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With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.

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Top Considerations For Campaign Analysts

The phrase Campaign Analyst means many things to many people. A quick Google search alone turns up a variety of titles and job descriptions, united by one common thread; creating merit through customer value, metrics, and consumer insight.  As a rule, Campaign Analysts have become more and more important in every forward-thinking business over the past few years, particularly in B2B marketing departments. But what are the big trends we should expect to see over the next year or so? Recapping the role    Campaign Analysts are the go-to resource for everyone from staff to stakeholders, acting as advisor in regard to digital campaigns segmentation and analytical needs, and utilising their comprehensive knowledge and understanding of customer Data. They are often the bridge across departmental teams and help provide a big picture scope, while also diving into the details of customer and marketing insights to achieve actionable results. As an overview, they:     Develop guidelines and build Database procedures to evaluate individual, multi-and omnichannel testing methodologies. Mine Data and reach out to customer segments for query Data.Identify areas of improvement for campaign organisation.Provide critical support to campaigns, from conception to implementation, with the ability to translate marketing plans into production-ready endeavours. Is it time for a Data Health Check?  Though Data & Analytics have played a big role in retail over the last few years, Marketing departments have often lagged a bit behind. However, they’re beginning to catch up. In 2018, a Dun & Bradstreet survey showed over 60 percent of B2B companies thought Data quality was extremely important. In 2019, the same rings true.  But, as things develop even further, here are a few things to consider in your Marketing Data ecosystems:  Updating your company’s customer Data health – Eliminate duplicate records, make sure customer information is accurate and up-to-date, and make sure your segmentations still make sense. Have decision makers for targeted campaigns changed or moved on? Are email addresses and phone numbers still valid? Keeping your customer Data up-to-date ensures you’re not analysing invalid Data.  Creating a more focused Data-Driven approach with Marketing ROI – Assess and evaluate spending and revenue with a lens on Marketing channel variety. What’s working? What isn’t? Where can you cut costs while increasing market-generated revenue?Micro-segmenting your targeting efforts – Go deeper in your targeted Marketing efforts. Narrow your Data parameters. The more layers you add, the more targeted you can focus your messaging, and the more likely you are to reach the best audience for your business.Utilising video Marketing – Much like boosting your resume with video, the same can be said for targeted Marketing campaigns. As a Campaign Analyst, you’ll need to work with departments across the business to create a unified Content Marketing Strategy and video remains a crucial format according to a LinkedIn study. And on that note… Pressing play on video The bland days of corporate speak, restrictive tone, and limited colour in video Marketing are a thing of the past. Video is now a crucial Marketing and engagement tool, providing the opportunity to engage with customers in almost real-time.   With this, customers feel heard and can help transform a product as well as gain trust in the business itself. From GDPR to fake news to Data breaches, it’s highly important for businesses to provide transparency in their interactions and video helps them do that.  By being transparent and acknowledging mistakes, business can both gain consumer trust and improve upon their mistakes.. In addition, customer’s no longer feel like voices in a canyon; they are part of the business and therefore more invested in the company’s success.  Additionally, this can expand your reach, allowing you discover what a broader range of customers think. If we want a recommendation for a good restaurant, a doctor, or some other place or service, we turn first to our friends. And in the era of social media, our friends are everywhere. What better way to reach out to your target audience than by video with authentic customer reviews and testimonials?  A well-developed strategy leads to happy customers and their goodwill is, ultimately, free Marketing.  If you’re looking for your next Campaign Analyst opportunity, we may have a role for you. Check out our latest roles or get in touch with one of our specialist consultants. 

