Harnham 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.

Categories
169 Posts found

3 Ways Machine Learning Is Benefiting Your Healthcare

With Data-led roles leading the list in the World Economic Forum’s ‘Jobs of the Future’ report, it is no surprise that Data Science continues to be the main driving force behind a number of technological advancements. From the Natural Language Processing (NLP) that powers your Google Assistant, to Computer Vision identifying scanning pictures for specific objects and the Deep Learning techniques exploring the capability of computers to become “human”, innovation is everywhere.  It’s unsurprising, then, that the world of healthcare is fascinated by the possibilities Data Science can offer,  possibilities which could not only make your and my life better, but also save several thousands of lives around the world. To just scrape the surface, here are three examples of how Machine Learning (ML) techniques are being used to benefit our healthcare.  COMPUTER VISION FOR IMAGING DIAGNOSTICS  Have you ever had a broken leg or arm and saw a x-ray scan of your fracture? Can you remember how the doctor described the kind of fracture to you and explained where exactly you can see it in the picture? The same thing that your doctor did a few years ago, can now be done by an algorithm that will identify the type of fracture, and provide insights into how you should treat it. And it’s not just fractures; Google's AI DeepMind can spot breast cancer as well as your radiologist. By feeding a Machine Learning model the mammograms of 76,000 British women, Google’s engineers taught the system to spot breast cancer in a screen scan. The result? A system as accurate as any radiologist.  We‘ve already reached the point where Machine Learning and AI can no longer just outsmart us at a board game, but can benefit our everyday lives, including in as sensitive use-cases as the healthcare industry. NLP AS YOUR PERSONAL HEALTH ASSISTANT  When we go to our GP, we go to see someone with a medical education and clinical understanding who can evaluate our health problems. We go there because we trust in the education of this person and their ability to give us the best information possible. However, thanks to the rise of the internet, we’ve turned to search engines and WebMD to self-diagnose online, often reading blogs and forums that will convince us we have cancer instead of a common cold.  Fortunately, technology has advanced to the point where it can assist with an on-the-spot (much more accurate) evaluation of your medical condition. By conversing with an AI, like the one from Babylon Health, we can gain insights into possible health problem, define the next steps we need to take and know whether or not we need to see a doctor in person.  There’s no need to wait for opening times or to sit bored in a waiting room. Easy access from your phone democratises the process and advice can be received by anyone, at any time.    DEEP LEARNING DRAWS CONCLUSIONS BETWEEN MEDICAL STUDIES Despite their extensive qualifications, even medical researchers can feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of Insights and Data that are gathered around the world in hospitals, labs, and across various studies. No wonder it’s not uncommon for important Insights and Data to get forgotten in the mix. Once again, Machine Learning can help us out. Instead of getting lost in a sea of medical data, ML algorithms can dig deep and find the information medical researchers really need. By efficiently sifting a through vast amounts of medical data, combining certain datasets and providing insights, ML sources ways for treatments to be improved, medicines to be altered, and, as a result, can save lives. And this is only the beginning. As Machine Learning continues to improve we can expect huge advances in the following years, from robotic surgery to automated hospitals and beyond. If you’re an expert in Machine Learning, we may have a job for you. Take a look at our latest opportunities of get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

