Women of Ubisoft – Emmeline Biscay
Emmeline Biscay, Ubisoft’s recently appointed Chief Data Officer, has been with the company for 25 years. In that time, she’s helped shape Ubisoft’s growth from a private company of 100 employees to an international public company of 17,000. Whether as Head of Financial Planning or Chief Information Officer, Emmeline has led the development of powerful teams and tools that have fueled Ubisoft’s growth in a rapidly changing industry. It’s quite the resume for someone that applied to the company for interview practice.
Tell us a bit about your background. Where did you grow up? How did your experiences contribute to who you are today?
Emmeline Biscay: My dad was an engineer in the oil industry and my family moved around quite a bit. I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and, after a short stint there, my family moved to Caracas, Venezuela where we lived until I was 6 years old. After Venezuela, we spent several years in London before finally settling in Paris, where I’ve been living ever since. I started my life abroad, and it was quite an amazing experience, because living abroad in the ‘70s wasn’t very common. It taught me a lot about the importance of understanding different cultures, being open minded to different ways of living and additionally a good background in Spanish and English.
How did you find your way to Ubisoft?
In 1994, I was fresh out of business school and was looking for jobs in movie and music production companies, theaters, museums. It was my first time applying, so I decided to send out a round of warm-up applications to practice interviewing before I applied to the jobs I really wanted. Ubisoft – which at the time was a small distribution company – was originally supposed to be one of those warm-up applications.
So why did you choose Ubisoft?
EB: When I interviewed with (Ubisoft co-founder) Gerard Guillemot, we really clicked. Gerard was heading the editorial vision of the studio and defining what kind of games we wanted to develop.
It was the very beginning of Ubisoft developing games, just before the launch of Rayman. I was supporting on recruitment, contracts, cost control, helping Gerard with communications. It was an exciting time because I was able to try so many things.
What was the journey like going from Gerard Guillemot’s assistant to Chief Data Officer?
EB: Ubisoft went public just a couple years after I joined, and it was a huge step for the company. I went into financial planning, evolved in that role and grew the department. After several years, I became Financial Planning Director for the company.
It was the end of the 1990s, and we realized we needed to modernize our system of financial tools and become more digital as a company. So, in partnership with the IT department, my team helped support the deployment of more adapted and scalable financial systems.
What does a Chief Data Officer do?
It’s my job to be the privileged partner for these teams, and to make sure we are using data in a way that creates even more enriching, rewarding experiences for players. We can use data to better understand players and make decisions that improve their experience in our games and services.
I will also focus on how we can make the most of data and work closely with our Data Privacy Officer and his team to ensure that protecting players’ privacy remains a top priority. We have a wide network of data privacy experts around the world who are working with teams across Ubisoft to ensure we are making the right choices and complying at all levels. Transparency is key, and we are focused on making it easier for players to access, manage and retrieve the personal data they’ve shared with us.
I think a lot of people view data and analytics as the opposite of creativity. How do you see them working together?
EB: I always say “data-informed” rather than “data-driven,” because people are still the ones making the choices. Creativity is very important, and data is a tool to complement and inspire creativity. It informs, but doesn’t determine, the choices we make.
May 22, 2020 at 23:20