clients and consultants alike.
What are the most exciting trends in data analytics?
CP: A few years ago, we had a limited sample of market data, but now, we’re experiencing a data revolution in every sector. In real estate, this means there is a wealth of data now available, as more and more companies opt for connectivity in their real estate projects: from connected buildings measuring energy use and efficiency to the connected objects of IOT and the Internet of Services. We will soon be able to collect pollution, commerce or weather data about entire neighbourhoods and districts and develop client strategy in turn. It’s an exciting time to work in this field, as data becomes more and more of an integral part of our lives.
What kind of international opportunities does your field provide?
CP: Data has no borders. From the very beginning, it’s been an international job.
Thanks to the digital world and the Internet of Things, analytics is everywhere and distance is no longer a constraint.
What are some of the most important skills to succeed in data analytics today?
CP: You need to be able to share, listen and understand other people, and ideally, be creative. Having an open mind goes a long way. Of course, statistical, algorithmic and mathematical skills are important, but you have to like data. If you have the skills and interest, the next most important aspect is your personality: Being able to listen to people and understand their needs is key, because at the end of the day, the most valuable data comes from collaboration.