Diversity In Data: An Overview Of Our Berlin Meet-Up

We started the year off right at Harnham Berlin, following the launch of our first ever European “State of Diversity Report” and working in collaboration with Smava to host an amazing event with three inspiring speakers on the topic. Our second event in Berlin, we wanted to continue with our mission to create a different type of tech meetup, moving away from purely technical discussions and focussing on important non-technical subjects within Data & Analytics and Recruitment. With Diversity & Inclusion more important than ever for both businesses and individuals, we wanted to do our bit to contribute to the discussion and talk about how the industry can move forward. As we were full on the day, and many of those who wanted to attend were unable to make it, I just wanted to put together a short piece on some of the highlights. Here are some of the top points covered on the day: Harnham’s State of Diversity Report David Webb – PrincipAL Consultant | Harnham As industry leaders, we feel it’s our responsibility to share our knowledge with businesses as individuals across the world of Data & Analytics. Alongside our annual Salary Guide, our Diversity report allows us to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the market and, in this presentation, we discussed the state of D&I in Europe and Germany specifically. Research has showed time and again that a diverse workforce drives profitability & increases staff satisfaction, so is it really surprising that having many people from different backgrounds can offer a company a broader range of solutions?Our report surveyed over 3,000 people and shows that not only can you increase profitability and improve staff satisfaction, a full TWO THIRDS of job seekers consider Diversity to be an important factor when analysing a job offer (which Bar Schwartz takes a closer look at during her talk).With a German workforce that’s only 25% female, there is still plenty of work to do in order to achieve greater equality. If you’d like a copy of the full report and want to talk through some of our findings in more detail, please just get in touch.  Everyone speaks about D&I, not everyone is ready for it Bar Schwartz – Head of Engineering | Signavio Diversity is not an outcome of hiring people of different gender or colour; it is an outcome of seeking and accommodating different personalities at work.Integrating diversity to your workplace or team requires education on what diversity is, what personality is, and how people differ. It requires challenging our biases on what the right ways to do things are and what is perceived as good or bad.It has to be a top-down, inside-out solution that covers everything from culture to leadership, every individual, and even your structures and roles. Change can start small. Integrating different people into the hiring process (even if they just observe), exposes people to profiles of diverse people and may challenge your unconscious biases. You can read more of Bar’s thoughts on creating a Diverse workforce here.  How the brain asks for Inclusion, not Diversity Kirsten Brueckner – CMO | mobile.de Our brain asks for inclusion, not diversity. Why? Our brain is incredibly smart in being as efficient as possible. This means that 95% of our decision making is unconscious and 70% of it is influenced by emotions (and we are great in post-rationalising). Most of the time we are on autopilot based on past experiences and knowledge and we don't even know this. We mix past experiences and knowledge with the input we get and form our own version of reality, which is a challenge in communication.What does that tell us about diversity? It’s difficult as we can't be on autopilot if we want to make progress. We need to discard past experiences and question our current knowledge. There are some simple tricks that transform recognising diversity into seeing inclusion; search for similarities (you will always find some), broaden your experience, be consciously conscious and enjoy the ride while learning. How to better advocate for Diversity & Inclusion Anna Mikulinska – CTO | Enterroom Why is it urgent to act? Without exposing the bias in Data, we use the inequality which will become a part of the design of the modern world and this is only amplified by the use of technology.How should we approach D&I? With empathy, and by addressing all the possible doubts Diversity & Inclusion raises. For Managers and Investors to spend money on supporting Diversity & Inclusion we need to make sure they truly understand the value of becoming advocates on their own. It’s not enough to convince someone for five minutes, they in turn need to be able to a buy in from their managers and partners as well. It’s time we stop avoiding difficult questions, let’s address them upfront.Everyone can act, but what can be done? Not everyone has to get on stage or into a board room. We can support progression with D&I by:Creating a D&I friendly work environmentBringing up the topic during the interview process as a potential candidateMentoring a young person willing to enter the Tech world and sharing your story with themNot being silenced by the argument “let’s not do politics” We will be running more events throughout 2020 which are already being planned and hope to see you all there! If you would like any more information, would like to get involved, or if you’re looking for support with your Data & Analytics hiring process, get in touch with our team of expert consultants and we will be able to advise you on the best way forward.  You can download our European Diversity Report here, and our Salary Guide here. 