Barcelona's Tech Talent Shortage

Big Data is present in every aspect of our daily lives. Virtually all activities we carry out involve the generation of data; every time you turn on your computer, every search we make, every purchase or subscription online, when we use our mobile phones, each time we pay with our credit card…  This list goes on and often we leave our mark without even realising it. Worldwide, Data companies are aware of the immeasurable value of this information. From improving, predicting and avoiding future developments, to making decisions more effectively and efficiently, reducing costs, and, in short, making things easier and better. Barcelona is no exception. But, like many major cities, demand is far exceeding supply.  A Shortfall of Talent Understandably, crucial to a business’ Data & Analytics success are the professionals in charge of the development of the technologies that gather, transform, analyse and draw conclusions from that Data. Without these professionals the Data has no use, and it is almost impressive how the lack of skilled professionals is affecting this sector in particular.  A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to Barcelona and meet several companies who are leading the global digital transformation. My time there highlighted to me that not only are most of the companies are looking for very similar profiles, but also that they all are struggling to find skilled people to join their projects. Broadly speaking, there are two types of profiles within the Big Data field:  The specialists who put in place the necessary infrastructure to store collected Data. These are purely technical profiles such as Software Developers, Data Engineers, Data Architects, and Programmers.The specialists working on this Data, generating insights and making suggestions in order to make a profit. These profiles are typically more business-oriented such as Data Analysts and Data Scientists.  The recent emergence of these profiles, and their importance in the success of a business has led to a skills short. This has resulted in a real challenge for companies who are looking to adapt and keep at the forefront of technology.  Education, Education, Education How is a booming sector with such a good prospects having such difficulties finding skilled professionals? Are companies looking to hire without considering the real labour market situation? Is it a problem that affects only Spain?  The main reason for the shortage is understandably the rapid growth of the market as a result of a huge increase of Data generation, associated with the increased use of mobile devices. This has brought new demands on a workforce, in particular for specialised profiles and skills, and experts in the latest technologies.   It must be taken into account that a Big Data expert profile, like a Data Engineer or a Data Scientist, barely existed few years ago – therefore training and retraining is fundamental. Given that situation, governments, companies and universities need to be taking measures and establishing agreements in order to provide subsidies, to offer training aids, and to facilitate the access for study and research offering a wider variety of studies and internships programs.  Fortunately, this something that I’m seeing more of now in Spain, in addition to numerous perks like competitive salaries, flexible working, and even working remotely.  Looking Further Afield However, whilst education may help address a shortage in the long term, it still leaves a lack of viable candidates in the present. Barcelona, like many tech hubs, is embracing international candidates with attractive relocation offers and benefits packages. By opening up to the world’s best talent, as well as  continuing to find local stars of the future, the city is cementing itself as a leader of the digital transformation.  If you are currently focused within this area then there are likely to be multiple job opportunities available, with above average salaries. You’ll be able to continue to refine your skills with additional training and likely have the pick of any sector in which you might like to work. Get in touch if you’re considering Barcelona for your next role or take a look at our latest opportunities to discover hundreds of Big Data & Analytics jobs. 

“Disruptive Approaches Are Driving Change” Derek Dempsey On The Fraud Industry: Part Two

