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Behind the Scenes of Transamerica’s Data Transformation

Vanessa Gonzalez, Senior Director of Data and Analytics for ML & AI talks about leading Transamerica’s Data Transformation program. The biggest challenges and important success factors for large-scale transformation.

Oct 2022
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Key Quotes

Customers want to be able to see the data when they need it, and they want to have a better digital assets and interactions with us. That's where they see the results of our transformation. They will not know why, but suddenly the website works faster, or that calls are being routed in a better way, and the truth is that they really don't need to know exactly where or how the data is is going from point A to point B and why it's taking longer or shorter times in order to still experience the benefits. By going through data transformation and implementing machine learning and AI models, what we really do is improve our customer service and by doing that we are able to grow our business and keep our clients happy.

Organizations should have thorough requirements at the very beginning of the data transformation process to ensure nothing is missed. You have to make sure that you don't skip any pieces when you're putting your requirements together. For example, if you have a project where you're bringing data from many different places, if you forget a couple of pieces, then they won’t be there when you need them, and it will be a lot more difficult and complex to bring those pieces in. Easier when you plan ahead and map out exactly what pieces and transformations you will need and how you will take each item from point A all the way through where it will live moving forward. This is actually a lot easier than bringing 80% of what you need, but forgetting 20% and having to figure out as you go. It is wise to spend the time before you start moving any data to really lay out clear requirements.

Key Takeaways


Data Transformation is a team effort that requires organization-wide support and a collaborative process in order to be successful.


The ability to translate complex technical ideas to internal stakeholders in simple and quickly understandable terms is a vital skill data scientists should continually nurture.


Just as technology and processes are constantly evolving and growing, it’s important for data scientists to cultivate a learner’s mindset, always exploring how to embrace and adapt to new changes.

About Vanessa Gonzalez

Photo of Vanessa Gonzalez
Vanessa Gonzalez

Vanessa Gonzalez is the Senior Director of Data and Analytics for ML & AI at Transamerica. Vanessa has experience in data transformation, leadership and strategic direction for Data Science and Data Governance teams, and is an experienced senior data manager. 

Photo of Richie Cotton
Richie Cotton

Richie helps organizations get from a vague sense of "hey we ought to get better at using data" to having realistic plans to become successful data-driven organizations. He's been a data scientist since before it was called data science, and has written several books and created many DataCamp courses on the subject.


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