Dave Farmer Appointed New Harnham CEO

I am pleased to announce that Harnham have named David Farmer as our new CEO.  David has been with Harnham since its inception in 2006 and has most recently being serving as COO. With the new appointment, I will be moving into the position of Executive Chairman.  On the move, David says: “I am thrilled to move into this new position at such an exciting time for the company. Having been with the business since the start, I am well aware of Harnham’s potential, particularly as the Data & Analytics market continues to thrive. We have an extraordinary team of home-grown talent at Harnham and I am eager to see where we can take the business next.”   David understands Harnham better than anyone and has dedicated an incredible amount of time and effort towards the success of the business. I cannot think of anyone better to lead us through the next stage of our growth.  This comes at an exciting time for Harnham with Partners Mark Bremer and Sam Jones stepping up to lead the London and New York offices, respectively. Additionally, long-term team members Ross Henderson and Talitha Boitel-Gill have been named Associate Directors and will oversee the growth of various teams within the UK business.  The global leader in Data & Analytics recruitment, Harnham now comprises of 160 people across four offices globally. 

How NLP Is Redefining The Future Of Tech

How NLP Is Redefining The Future Of Tech

During the last half of the past decade the importance of Data reached a level at which it was coined “the new oil”. This was indicative of a shift in the practices of individuals and businesses, highlighting how they now rely on something which isn’t measurable in gallons but in bytes. However,  because we can’t physically see the Data we generate, gather and store, its easy to lose our connection to it.  This is where NLP is comes into play. With the purpose of helping computers understand our languages, NLP (Natural Language Processing) gained an increased importance over the last couple of years. But, more than teaching a computer how to speak, NLP can make sense of patterns within a text, from finding the stylistic devices of a piece of literature, to understanding the sentiment behind it.  So, with NLP set to become even more prevalent over the next decade, here are some of the ways in which it’s already being put to use:  EXTRACTION Like an advanced version of using Ctrl + F to search a document, NLP can instantly skim through texts and extract the most important information. Not only that, but NLP algorithms are able to find connections between text passages and can generate statistics related to them. Which leads me to my next example: TEXT CLASSIFICATION  This is fairly self-explanatory: NLP algorithms can parameters to categorise texts into certain categories. You’ll find this used frequently in the insurance industry, where businesses use NLP to organise their contracts and categorise them the same way newspapers categorise their articles into different subcategories. And, closer to home, it’s similar algorithms that keep your inbox free from spam, automatically detecting patterns which are heavily used by spammers. But NLP does more than just look for key words, it can understand the meaning behind them:  SENTIMENT ANALYSIS Sentiment Analysis takes the above understanding and classification and applies a knowledge of subtext, particularly when it comes to getting an indication of customer satisfaction.  For example, Deutsche Bahn are using Sentiment Analysis to find out why people are unhappy with their experience whilst Amazon are using it to keep tabs on the customer service levels of their sellers. Indeed, Facebook have taken this one step further and, rather than just tracking satisfaction levels, they are examining how users are organising hate groups and using the data collected to try and prevent them mobilising.  With the advancement of Machine Learning and technological developments like quantum computing, this decade could see NLP’s understanding  reach a whole level, becoming omnipresent and even more immersed in our daily lives: PERSONAL AI ASSISTANTS The popularity of using personal AI-based assistants is growing thanks to Alexa and Google Assistant (Siri & Cortana not so much, sorry). People are getting used to talking to their phones and smart devices in order to set alarms, create reminders or even book haircuts.  And, as we continue to use these personal assistants more and more, we’ll need them to understand us better and more accurately. After decades of using generic text- or click inputs to make a computer execute our commands, this decade our interactions with computers need to involve into a more “natural” way of communicating. But these advances are not just limited to voice technologies. Talking and texting with machines, the way we would with friends, is increasingly realistic thanks to advances in NLP: CHATBOTS Since companies have realised that they can answer most generic inquiries using an algorithm, the use of chatbots has increased tenfold.  Not only do these save on the need to employee customer service staff, but many are now so realistic and conversational that many customers do not realise that they are engaging with an algorithm.  Plus, the ability to understand what is meant, even when it is not said in as many words, means that NLP can offer a service that is akin to what any individual can.  If you’re interested in using NLP to fuel the next generation of technical advancements, we may have a role for you. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of expert consultants to find out more. 