This is the second part of our interview with Derek Dempsey, Fraud Analytics Director for FICO. To read the first part click here. How have Data & Analytics impacted the detection, and prevention, of Fraud?  Big Data is interesting. We want to use as much Data as possible but you have to be sure the Data you have is reliable and robust. Bad Data could lead to significant issues for anyone in Fraud detection.  But really, Data & Analytics are the fuel that drives effective Fraud detection. Our world has used these tools very effectively for many years and we have always been at the forefront in the use of new techniques. Effective Fraud detection relies heavily on using the best Data available and the right analytical techniques to extract useful information. Furthermore, it is constantly evolving as more information becomes available.  What impact do you think Machine Learning and AI can have on Fraud prevention and detection?  In the last few years we’ve seen an explosion of new interest and new techniques, with lots of new players coming into the market.  Companies like FICO have been using Machine Learning for Fraud detection for 25 years so this isn't new. What is new is a whole generation of new technologies, new companies and disruptive approaches that have been driving change.  For us, apart from increased competitive pressures, one of the other big changes is that companies have built large Data Science teams and have a bigger appetite to build their own solutions using open source technologies. However, it’s one thing building these great models, it’s another getting them to operate effectively and correctly in the real world. The level of governance that we are subject to is enormous just to make sure that our models perform as they should. This will be a challenge to the newcomers. They are here to stay though, and should drive better performance and better Fraud detection.  Where AI techniques are set to make an impact is in AML and compliance monitoring. These have used rule-based techniques due to regulatory pressures, but it is clear that more advanced techniques are required to provide better detection of money laundering and terrorist financing. However, businesses do require us to provide explainability but regulators are saying the will look favourably on AI usage if it can provide this. The more AI techniques are used, the more this issue of explainability is going to be important.  Why is the development of analytics, tools and techniques so important within different industries? I think domain knowledge of the Data and business will always be important. 'Specialisms' occur and always will. The analytic techniques, the tools and languages can be standard although some are more appropriate for different specialities. However, the differences in Data and business model always results in specialised applications to address this.  For example, something like Card Fraud or AML require techniques that can analyse and process huge volumes of transactions, whereas something like Claims fraud or Application Fraud won't have this requirement and other factors can be more relevant. However, there is little doubt that Financial Services and Telco have actively sought AI technologies while others have been more fearful of so-called 'black box' approaches.  How are Big Data and Data Science tools, such as Hadoop, helping combat Fraud effectively?  There’s no question from an analytics perspective that Python and R are the two languages that Data Scientists are using. But it helps to have specialists in technical skills, such as DevOps and DataOps, to provide the technical expertise that allows them to build models and utilise Data most effectively.  As for Hadoop, it makes sense for Data Scientists to have an understanding, but ultimately I see that skillset as one belonging to the technical specialists. This is why I firmly believe that every Data Science team should have a supporting tech function.   What are the latest technologies helping combat Fraud?  From an analytical perspective there has been a recent focus on graph analytics and network analytics as these can be applied to external Data. These approaches have been around for a while however and are limited to certain types of Fraud. We’re also seeing more unsupervised techniques being used as these do not rely on prior fraud case data so can be applied to a wider set of cases.  Another new area has been adaptivity. This is a model that adapts over time depending on operational feedback from the analysts. Again this is not new but you really need to balance the impact of this new information compared to how the model is currently working and so is very challenging. As long as you can maintain a sufficient degree of explainability you can ensure the process is sufficiently well governed.  There has been a significant move to cloud-based technologies where companies can reduce their implementation and maintenance costs. We are just about to release our new Falcon X platform, which is a cloud-based fraud platform, that will allow clients to use all the FICO capabilities but also allow them to develop their own analytics as well.  I think potentially the biggest change will be the progressive adoption of biometric authentication. SCA is a requirement for all high-value transactions in PSD2 and this requires two-factor authentication from inherence, ownership and knowledge: so something you are, something you have or something you know. I think biometrics will start to play a big role in authentication and, hopefully, will provide much greater identity security.  Another trend I think we may see is the growth of digital IDs. There is already a well-advanced program in the Nordics called BankID and the concept of a digital ID seems inevitable at some point.  Derek spoke to Senior Consultant, Rosalind Madge. Get in touch with Rosalind or take a look at our latest job opportunities here.

