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Why Banorte CAO Jose A Murillo Changed His Mind About Data Literacy

Jose A Murillo, Chief Analytics Officer at Banorte, shares how and why he’s been bolstering executive-level data literacy at the bank throughout the pandemic with bespoke data science workshops

Before COVID-19, Jose A Murillo, Chief Analytics Officer at Banorte, didn’t put much stock in the idea of data literacy. Given that his team had already driven more than $3 billion USD in revenue gains for the company, he figured the bank was doing perfectly well without it.

“I never thought it was so important to have data literacy across the company, because we were advancing and we were going in a really fast pace,” he recalls. “I thought it’s enough if you have a center of excellence that knows what’s going.”

However, all that changed when the pandemic created a rare opportunity for him to deliver a hands-on data science workshop for roughly 70 executives from the company’s credit card, savings and retail banking teams.

“Data literacy eliminates pushback against [experimental] analytics initiatives”

Jose A Murillo, Chief Analytics Officer, Banorte

“That’s something that was a game changer for Banorte,” Murillo reveals. “A heightened understanding of what was going on helped us, having all the brains in the company thinking about the transformation.

“So, that was a very good investment. I never could have forecast the impact that it could have on accelerating things at the bank.”

Murillo credits this workshop with getting more people within the organization “singing from the same hymn book” with respect to key concepts such as customer lifetime value and running controlled trials for machine learning-based interventions.

“One of the key reasons why data literacy is so important is because, suddenly you have less pushback,” he says. “Things flow with much more ease than when people don’t really understand what you’re trying to do.”

How Banorte is Bolstering Executive-Level Data Literacy

Murillo planned the first of his data science workshops in collaboration with Banorte’s MD for Payments, Digital Banking and IT, José Francisco Martha González (aka ‘Paco’).

The workshop ran in the summer of 2020 and consisted of weekly one-hour sessions spread over three months. Following these seminars, participants worked on their own data science projects and presented the results to a selection of C-suite executives in December.

“Some of them had to follow-up on what were more like short-term or medium-term results,” Murillo notes. “So, we agreed to that we were going to revisit to those projects in by the end of the first quarter of 2021.”

While this workshop was originally planned as a one-off, the impact was so great that Murillo has since run a second one for 240 company employees and is working to expand the program to reach more company stakeholders and cover a broader curriculum.

“Now we have some people that have really understood and liked very much what they were doing, the plan is to reinforce that learning”

Jose A Murillo, Chief Analytics Officer, Banorte

“I think it helps a lot for the corporation to understand what’s going on, and you need to be deliberate in your efforts,” Murillo says. “Now, I’ve made a format to help [participants] understand how to explain their projects.

“They do an elevator pitch, where they explain what the behaviors they want to change are, what they want to do, how they want to do it [and] what they expect to get from doing what they’re doing in a systematic way.”

Following the success of this second workshop, Murillo is now planning another in August on how to build an MVP [minimum viable product].

His experiences imparting key data science concepts to his colleagues seem to have convinced him that building data literacy across his entire organization is the key to expanding on his team’s successes to date and driving business transformation across the bank.

“What I’m aiming for is changing the business culture,” Murillo concludes. “In previous years, I was very focused on doing the things by myself and getting things done. Now, I’m very much focused on having other people improve the things that aren’t working how I think they should be.”


Jose A Murillo will speak at Corinium’s 2021 CDAO Fall summit. Click here for more information or click here to reserve your place.