Harnham Launch 2020 Data & Analytics Salary Survey

Harnham Launch 2020 Data & Analytics Salary Survey

I'm excited to announce the launch of our 9th annual Salary Survey.  Covering salaries, diversity, benefits and technologies, our published Salary Guide is known for reflecting and driving trends within the Data & Analytics industry. As ever, we can't put together our guide without your input, so we are extremely grateful to everyone who is able to take part.  This year, one participant will win a £500 Amazon Voucher (or an equivalent amount in your local currency). You can read all the terms and conditions for this here.  The survey takes around 10 minutes and we would love to hear your thoughts. All submissions are 100% confidential and will only be used to provide an overview of the industry as a whole.  You can choose the survey relevant to you below: UK Survey US Survey EU/EEA Survey In the meantime, you can download a copy of last year's completed Salary Guide here.  We look forward to sharing our latest results with you later in the year. 

Why Data Analysts Should Consider Consultancies

Why Data Analysts Should Consider Consultancies

Over the past decade, the world of Data & Analytics has seen consistent growth in the number of consultancies around, particularly throughout the Nordics. Naturally, the household names, the so called “Big Four”, dominate the industry, but an influx of more niche and targeted consultancies are starting to change the shape of the market.  With new technologies and a never-ending stream of Data challenging businesses, it should be no surprise that many are turning to consultancies for help. And with this increase in demand, follows a need for top talent. But, with so many potential options out there, why should Candidates look to move away from client-side?  THEY’RE INVESTING The Data & Analytics industry is booming, despite the fact that the demand for talent is significantly higher than the supply. As a result of this, a lot of the biggest consultancies are now trying to gain a foothold in this area of the market, investing money into building out their Data teams.   However, they’re facing competition from a number of emerging niche consultancies with direct focus on Data, or even more specific expertise, such as Cloud computing. As a result, consultancies are putting a lot of time and resource towards getting the best people and securing the highest level of competencies. Not only does this put candidates in a strong position, but also means that the majority of consultants are working in environments surrounded by a very high level of expertise.  THEY’RE FEELING ‘THE YOUTHQUAKE’ Consultancies generally have a very strong reputation and often feature highly on graduating students’ lists of preferred employers. In Norway, in the list for most attractive companies amongst students, three consultancies featured in the top ten. The promise of exciting projects, a fast paced environment, fast career progression and adaptability continue to draw the best young talent around.  Interestingly, however, in neighbouring Sweden the list is drastically different, with no consultancies featuring. In fact, in the Swedish list, we see a greater emphasis on home-grown companies with Spotify, IKEA and Volvo all featuring. Potentially this is because Norway lacks tech giants, and world dominating furniture companies, and instead is home to Equinor, Telenor and Aker Solutions.  EXPOSURE, EXPOSURE, EXPOSURE There’s no denying that success at a consultancy relies on a lot of hard work. But, with that, comes a number of benefits and working at one is a great way to get a lot of experience, quickly. Those early on in their careers in a consultancy will frequently face different projects, and will gain a lot of exposure to different situations and problems. Consultants also get hands-on experience in dealing with stakeholders, both internal and external, and, as a result, get to develop skills in explaining their findings to those who are non-Data literate.   They’re also, often, prestigious and highly sought-after places to work at and, with that, comes a level of status and renown that looks great on a CV. Plus, the fact that they’re home to a lot of top talent makes consultancies great places to form a strong network of fellow Data Analysts.  THERE’S SPACE TO GROW From working with a number of consultancies, it’s a abundantly clear that they offer great opportunities for internal growth. It’s not unusual for a Graduate Consultant to build a career and climb the ranks, gaining more and more responsibility as they advance.  Plus, as I mentioned above, consultancies also provide lots of opportunities for your long-term career, given the hands-on skills Consultants develop in technological competence alongside stakeholder and client. Companies like people with consultant backgrounds on their CVs as it highlights exposure to and number of different projects and experience in stakeholder management.  If you’re looking to take the next step in your career, and think a consultancy might be the right place for you to go, Harnham can help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

What Will Happen In The World Of Data & Analytics In 2020?