“It’s A Responsibility For Us All” Derek Dempsey On The Fraud Industry: Part One

Derek is a Director of Fraud Analytics for leading fraud analytics software provider, FICO. With a background in Philosophy, he is passionate about the application of advanced analytics in furthering the Fraud industry. I recently met with him to discuss the latest Fraud trends, tools and challenges for the industry. Fraud is an ever changing landscape. What trends do you anticipate for the next 12 months and beyond?  It is ever-changing indeed. As other routes are shut down, we will see new Fraud attacks that reflect the changing payments landscape and the continuing shift to digital, mobile and the introduction of new players due to PSD2. For example, we’ve seen a significant shift in card Fraud following the introduction of chip and pin towards card not present or ID Theft and Application Fraud. We’re also seeing Fraudsters using AI to mount ever-more sophisticated attacks.  From a Fraud Detection perspective, this has led to a convergence of Fraud teams towards a more holistic financial crime approach, as well as increasing use of AI techniques alongside requirements for greater explainability.  What are the biggest risk areas for businesses to be aware of?  I’d say one of the main areas is the risk of data breach through hacking and internal leaking.  In terms of cyberattacks, companies may feel that they can address this fairly readily. However, they need to be vigilant as hackers have some very sophisticated techniques at their disposal. FICO have recently introduced some of our AI fraud techniques into the cybersecurity domain to combat this.   However, internal leaking probably causes bigger issues. This is more often due to social engineering than a malicious internal leak but these types of breach are difficult to detect. You need an additional level of control to detect unusual, but permitted, activity and this is challenging.   Financial Service organisations also need to be aware of risk areas associated with new products and services. The proliferation of mobile payments and new account and payment service providers in the new PSD2 ecosystem marks another shift in payment services and this will bring in many new players. However, new products tend to be targeted by professional fraudsters.  So while we all like the greater ease and convenience, anti-Fraud measures need to keep on top of this.  For aspiring Fraud-fighters, what skills do you think are key to being successful in the industry?  It varies really. I got into this because I’d previously been a mathematics lecturer and then did a Master’s in AI and Cognitive Science. Fraud was, and remains, one of the best areas to apply these skills and techniques. Certainly it helps to have a Mathematical or Statistical background, but ultimately a problem-solving mindset is what really matters.  The modern-day Data Scientist needs to be equipped with a range of technical skills to be effective, so it is useful to understand Big Data technologies such as Hadoop and Spark and how to interact with cloud-based services. Python and R have become the key analytical programming languages. Visualisation is also important so its useful to have skills in this as well.  Soft skills are probably not the most important when it comes to Fraud Analytics but communication skills are essential - you need to work in teams and be able to ask questions and provide answers to others. Primarily, you need the ability to interrogate your Data, understand what it actually represents, understand its source and its reliability. And you need to do all this whilst keeping in mind your business objectives. It's well known that Fraudsters are sharing their approaches, so why is the industry not?  There are examples of sharing in industry. In the UK we have CIFAS which is one of the leading organisations for Data sharing and this provides a great service to its affiliated businesses. We have the IFB and other organisations that are based on sharing Data. The introduction of cloud-based technologies should encourage companies to share more and FICO have invested heavily in a cloud-based strategy. The next generation of FICO's flagship Falcon fraud product, Falcon X, is a flexible cloud-based, platform solution.  However, a lot of information is currently held by the commercial sector which limits how much sharing can be done. There are many companies who provide specialised Data on email addresses, devices, IPs but all of this is under a commercial umbrella and companies do need to protect assets that they have built up over many years of research.  But most businesses do support sharing activity and see that that it’s to their benefit and there is definitely a willingness there.  Personally, I would like to see more sharing in terms of guidance, education and awareness to customers. This is a responsibility for all of us in the sector and we need to be more proactive than just leaving information sitting on a website. Companies should be under greater pressure to provide this awareness training and, if they do, I would predict a significant reduction in certain types of fraud.  There were a string of high profile Data breaches in the news last year such as Facebook and Carphone Warehouse. Do you think businesses are doing enough to protect customers? I don't think so. Obviously this something we take this very seriously and, for us, most of the Data we use is anonymised so we already minimise the risk. I know that banks are investing very heavily in this and being proactive as, more than anything, there’s a huge reputational risk to a large-scale Data breach. Other sectors probably need to do more however and all sectors can improve. Hopefully GDPR will make a big difference within the EU. There are large fines for failing to take adequate measures. Other countries are adopting similar legislation and we’re seeing non-EU businesses embrace the same guidelines as well, so hopefully that will help.  If you could change one thing in the industry, what would it be?  I think increasing awareness and education would make a big difference. One company I worked with mounted a big customer campaign and it made a huge impact in driving down Fraud. I think this is an underrated area. I'm aware that the FCA and other industry bodies such as IFB do produce materials but I think much more could be done. It perhaps goes without saying that I also think that increased usage, and better usage, of Data and Advanced Analytics is crucially important to reducing levels of fraud. Derek spoke to Senior Consultant, Rosalind Madge. Get in touch with Rosalind or take a look at our latest job opportunities here.

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