A Pick Of Our Top Data Stories From 2020

David Farmer our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 12/24/2020 10:21 AM

It has been a year packed with news and views. We’ve seen it all, from buzz words like ‘Big Data’ through to in-depth research about automation and machine learning; 2020 has showcased the rapidly changing pace of the Data & Analytics market.

In our increasingly data-driven world, the working landscape has been dramatically transformed as a result of the way in which the sector has scaled. We are more reliant now on data than ever before, as data and analytics have been supporting leaders to make difficult decisions, especially in a period of uncertainty. When you combine this continued growth with the impacts of the pandemic, it’s no surprise that the Data & Analytics market continues to be in the spotlight.

As a direct response to the pandemic, we’ve seen remarkable innovation and transformation across the sector. We have picked out a few of the most striking stories in data and analytics from the past year. Take a look below.

Google acquiring Dataform


At the end of the year, we saw Google Cloud acquire London-based start-up Dataform. As a business that has seen continued growth in their mission to make day-to-day business processes cheaper and simpler for organisations, Dataform was a significant scoop for the tech giant. However, this isn’t the first time this year that the global corporation has snapped up another data-based company.

Earlier in the year they also took on Business Intelligence platform Looker, in a bid to enhance its data analytics services for multi-cloud customers. That’s as well as Actifio and Cornerstone too. But what do these moves mean for the future capabilities of Google Cloud?

Using the strengthening data capabilities added by the series of acquisitions, there continues to be added functionality and accessibility to the cloud’s platform, allowing a range of services for individuals and businesses alike to be streamlined. All we can say is, watch this space.

Read the full article here.

Data startups securing more funding


In a year of highs and lows, it’s exciting to have seen a great range of data-focused startups securing much-needed funding, in some cases, repeatedly. 

Take Skyflow for example. The startup that helps companies to protect personal data raised $7.5 million early on in May, and in its latest round, secured an additional $17.5 billion. With plans to target specific markets such as finance and healthcare, (areas that are notorious for holding sensitive data) it seems the sky is the limit for this startup.

Disciplines within Data & Analytics are innovators, adapting to the needs of their customers and building up (and securely managing) datasets in a range of forms. It will be interesting to watch how these organisations scale in the next year, and how their teams of talent grow to propel them forward.

Read the full article here.

Accelerating the use of data & analytics across varying industries


In recent months that have been shrouded by uncertainty, what has been remarkable is the swift and progressive response of the Data & Analytics sector to the effects of the pandemic. In this report from Information Age, there is mention of the significant value add that data and analytics has brought to businesses in the past year.

We know that the adoption of more efficient technologies has been supported by the use of data across a range of industries. From retail, government and media, all the way through to healthcare, industries are expanding their use of data and analytics in meaningful ways.

Ultimately, the response to the pandemic has been sped up by the implementation of both data and technology. It is the convergence of these powerful tools that has streamlined processes, supported industries to crossover and innovate change, and provided some much-needed optimism and direction for concerned business owners. The transformative performance of our increasing use of data and technology means that, together, they can drive the most impactful changes, regardless of business size or sector.

Read the full article here.

There is no doubt that there has been a truly impressive range of news from the world of Data & Analytics this year. One thing that these stories share is that with this change comes great opportunity for engineers, analysts and data specialists to take on new roles in supporting organisations in their growth plans. We are certainly looking forward to what 2021 has in store for the sector.

The Data & Analytics market is one full of exciting and dynamic opportunities. To learn more about our work in this space, take a look at our latest roles or get in touch with us at info@harnham.com.

Related blog & news

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

Visit our Blogs & News portal or check out the related posts below.

Weekly News Digest - 11th-15th Jan 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 and analytics. KDNuggets: 20 core Data Science concepts for beginners The field of Data Science is one that continuously evolves. For Data Scientists, this means constantly learning and perfecting new skills, keeping up to date with crucial trends and filling knowledge gaps.  However, there are a core set of concepts that all Data Scientists will need to understand throughout their career, especially at the start. From Data Wrangling to Data Imputation, Reinforcement Learning to Evaluation Metrics, KDNuggets outlines 20 of the key basics needed.  A great article if you’re just starting out and want to grasp the essentials or, if you’re a bit further up the ladder and would appreciate a quick refresh.  Read more here.  FinExtra: 15 DevOps trends to watch in 2021 As a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no doubt that DevOps has come on leaps and bounds in the past year alone. FinExtra hears from a wide range of specialists within the sector, all of whom give their opinion on what 2021 holds for DevOps.  A few examples include: Nirav Chotai, Senior DevOps Engineer at Rakuten: “DataOps will definitely boom in 2021, and COVID might play a role in it. Due to COVID and WFH situation, consumption of digital content is skyrocket high which demands a new level of automation for self-scaling and self-healing systems to meet the growth and demand.” DevOps Architect at JFrog: “The "Sec'' part of DevSecOps will become more and more an integral part of the Software Development Lifecycle. A real security "shift left" approach will be the new norm.” CTO at International Technology Ventures: “Chaos Engineering will become an increasingly more important (and common) consideration in the DevOps planning discussions in more organizations.” Read the full article here.  Towards Data Science: 3 Simple Questions to Hone Python Skills for Beginners in 2021 Python is one of the most frequently used data languages within Data Science but for a new starter in the industry, it can be incredibly daunting. Leihua Yea, a PHD researcher at the University of California in Machine Learning and Data Science knows all too well how stressful can be to learn. He says: “Once, I struggled to figure out an easy level question on Leetcode and made no progress for hours!” In this piece for Towards Data Science, Yea gives junior Data Scientists three top pieces of advice to help master the basics of Python and level-up their skills. Find out what that advice is here.  ITWire: Enhancing customer experiences through better data management From the start of last year, businesses around the globe were pushed into a remote and digital way of working. This shift undoubtedly accelerated the use of the use of digital and data to keep their services as efficient and effective as possible.  Derak Cowan of Cohesity, the Information Technology company, talks with ITWire about the importance of the continued use of digital transformation and data post-pandemic, even after restrictions are relaxed and we move away from this overtly virtual world.  He says: “Business transformation is more than just a short-term tactic of buying software. If you want your business to thrive in the post-COVID age, it will need to place digital transformation at the heart of its business strategy and identify and overcome the roadblocks.” Read more about long-term digital transformation for your business here.  We've loved seeing all the news from Data and 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.