What Will Happen In The World Of Data & Analytics In 2020?

The New Year, and the new decade, have arrived. The past ten years saw Data move to the forefront of public conversation following a number of big leaks and controversies. But, realistically, the impact of the ease of access to a surplus Big Data has only just begun to be felt.  Whilst many are predicting what the world will look like by the end of the 2020s, discussing how far AI will have come and the consequences of automation on the job market, we’ve decided to look a little closer to home.  With that in mind, here are a few trends we expect to see over the next year.   ACCESS TO DATA SCIENCE WILL BECOME EASIER Data Scientists have traditionally been limited in number, a key group of individuals with PhDs, honed skills, and a vast understanding of Data & Analytics. However, with the advent of a number of new tools, more and more users will be able to perform Data Science tasks. However, many of the more sophisticated processes are still far from being replicated, so those currently working in this area shouldn’t be concerned. In fact, the more standard tasks that can be automated, the more time Data Scientists will have to experiment and innovate.  THE 5G EXPLOSION  Whilst there may have been a soft launch last year, the introduction of 5G will have a much more significant impact over the next year. With a flurry of compatible mobile devices around, and many more expected to come, we’re likely see 5G networks hit the mainstream.  In the world of Data, this is likely to have a huge impact on how businesses use the Cloud. Indeed, with mobile upload and download speeds set to be so fast, there is a chance that an online middle-system may no longer be as necessary as it once was.  THE RISE OF THE EDGE On the subject of the Cloud, it’s worth talking about Edge Computing. No, this has nothing to do with the pizza or the guitarist. Edge Computing has been a trend for a few years now, but, following an announcement from AWS, it looks set to become much more prevalent in 2020.  Concerned with moving processing away from the Cloud and close to the end-user, Edge Computing is already beginning to have an impact across a number of industries.  A NEED FOR AUGMENTED ANALYTICS It’s no surprise that the use of AI, Machine Learning and NLP is set to increase over the next year, so it shouldn’t come as a shock that Augmented Analytics are set to become more popular too.  The opportunities, and extra time, offered by using the automated decision making offered by Augmented Analytics are the perfect fit for the increasing number of organisations who find themselves with more Data than processing capabilities.  DATA WILL HELP FIGHT THE CLIMATE CRISIS  Whilst there is a fair argument that the amount of processing required by the world of Data & Analytics is detrimental to the climate, the benefits any insights can offer are likely to outweigh any negative impact.  Indeed, the UK government are already using Satellite Data to help reduce the impact of flooding, whilst Google’s EIE is being used to map carbon emissions with a view to better plan future cities. Given the recent, and tragic, bushfires in Australia, this is going to become an even more pressing issue over the next 12 months.  If you want to be at the forefront of the latest innovations in Data & 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 how we can help you. 

