2018 Top Five Data & Analytics News Stories

Joshua Carter our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 12/20/2018 9:13 AM
2018 has seen Big Data & Analytics come to the forefront on the public’s attention like never before. A series of scandals, new laws, and technological developments have opened up fresh conversations about who has access to our data, and what privacy really means in the 21st Century. 

In a year with a lot of news, it’s no surprise that some of the biggest stories have had a major impact on the Data & Analytics marketplace. As 2018 comes to a close, we’ve pulled together five of the biggest stories that have not only had a huge impact this year, but will continue to have repercussions in 2019 and beyond. 

#5. Apple Become the World’s First $1 Trillion Company


At the beginning of August, Apple became the first company to be valued at $1 Trillion. A result of the launch of their premium iPhone X, they beat rivals Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet to the milestone. Initial fears that the death of Steve Jobs in 2011 would stall the company’s growth proved to be unfounded, highlighting that product and brand still play the largest role in consumer loyalty. 

This achievement has raised the bar for what a tech company can achieve, and expect to see numerous others attempting to reach this level over the next decade. For an idea of what they’ll have to achieve, however, take a look at the New York Times’ visualisation of what a $1 Trillion value really means. 

#4. Google Walk Out Over Women’s Rights


Following the #MeToo movement coming to precedence in 2017, businesses are now being properly scrutinised for their treatment of women. From the gender pay gap, to cases of sexual harassment, people are demanding transparency and accountability. Within Data & Analytics, the protests at Google were the leading example. 

Allegations surrounding the company’s handling of claims of sexual misconduct led to staff around the world walking out. Looking for several key changes, in particular the end of forced arbitration, employees highlighted Google’s key mission statement of ‘Don’t Be Evil’. 

Diversity and equality will continue to take centre stage in the years to come, with smaller businesses likely to face similar amounts of scrutiny. We’ll be releasing our report on the state of Diversity in Data & Analytics in early 2019, so come back soon to get your copy.  

#3. The Crypto Crash


Having peaked at $19,783.06 in December ’17, 2018 saw Bitcoin, and numerous other cryptocurrencies, finally crash. Whilst this had been predicted for a while, it looks as though it may take some time for any of the currencies to gather any new momentum and regain stability. 

Tough new restrictions in China, one of the biggest countries for crypto, as well as ICO Ad bans on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram will limit the number of new and returning buyers. Furthermore, initial moves into the mainstream, such as Barclay’s crypto trading project, appear to have stalled. In contrast to the past few years, the future of crypto is no longer looking so bright. 

#2. GDPR Comes Into Play


Anyone who works with any form of data couldn’t miss the introduction of GDPR, as it became enforced in April this year. A complete rewrite of the rules for data protection, we’re only beginning to see its true impact, as the first UK enforcement finally arrives. 

Many industries are already feeling a more specific impact, however. In particular, those working in Ad Tech have found the new regulations to be frustratingly limiting to their capabilities. Despite these issues, this is far from the end of GDPR, as both the US and India look to introduce similar regulations in the not-too-distant future. 

#1. THE CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA SCANDAL


The biggest Data & Analytics story of the year is, undoubtedly, the Cambridge Analytica scandal. A watershed moment in the public’s perception of how their data is used, concern grew from privacy issues to potential large-scale election rigging. The resulting chaos has seen an immense amount of pressure on Facebook and, in particular, Mark Zuckerberg, who has been called in front of numerous governments.

Whilst the outcomes don’t appear to have ultimately been too dire for Facebook as a business, the consequences of the scandal will continue to be felt for a long time to come.  Data breaches now regularly make headline news and the way we scrutinise how companies use our data is forever changed. 

If you’re looking to make a big impact in 2019 and beyond, we may have a role for you. Check out our latest roles or get in touch with one of our specialist consultants. 

