A Decade of Data

Joshua Carter our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 12/3/2019 10:53 AM
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. 

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How Can Organisations Tap Into The Huge Pool Of Neurodiverse Data Talent?

Ensuring that our workplaces are thriving with a diverse range of talent is, rightly, a topic that many organisations are focussing on. Yet, for the most part, this dialogue is centred around gender, ethnicity, sexuality and perhaps even physical disability. It is fairly uncommon therefore to see close attention given to exploring the challenges surrounding neurodiversity in organisations around the globe. Generally speaking, the term neurodiversity encompasses autism, attention deficit disorders, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia and other neurological conditions. To hear a range of diverse viewpoints and perspectives is to contribute to an inclusive society and organisation. Leaving neurodiversity aside is no longer acceptable. Our research in the US highlights how 26 per cent of US adults have some form of disability, yet disabled individuals only account for 3.5 per cent of those working in Data & Analytics. As the global skills shortage worsens, it stands to reason that businesses will want to access this previously untapped talent pool. We know that in the UK, 56 per cent of organisations continue to experience skills shortages and in the US, two-thirds of employers hiring for full-time, permanent employees say they can’t find qualified talent to fill open jobs. An often-overlooked area of diversity is the impact a disability can have on an individual’s professional career. It’s no secret that all organisations would like to construct the best team – but are you doing enough to consider underrepresented talent? Creating a smooth recruitment and interview process One of the first barriers that neurodiverse candidates may encounter when seeking to enter an organisation is the recruitment and interview process. For these individuals, undergoing testing in this way puts pressure on communication skills, a tool that often allows us to better understand, connect and empathise with one another. When it comes to the recruitment process, the traditional in-person interview process — which assesses communication skills and personality fit — can be difficult to negotiate for neurodiverse candidates. In fact, this can be said to have been heightened by the pandemic too. The switch to virtual interviewing has added a new challenge to how neurodiverse candidates are able to participate in the process as miscommunication and interruptions come into the picture. For employers, tapping into the pool of data professionals with these invisible disabilities requires them to take the stress out of the interview and assessment process. It is critical to consider someone’s potential ability to do the job and the core skills that they have linking directly to the role on offer. Onboard a successful neurodiverse candidate efficiently Regardless of the size of an organisation, from global corporation to growing SME, they all share the same need to onboard new hires successfully and with limited disruption. It is this process that begins the relationship between an employee and an employer and although there will have been interactions through the recruitment process, it is the initial welcome into the organisation that will set the tone for the relationship moving forward. For neurodiverse employees this can be a daunting prospect; meeting new people while also familiarising themselves with a new environment and routine requires ongoing support and help from the employer. There are a number of ways that organisations can make this easier, from in-person or virtual meetings with smaller groups of the team to scheduled one-to-one chats with colleagues, the first few steps can be made more comfortable by promoting an inclusive culture. However, as there are such wide-ranging differences between neurodiverse conditions and individual requirements, employers need to implement policies that are tailored and highly individualised. Creating such policies and programmes can be complex and time-consuming, but it is critical to include your team in this. Ultimately it will boost your bottom line and the array of perspectives and views that are shared within the organisation. Retaining neurodiverse employees Neurodiverse candidates are capable, intelligent and have creative-thinking minds. To ensure their tenure within an organisation is lengthy and successful, we need to support these professionals and equip them with the tools and support they need to thrive. A standardised approach will not satisfy every need, and so it is important that every person in your organisation is accommodated as far as possible. The importance of this could not be clearer, as the BIMA Tech Inclusion & Diversity Report details how neurodivergent employees are more likely to be impacted by poor mental health (84 per cent against 49 per cent for neurotypical workers). This suggests that beyond attracting neurodiverse talent into the organisation, employers need to focus on the quality of the experience within the team. For example, take the time to book in regular meetings between the employee and their line manager. This will ensure that projects run smoothly, and any concerns or questions can be raised in a controlled environment. Listen to your team and their lived experiences to make informed and accurate plans to facilitate their growth within the team. After all, each employee brings a set of unique skills to a company. As more organisations realise the benefits of hiring neurodivergent candidates into their teams, employers have to act quickly to make routes into the business as accessible as possible. Ultimately, hiring neurodiverse people makes complete business sense. We know that diverse teams perform better, so now is the time to step up and tap into the huge pool of neurodiverse data talent. If you’re in the world of Data & Analytics and looking to take a step up or find the next member of your team, we can help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more.