Seven Ways To Minimise Unconscious Bias In Your Recruitment Process

When it comes to the recruitment process, organisations will often take different approaches to securing their next hire. Yet, one challenge that remains the same across the board is the ubiquitous nature of unconscious bias. This typically means that individuals will favour those that look or think similarly to themselves. Not only is the potential for prejudice to arise an alarming issue here, but the impacts of unconscious bias can also have a detrimental effect on the hiring process, in both the short and long term. You could face missing out on a highly skilled and qualified candidate, as well as damaging opportunities for improving the diversity of the business. In order to address unconscious bias, organisations really need to take a moment to reflect and challenge their perceptions on the positive and the negative implications. Our own research demonstrates the opportunities of bolstering not only a diverse team in Data and Analytics, but an inclusive one too. Here are some core ways in which organisations can challenge and adapt their processes: Check your job descriptions It’s one of the simplest changes to make, but far too often overlooked. Many of us will use gender coded language without even realising it. It is therefore critical that all job descriptions are neutral, and that descriptive language is removed. Masculine-coded words such as ‘confident’ and ‘guru’ and feminine-coded words such as ‘understanding’ and ‘modest’ can really discourage individuals from applying for positions. Make use of panel-based interviews Over the past year, we’ve all become accustomed to a much more virtual way of working, which includes the recruitment process.  Our reliance on technology now plays an integral role in how we interview, test and hire candidates. When interviewing candidates, organisations should involve a range of different people (even if this is just in an observational role), as they may challenge your preconceptions and provide an alternative viewpoint. Instead of only involving the CEO and Managing Director, for example, make sure you have individuals from other departments and areas within the team sitting in too. Interviews should instead focus on skills-based tasks  In order to minimise the unconscious bias that permeates the recruitment process across industries, interviews need to focus on skills-based tasks. Importantly, hiring managers should be assessing the suitability for a role, so practical, skills-focused tasks are important in establishing this. Appoint an external inclusion agency If you’re stuck for where to start when it comes to improving the ways in which you plan and execute your hiring strategies, it could be worthwhile to seek support from an external agency or individual that specialises in inclusion. Their insights, experiences and knowledge will be able to support an organisation to ensure that their hiring process minimises the impacts of unconscious bias. Facilitating discussions and training In the same way that liaising with external experts can support an organisation, so to can introducing training sessions. Stamping out unconscious bias requires us all to challenge our ways of thinking to create an inclusive culture for all. Regardless of whether this is during the recruitment process, through onboarding or once an individual is working within the business, facilitating discussions and training can help. It should be noted though, that generalised training to minimise unconscious bias training isn’t always effective, so this should be assessed and planned according to relevant objectives and goals. Advertise roles through different channels To ensure that you are reaching a diverse pool of talent, hiring managers should ensure that positions are advertised across a range of different platforms. It may be the case that highly skilled professionals from different backgrounds do not all source new positions through the same websites or streams. Improving this access will ensure that you are not selecting candidates from the same pool of talent.  Set specific diversity and inclusion goals It’s crucial to remember that taking steps to minimise and remove these biases is just one part of a much bigger challenge that organisations are facing in order to action change. Firms need to assess their long-term diversity and inclusion goals in order to ensure that removing biases is part of an embedded strategy. Internal strategies must be reviewed and assessed in order to ensure that the approach to the recruitment process provides equal and fair access and opportunities for all to thrive. In the Data and Analytics sector, it’s key for leaders to take action to mandate some core strategies to engage and include a diverse team of talent. If you're looking to make your next hire, or are searching role yourself, get in touch with our expert consultants or take a look at our latest Data & Analytics jobs here. 

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