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A decade of data

A Decade of Data

Y2K was nearly 20 years ago. Remember when we were all worried about the massive changes that could mean; the preparations we made getting ready for the turn of the century? Ten years later, we scoffed at our worries and hopped on the Data bandwagon…some of us. Others are still trying to catch up but in recent years, most businesses have realised it isn’t a matter of “if” you should have a Data strategy and begin to build your team, it’s a matter of “if you don’t do it, you’ll be left behind.” As the year and the decade come to a close, we thought we’d take a look back and see some of the trends which have shaped a decade of digital transformation. And like everyone who takes a moment to look back and reflect, in our next article, we’ll take a look forward and see what surprises 2020 has in store. Data Trends Then and Now Still reeling from the financial crisis of 2008-2009, budget concerns were top of mind for many. The takeaway? Plan, and be flexible.  Other trends which began in 2010 still exist today, but the vocabulary has changed. And there are further changes still which impact our technologies today and in ways we may not have realized. Train and Retrain becomes Upskill and Reskill. In 2010, organisations were advised to train, and cross train their staff. Not much has changed in ten years as it’s just as important now. Only the vocabulary has changed. Now it’s upskill and reskill those employees with the skill and inclination to pivot into more Data-centric roles within your company.Colocation Concerns Give Rise to the Cloud. Astronomical real estate costs for Data centre space and colocation prices drove businesses to find another way to store and manage their Data. As Cloud Computing spread, it allowed companies to avoid costly IT infrastructures. Not only did this save money, but it also gave businesses the flexibility they needed. In addition to the benefits of enterprise level organisations, cloud computing levels the playing field for smaller businesses to get in on the game.Virtual in the Palm of Your Hand. Smartphones and apps offer project management of our businesses and personal lives from “what’s for dinner?” to “let’s schedule our next meeting.” Our smartphones are a one-stop shop for phone calls, text messages, video conferences, scheduling, communication with remote teams, online banking, bill pay, and more.Eco-friendly is not an option, it’s an imperative. Carbon-emissions and reduction plans were already abuzz within companies. Today, Data has evolved from LEED green building certification to massive advances and predictions on the climate crisis. Standards are set.Blockchain finds friends in finance, and beyond. Though it debuted in 2008 in the finance industry, it was quickly snapped up in every industry from manufacturing to retail to shipping; any business requiring a more organised supply chain.  Rise of Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers benefits beyond basic tasks. While this evokes fears for many in the workforce, there are benefits which is what’s driving things forward. While this is intended to streamline processes and avoid health risks in dangerous places like factories, there is still some cause for concern. However, some studies suggest people are happy to allow computers to take on mundane, routine, and menial tasks, freeing humans to think more creatively.  Getting Social Goes Online. Though platforms like Facebook and MySpace (yeah, remember MySpace?) were already available in 2010, the plethora of platforms today was a glimmer in our smartphones’ eye. No longer relegated to youth culture, social media has become one of the most important ways for leaders and corporations to communicate with people.  The Information Age has morphed into the 'Data Decade', with improvements across Data and Analytics, AI, and Machine Learning just to name a few. It’s enhancements within these spectrums which allow Data professionals to search and sort more quickly to provide the most useful Insights for their enterprises.   It’s estimated that in the next couple of years, 90% of companies will list information as critical and Analytics as essential to their business strategy. If you’re interested in Marketing & Insights, Robots and Automation, Big Data and Digital or Web Analytics, we may have a role for you. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

MARKETING INSIGHT AND THE CUSTOMER FEEDBACK LOOP

Marketing Insight And The Customer Feedback Loop

As the holidays approach, Marketers are focusing more than ever on User Experience (UX). They’re not only looking at what kind of product customers might want or need but how will it look and feel to them? If a product doesn’t have what you need or doesn’t function as appealingly as others, what good is it? Key elements such as aesthetics, usability, and ‘feel’ are integral to the user experience. Because these elements come from such seemingly disparate departments as Marketing and Developers, it’s important to figure out how to come together for the ultimate UX. After all, if today’s buyers buy experiences over tangible products, then ensuring the experience is important to bridging the gap between customers, marketers, and developers. This, when done right, helps to build and retain customer relationships; the foundations upon which business is built. Design User Experience with M&D By bringing marketers and developers (M&D) together, you create the opportunity for innovation. But there are some key elements to consider when designing UX and it follows four stages. Do your research. Identify needs, spending patterns, buying behaviours, and historical data to determine what it is customers desire. Find out what they want or need and give it to them. This is the role of the marketer backed by development.Gather the data. Using multiple touch points across multiple sources and channels, find what works. What product offers usability and determine how design choices can help to create a seamless experience for your customer.Design your idea and create a prototype. Brainstorm your design. What are its product features, user interface, and aesthetics? Does it look user friendly? Would you pick it up off the shelf? Why? What is it about the product that makes you want to have it? What problems can it solve for you?Time to Test it. Is your product user friendly? What are its useful functions? How does it look? Feel? Incorporate feedback to improve its performance, function, or aesthetic. What does your test market say? Would they buy it? Why or why not? Bridging the Gap with collaboration We can forget sometimes, lost in our jargon and our buzzwords, that it’s the customer who we hope will benefit from our product or service. Yet, traditionally, marketers gathered customer preferences and drove sales, while developers designed products based on those preferences. However, the two departments were often siloed and creativity, usability, function, and aesthetics either got overshadowed or underrepresented to varying degrees. Enter customer feedback an integral point of reference for all parties involved. Customers are at the heart of user experience and it’s their feedback which can inform the user experience. What better marketing insights than those straight from the customer? Working with Marketers and Developers, customers provide a crucial component to helping marketers understand market dynamics. On the flip side, customer feedback can help mitigate risk or issues down the road by providing solutions and helping to resolve problems. the impact on Product Development By conducting user experience testing, marketers and developers can determine if a product is a good fit for customer needs. At the same time, they may identify issues to be resolved which can be learned of in real-time for a better user experience once the product is launched. Each has their role to play in designing the user experience and contributing to market insights for more informed business decisions.  These include: Marketers are part of the design experience from conception to inception. They are responsible for gathering the data to identify problem areas, working with Developers to create a product or service to solve a problem, and gathering data from the customer. Do they like this product? Why? What pain points does it serve? And how can it be made better or improved? Developers are the designers. They must take the information the marketers have collected and try to make the product into something functional and aesthetically-pleasing. Though they operate more at the back-end, they too much collaborate with customers to capture issues and solve problems. Developers test the products, making improvements as needed. Each stage a constant in UX design.Customers offer invaluable data and metrics through their feedback and reviews. The insights they contain as the end user about using the product, revealing its challenges, and suggesting room for improvement, make this three-part collaboration the final link in the chain between marketers, developers, and customers when it comes to designing the ultimate user experience. If you’re interested in the relationship between insights and UX, we may have a role for you. Check out our current opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to learn more. 

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