At Conexus Solutions, Inc., we take immense pride in our exceptional team members, the true engines driving our success. In this latest installment of our "Behind the Team" series, we're pulling back the curtain to reveal the remarkable journey, insights, and expertise of the mastermind behind our Data Services and Insights division, Sunitha Venkat. Sunitha is not just a Practice Lead; she's a catalyst for transformation in the data landscape. Her passion for data, combined with a profound understanding of its power, has carved a path to new possibilities for our clients and the industry. In this blog post, we delve into her career trajectory, her visionary approach to data services, and the profound impact she's had within our organization.
Please introduce yourself to our audience by reviewing your education, training, and career.
First and foremost, I’m passionate about the transformative potential of technology and adapting emerging technical advancements to solve real-world problems. My academic background in Computer Science Engineering has laid the groundwork for my technical proficiency. Over my career, I’ve embarked on a dynamic journey, taking on various roles and responsibilities. It has been quite the ride from delivering scalable solutions to leading a data team for a contract research organization and, later, a business insights and analytics team for a contract sales organization.
Right from my first project as a Software Engineer to leading our Data Services and Insights practice, my focus has always been on delivering customer-centric solutions that bridge business and technical strategies and leverage data to provide actionable insights to decision-makers.
I’d also like to highlight the importance of bringing together the right team with the right attitude to deliver on your vision. I thoroughly enjoy assembling and leading high-performing global analytics teams, leveraging my team dynamics and talent cultivation expertise. My dedication to mentoring others is a driving force in my career, as I find immense fulfillment in guiding and developing individuals to reach their full potential.
What inspired you to pursue a career in data science and eventually take on a leadership role within the organization?
The power of data to inform critical decision-making has always been a draw. I had opportunities to align business and technology strategies, and witnessing users access their data via a single, intuitive, self-service solution was exhilarating. I was also fortunate enough to assemble and lead a global team that provided data-driven solutions for over 50 engagements for big and small pharma across various therapeutic areas. Working across many organizations provided a well-rounded understanding of systems, processing, and operations. Most importantly, I understood the role of data in Pharma and Life Sciences’ drug commercialization strategies, patient journey optimization, market access, and commercial/marketing analytics.
As I progressed in my career, I realized that I enjoyed working with data and helping others understand its potential. I’m motivated by the idea of leading a team and using my expertise to guide the organization’s data strategy and contribute to its success. My technical proficiency in data analytics tools and platforms and my ability to communicate complex insights in a clear and actionable manner have prepared me for a leadership role. My experiences have enabled me to effectively bridge the gap between technical teams and decision-makers to drive data-driven outcomes.
That experience led me to Conexus, where our tagline, “The Team Behind Your Team,” truly resonated with my philosophy of doing what is right by our customers and leading our Data Services and Insights practice as we explore new boundaries in data and analytics.
In your opinion, what are the most critical challenges and opportunities facing our industry today?
The top two challenges are scaling data analytics initiatives that accelerate strategic decision-making and shifting from a traditional sales-rep-based model to a more agile approach, including more digital touchpoints and seamless experiences across the entire customer journey.
Life sciences organizations seek opportunities to use data science and analytics to optimize commercial models through accelerated customer insights, personalized omnichannel campaigns, and streamlined sales and marketing activities, among many others. It’s placed the onus on commercial and marketing analytics, operations, and IT teams to be future-ready, monitor the evolution of cloud platforms and data science applications, stay on top of the key trends, and gain a competitive advantage by partnering with strategic service providers who can assist in realizing these initiatives.
What strategies or initiatives are you leading to address these challenges and capitalize on the opportunities?
Life Sciences business users often need help identifying anomalies, correlations, underlying trends, and change drivers from traditional static dashboards or Excel reports that provide limited insights and interactivity with data. In contrast, augmented analytics tools enable the discovery, visualization, and narration of significant data findings via visualizations and conversational interfaces, including natural language query (NLQ) technologies. Augmented analytics is transforming how and where business users interact with analytics content. It has become a core component of most analytics, BI, and data science platforms.
At Conexus, we are addressing this unmet need with our Insights and Analytics platform that incorporates modern approaches to data management processes with robust capabilities for data ingestion, data quality tracking, data governance on prebuilt business models, and augmented analytics. This platform promises fast access to data and puts control in the hands of the business users.
Can you share a memorable leadership lesson or piece of advice that has had a significant impact on your career?
“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” This mantra can encourage a pragmatic approach in the context of data and analytics. While data quality is essential, striving for perfection shouldn’t hold back progress and decision-making. Instead, organizations should aim for a balance that allows them to use available data effectively while acknowledging its limitations and continuously working to improve their data and analytics processes.
I always try to weave this into conversations with our customers who have embarked on a data warehouse, master data management, and streamlined reporting initiatives. While high-quality data is essential, waiting for data to be perfect may cause you to miss out on timely insights.
What would you choose if you were to pursue a career in an entirely new field?
A career as a chef would be gratifying! I’d be able to express my creativity and passion through food, and seeing the delight and satisfaction on customers’ faces while they enjoy a well-prepared meal would be immensely gratifying. My restaurant would provide an immersive experience in local culture, leverage locally sourced ingredients, and significantly promote cultural diversity, sustainability, and cultural appreciation by involving traditional recipes and cooking methods passed down through generations. I could travel the world and learn new cuisines as my career!
If you are interested in connecting with Sunitha, she can be reached at SunithaV@cnxsi.com.
Stay tuned for more Behind the Team interviews, connecting our team to yours!