A computer engineer with more than 15 years of experience, Diana Díaz Agrela leads advanced analytics and Big Data within Bankia’s digital transformation strategy. A position in which he reports directly to a member of the bank’s management committee and from which he ensures that there is still a lot to do in technology.
[MCPRO] You have been at Bankia for about 5 years. How has the evolution been within the company? Was it easy or difficult?
[Diana Diaz Agrela] At Bankia I have had to run a lot to keep up with the pace set by a financial corporation like this one. When I entered in less than 3 months we already had a strategic plan that in less than a year was already in place.
Each stage in this company has been more demanding than the last. I joined at the beginning of Bankia’s digital transformation, which has required adapting to a new corporate culture while being a catalyst for changes not only in technology but also in new relationship models and ways of working, essential for the transformation. It has not been easy, but I have succeeded, thanks to strong analytical strategy.
The secret of success has been the focus. Bankia has a very clear focus and this, supported by new technologies, helps transform the business. A vision that is within the core of the company which facilitates change.
[MCPRO] Tell us one or more projects that you feel especially proud of executed in your current role.
[Diana Diaz Agrela] The most relevant could be divided into three: the implemented platforms, the use cases and the new products generated. In the case of platforms, in these 5 years we have managed to create three: an open source for all data scientists to work, a cognitive one based on Artificial Intelligence technology and a digital marketing one to personalize the customer experience.
“The secret to success is having a clear focus”
In use cases, we have managed to be a catalyst for analytics in the entity. We have achieved great results transforming processes with a Data Driven approach to improve management and customer service, for example, in terms of defaults.
Finally, regarding the products, we have designed a financial coach within the app so that the client can improve their finances.
[MCPRO] What do you think should be the values and capabilities to lead a digital strategy in a large company?
[Diana Diaz Agrela] There are some. Strategic vision is one of the main ones. You cannot do everything on the first day but it is necessary to have a strategic vision to reach the goal by building little by little. And it is that not only technology is important, but knowing why we are going to apply it and what value it is going to contribute.
The implantation capacity is also key. Not only how to do it but to be able to put it into action and achieve it. I would also like to highlight the ability to influence. In transformation projects it is essential to convince for changes to take place. You need to talk to many different teams and try to make easy what is difficult. That is the role of a tech leader.
[MCPRO] Why do you think managerial positions, especially in IT, are mostly held by men?
[Diana Diaz Agrela] There are multiple social and cultural factors that affect this situation. In the case of technology, it is very worrying that there are very few women in technical careers. This situation needs to be changed from very early stages of education.
Change is possible, in my team, for example, there are already 7 women and I have never had so many.
In the business world, it is necessary to continue promoting integration from the early stages so that more women come to management and there are more references, not only in this area but in all. You have to give them the opportunity, because it is not a matter of capabilities.
“Strategic vision is key to leading”
[MCPRO] What message would you give to women who are not motivated by technological leadership or in general by the technological career?
[Diana Diaz Agrela] In earlier stages I would tell you, technology is already changing the way we work, communicate and live, and the exciting thing is that there is so much to do and discover. In this context, a lot of talent is needed and it is essential that women
let us be protagonists of the technological future that is accelerating.
To women who have already entered this world but still do not see themselves as having leadership skills, I would say dare to ask. Sometimes we are modest in saying what we have done and are worth. We have to dare and step forward to demonstrate our capabilities. It is necessary to take on challenges; It is as exciting to get there as the road traveled.
This interview is included in the ebook «Get to know them: Women who lead technology in Spain«, A special ebook with 9 interviews with the country’s great technology managers who tell us about their trajectory, the projects they carry out and the pitfalls they have encountered along the way.