Weekly News Digest: 5th - 9th April 2021

This is Harnham’s weekly news digest, the place to come for a quick breakdown of the week’s top news stories from the world of Data & Analytics.    The Drum: How data visualisation turns marketing metrics into business intelligence Gathering data is just one part of a marketer’s job but having the ability to turn this data into something visually stunning, informative and easy to use is another skill completely.  Marketers, on the whole, are extremely visual learners along with around 65 per cent of the population. Most of us are able to absorb data more effectively if the information being presented to us is done in such a way that is pleasing to the eye. And this is why Data Visualisation exists; it allows us to group, organise and represent data sets in a way that allows us to analyse larger quantities of information, compare findings, spot patterns and extract meaningful insights from raw data. Not only does Data Visualisation allow us to learn more effectively, but we can then turn this understanding into much broader and deeper Business Intelligence.  To read more on the positives of Data Visualisation and how to translate this into meaningful Business Intelligence, click here.  ZDNet: The five Vs of customer data platforms According to ZDNet, Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are the hottest marketing technology today, offering companies a way to capture, unify, activate, and analyse customer data. Research done in 2020 by Salesforce showed that CDPs were among the highest priority investments for CMOs in 2021. If you’re planning to invest in a CDP this year, what five critical things do you need to think about when developing a successful strategy? ZDNet tells all.  Velocity - Your systems need to manage a high volume of data, coming in at various speeds.Variety - Every system has a slightly different main identifier or "source of truth," and the goal is to have one. This starts with being able to provision a universal information model, or schema, which can organize all of the differently labelled data into a common taxonomy. Veracity - Companies must ensure they can provision a single, persistent profile for every customer or account.Volume - It has been theorized that, in 2020, 1.7MB of data was created every second for every person on Earth. If you want to use those interactions to form the basis of your digital engagement strategy, you have to store them somewhere. Value - Once you have a clean, unified set of scaled data – now’s the time to think about how to derive value from it.  To learn more, read the full article here. Towards Data Science: How to Prepare for Business Case Interview Questions as a Data Scientist When you think of Data Science, the first thing that comes to mind will be technical knowledge of coding languages and fantastic statistical ability; softer skills such as communication and exceptional business knowledge may be overlooked. However, this is where many budding Data Scientists trip up. It is these softer skills and business acumen that sets brilliant candidates apart from others.  But how, when not usually taught at university, do you gather the business knowledge that will set you apart from the competition and showcase it in interview? Towards Data Science shares a few key pointers. Build a foundation – Brush up on your business basics. Research project management methodologies, organisational roles, tools, tech and metrics - all are crucial here. Company specifics – Research your company and its staff. Make sure your knowledge is tailored to the company you’re interviewing for. Products – This is where you’ll stand out above the rest if you get it right. The more you can know the ins and outs of products and metrics at the company, the more prepared you will be to answer business case questions. Read the full article here.  Harnham: Amped up Analytics: Google Analytics 4 Joshua Poore, one of our Senior Managers based in the US West division of Harnham, explores Google’s new and improved data insight capabilities, predominantly across consumer behaviours and preferences.  This exciting new feature of Google was born in the last quarter of 2020 and has now fully come into its infancy, and it’s an exciting time for Data & Analytics specialists across the globe. Joshua explores four key advantages of Google Analytics 4.0. Combined data and reporting - Rather than focusing on one property (web or app) at a time, this platform allows marketers to track a customer’s journey more holistically. A focus on anonymised data - By crafting a unified user journey centred around machine learning to fill in any gaps, marketers and businesses have a way to get the information they need without diving into personal data issues.Predictive metrics - Using Machine Learning to predict future transactions is a game changer for the platform. These predictive metrics for e-commerce sites on Google properties allow for targeted ads to visitors who seem most likely to make a purchase within one week of visiting the site. Machine Learning driven insights - GA4 explains it “has machine learning at its core to automatically surface helpful insights and gives you a complete understanding of your customers across devices and platforms.” Machine Learning-driven insights include details that elude human analysts.  To read Joshua’s full insights on GA4, click here.  We've loved seeing all the news from Data & Analytics in the past week, it’s a market full of exciting and dynamic opportunities. To learn more about our work in this space, get in touch with us at  info@harnham.com.   

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