HOW AI AFFECTS US FROM JOURNALISM TO POLITICS

How AI Affects Us from Journalism to Politics

It’s been nearly 40 years since the War Games movie was released. Remember the computer voice, JOSHUA, who asked the infamous, “Would you like to play a game?”. The computer had been programmed to learn. You might call it a forerunner of Artificial Intelligence (AI) today. Except AI is no longer the little boy who becomes a stand-in for a grieving family. Now, we’re no longer watching a movie about AI, we’re living in its times. But unlike a movie, we won’t find a solution after 90-minutes to two hours. Now, we must be cautious and pay attention or we will be leapfrogged by our own inventions. Can we change course at this late stage? As we enter a new decade, let’s take a look at some of the concerns and solutions posed by Amy Webb, author of The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity.  How Did We Get Here? As Christmas approaches, we are cajoled by memories and makers to buy back our past and cement our futures with things. Our desires for instant gratification keep us from planning for AI properly. While it can be fun to watch AI play against Chess champions or worrisome to watch it direct our buying decisions, we remain secure in that its not yet to its full potential. But elements such as facial recognition and realistic generation cause concern for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is what will happen when systems make our choices for us. From the Big 5 of Tech to your local commercial or paper, our minds are already often made up. And even when we’re presented with the truth, we may not even realise it because our AI capabilities have grown exponentially and continue to grow making us wonder…what if? So, What Can We Do? Businesses, Universities, and the Media all have a part to play. And in our image-centric world, the greatest of these is Media. Universities can blend technical skills with soft skills and blend in degrees such as philosophy, cultural anthropology, and microeconomics just to name a few. The blending of these skills can offer a more robust understanding of the world around us.  Businesses can work to ensure a more diverse staff and improve inclusion. Shareholders and investors can help by slowing down when considering investments in AI to allow for determining risk and bias before moving forward. And when it comes to the Media, there’s general agreement the public needs greater media literacy. While AI-focused accusations of deepfakes in news and on television abound, there is a greater concern in that much of what people believe to be fake, isn’t. So, the question becomes, how does the media generate trust in a public that no longer believes what it  reads, sees, or hears?  It’s this casting of doubt which is the greater danger. Why? Because it requires no technology at all. While it’s best to be informed, it can be tricky to navigate in today’s world. So, it’s up to not only the news consumers, but is up to researchers, journalists, and platforms to separate the wheat from the chaff. Or in this case, the real from the fake before the news reaches its audience. From Socrates who taught his students to question what they learned to the students of the 20th century expected to remember only what was needed for a test; we have come full circle. But at a unique time in our world, in which the questioning has not much to do with challenging ourselves but is at best used to sow distrust.  While tech companies like Facebook and Google have jumped on the bandwagon to expose fakes, others are moving into how to build trust. Again. At best, these startups offer comparisons of videos and images as the human eye works to discern the difference.  But while tech may be advancing technological wonders by leaps and bounds, there remains a solid grounding of the human element. Humans are needed as content moderators to dispel fiction from truth. And in the media? There’s a renewed focus on training journalists to fact check, detect, and verify their stories. The human element adds a layer of nuance machines can’t yet emulate. If you’re interested in AI, Big Data and Digital or Web Analytics, we may have a role for you. Take a look at our current opportunities, or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

How Has The Short Supply Of Data Analysts Impacted The Industry?

How Has The Short Supply of Data Analysts Impacted The Industry?

Is Data the world’s most valuable asset? Every business has it, most use it, and the best transform their businesses with it. It’s unsurprising, then, that there is now an enormous demand for Data Scientists, Data Engineers, and all forms of Analysts. Whilst many enterprises are now beginning to see the benefit of internal Data education, progress in upskilling remains slow. But how is this impacting the industry?  Education, Education, Education For starters, with the evolution of Data, we have also seen an evolution in education. Universities have long been our source for acquiring knowledge, skills, values and beliefs. As such, they continuously reinvent the way they educate, modernising and adapting to the present day. So, it will come as no surprise that we are seeing more and more Data focused programmes and degrees in top universities around the world, including in the Nordics.  This is a great way of organically growing Data talent and supplying businesses with freshly educated minds, and should, in the long term, help conquer the short supply of talent available. As there is little to no sign that Data will become irrelevant anytime soon, providing an education in this area makes sense. And, with so many training and educational opportunities now available, businesses looking to upskill their employees have the option to externally fund their development. A Fountain of Youth Another highly visible effect of this talent shortage, and something unique to the Data & Analytics industry, is a lack of experienced leaders. Whilst there definitely are great leaders within this space, all with plenty of knowledge, the young make-up of the market means that their experience is often limited. Having reported on the state of the industry in our Diversity Report, Harnham found that over 60% of the Data & Analytics community is aged between 25 and 34, with 35% aged between 35 and 44. In other words, those leading the industry are young, or at least younger than in many more established industries. There are some obvious reasons for this, as Data is a relatively new field, and its importance to businesses has only emerged somewhat recently. Of course, having young leadership does not imply ignorance or inadequacy, but simply highlights how young the industry is, and how those leading may still have plenty of room to develop.  Fast-Paced Progression Going hand-in hand with young management is, unsurprisingly, an industry that offers fast progression. From the moment you step out into the wild world of Data & Analytics, there are numerous opportunities to progress quickly into specialist and management roles. However, this has stabilised somewhat recently.  Our 2019 Salary Guide uncovered that it now typically takes 10 to 12 years to reach a Director/Head of position. Obviously these numbers are an average, with those in Digital Analytics progressing significantly faster than those in Risk Analytics, alongside natural variations depending on the sector and size of individual businesses.  What remains apparent is, with such a high demand for talent that’s in short supply, it is crucial that businesses can both recruit and retain the best individuals out there. By keeping the above in mind, and ensuring that education, progression and leadership opportunities are on each employee’s career path, enterprises stand a better chance of getting hold of, and keeping, the best people in the industry.  If you’re looking to get hold of the best employees in a talent-short market, or are looking to take the next step in your career, Harnham can help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

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. 

‘Tis The Season Of Data: Black Friday Is Here

‘Tis The Season Of Data: Black Friday Is Here

It’s that time of year again. Decorations are going up, the temperature is dropping daily, and the year’s biggest shopping weekend is upon us.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday may have started stateside, but they’re now a global phenomenon. This year, in the UK alone, shoppers are expended to spend £8.57 billion over the four-day weekend. But, for retailers, this mega-event means more than a cash injection. In the world of Data, insights gained from shopping and spending habits during this period can dictate their product and pricing strategies for the next twelve months.  So what is it, exactly, that we can stand to learn from the Black Friday weekend? THE GHOST OF BLACK FRIDAY PAST There are a few interesting takeaways from 2018’s Black Friday weekend that will likely impact what we see this year.  Firstly, and perhaps unsurprisingly given that it’s a few years since the event has become omnipresent, spending only increased about half as much as initially predicted. There are a number of reasons for this, but cynicism plays a central role. More and more, consumers are viewing Black Friday deals with an element of suspicion and questioning whether the discounts are as good as they’re promoted to be. This, combined with other major annual retail events, such as Amazon’s Prime Day, means that this weekend no longer has the clout it once did.  However, 2018 also saw marketers doing more to stand out against the competition. Many businesses have moved away from traditional in-your-face sales messaging and some are even limiting their Black Friday deals to subscribers and members. By taking this approach, their sales stand out from the mass market and can help maintain a level of exclusivity that could be jeopardised by excessive discounts. In addition to branding, marketers making the most of retargeting saw an even greater uplift in sale. Particularly when it came to the use of apps, those in the UK using retargeting saw a 50% larger revenue uplift than those who didn’t.  So, having reviewed last year’s Data; what should businesses be doing this year in order to stand out? GETTING BLACK FRIDAY-READY WITH DATA Businesses preparing for Black Friday need to take into account a number of considerations involving both Marketing and Pricing. For the latter, Data and Predictive Analytics play a huge role in determining what items should go on sale, and what their price should be.  Far from just being based on gut instinct or word-of-mouth, algorithms derived from Advanced Analytics inform Machine Learning models that determine what should be on sale, and for how much. These take into account not only how many of each discounted product need to be sold to produce the right ROI, but also what prices and sales should be for the rest of the year in order to make the sale financially viable.  In terms of Marketing, Deep Learning techniques can be used to accurately predict Customer Behaviour and purchases. These predictions can then reveal which customers are likely to spend the most over the weekend, and which are likely to make minimal purchases. Marketers can then, in the lead up to Black Friday, target relevant messaging to each audience whether it be “get all you Christmas shopping in our sale” or “treat yourself to a one-off item”. By carefully analysing the Data they have available and reviewing the successes and failures of their Black Friday events, businesses can generate greater customer loyalty and improve their sales year-round. If you’re looking to build out your Marketing Analytics team or take the next step in your career, we can help. 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. 

169 Posts found