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The Dialogue: IR35 - What You Need To Know

For the latest episode of The Dialogue, Associate Director Dan Lewis sat down with Andy Dagnall from Contract insurance specialists Kingsbridge to talk all thing IR35. Here's what we learnt: - Understanding your current workforce and who your contractors are should be the first step for any business looking into IR35.  - Businesses should be set up better now there has been a delay. Getting IR35 right in the current economic is so much more important than it was the first time round. - Blanket bans on contracting don't factor in the risks of projects not being completed and loss of talent.  - The Public Sector tried blanket bans and they didn't work. They've now bounced back by embracing a new way of working.   - There are online tools to help determine a contractor's status in regards to IR35 and Harnham have our own tool for this stage of the process.  - Collaboration will be key for both businesses and contractors. Working with third parties will help make the process easier.  - It is almost essential that contractors take out insurance to mitigate the risk of a wrongful determination.  - Status determination can change throughout a project. An inside determination at one stage of a project won't necessarily stay that way for the duration.  - Contractors will have more trust in businesses that have a robust process in place.  - Contractors can get a working practices review done now so they can approach recruiters or businesses with an understanding of where they will fall with IR35.  - The most important thing in a status determination is being honest.  - And much, much more.  You can watch the full conversation below:

Is Contract Work For You?

Remote work. Working from home. Flexible options. Contract work. The opportunities are endless in every industry when it comes to ways to work, but for Data professionals, its benefits are expounded. Consider this. You’ve been in the Machine Learning vertical for a number of years, but your interests are drawn towards Robotics. How do you make the leap? How do you know it’s for you? What if you could ‘try before you buy’? If the current job climate has you reassessing where you are and where you want to be, you may want to think about contract work. It gives you the perfect opportunity to join a new project, lead a new project, or recharge yourself with new ideas from a different location. Three Benefits of Contract Work Demand – Data professionals are always in high demand, and those with the balance of technical and soft skills have an even higher Steady Pay - Steady daily, weekly, or monthly pay for a finite amount of time.Flexibility – While how we work has changed, there are still elements of flexibility to entice even the most flexible options.  The three options above may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things these days, but imagine the possibilities.  It may seem like the best option is to keep your head down and hold on tight, but let’s imagine a scenario. You’re facing a problem at work that you’ve been trying to solve for weeks or months. You can feel an answer forming, but there’s something blocking you. The problem needs to be solved, but it’s something you can take a break from. Vacation is out of the question. After all, where would you go? Now, let’s imagine there’s a company who needs someone with your expertise. It’s a different project. A different team. A completely new environment. They don’t need a full-time employee, just someone who can step in and see what the others can’t. Or someone who can step in and lead a team for project of a day, a month, 3-6 months or more.  You join the team and over time, you’re surprised to discover, the answer escaping you from your permanent company has found its way to you. It’s a win-win. You feel refreshed, recharged, and if you’ve done well, you now have a choice. Do you go back to your old company or do you join the new company you’ve been working with for the last few months? Three Things To Be Aware Of In Contract It is, by its very nature, not permanent.Your salary isn’t guaranteed or steady over the course of a year. Flexibility is a double-edged sword giving both contract workers and employers the opportunity to change course at the drop of a hat. Data professionals are not only in demand, but those who have been in the industry for five years or more have more options than most. You are the professionals who can move into Contract work to refresh the way you work, find yourself recharged, and ready for whatever may come your way. You’ve worked with global and local teams on a variety of projects. You’ve joined or lead teams outside your comfort zone. You’ve gotten to experience another vertical within your industry. Where will your next steps take you? If you're looking for your next role in Data & Analytics, Contract or otherwise, we may be able to help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

Is Computer Vision at the Core of the New Normal?

Computer Vision is one of the fastest growing markets in Data & Analytics. While it was on a trajectory prior to the pandemic, the needs we have now have amped up the role Computer Vision plays in our day-to-day lives and businesses who want to keep up or get ahead are paying attention.  Unexpected Businesses Using Computer Vision Some unusual players leaning on these technologies are grocery stores. While some have pivoted to pickup and delivery, others have remained stagnant with yesterday’s shopping habits changed only to individuals in store wearing masks. For those who made the leap to the "new normal", they’re using things like shelf sensors and Machine Learning to automate ordering and determine best placement of a product. Though retail stores are no stranger to video analytics, the rise of Deep Learning and AI offer a more rapid analysis of video for real-time threat assessment. Teaching the machine to watch for crowding, erratic movement, or potential conflict allows for quick reaction or proactive measures to stop a conflict in play. Yet, behind all this Machine Learning and Computer Vision elements are people. Real live humans. And it’s their new normal which is a strong part of the world’s new normal as most everyone shifts and remains online, working remotely. Behaviours are changing and many businesses have differentiated themselves from others by staying ahead of the game.        Five Ways Businesses Are Moving Forward in the New Normal Remote work is here to stay. A jump of 18% of remote working after the pandemic is expected to remain key to many businesses. And nearly three quarters of executives, plan to increase their remote workers. Key components of this new change will be to bring onboard those with strong digital collaboration skills, ability to manage virtually, and reassess how goals and objectives are to be decided. How will businesses keep remote employees engaged, enthused, and feel part of the team when they could be miles or countries apart?Gig Workers as Cost-Saving Measure. As employees move out of office and online, gig workers are a go-to for businesses hoping to move forward and keep costs low. Performance management systems will need to be re-evaluated. After all, if the idea is to keep costs low (read: overhead), then how does the debate about whether or not to offer benefits fit in to the mix?Definitions are Changing. Whether the definition includes ‘critical skills,’ ‘critical role,’ or something similar. What these meant once are changing. Now, the focus is on how to encourage, mentor, or coach employees in professional development skills which can open up a variety of opportunities versus one set path to one set role.Keeping Track Virtually. Though most businesses tend to follow the model of ‘productivity and performance’ over simply hours worked, some organisations passively track their remote workforce. This keeping track can include timeclock software virtually managed to computer usage to monitoring communications. Several benefits of data tracking in this manner could be a boon to HR Managers as it could help to understand employee engagement. But it’s a fine line to traverse.Organisational Redesign Done with Efficiency in Mind. As everything from products to people move online, it’s more important than ever to ensure things like logistics, supply chains, and workflows are designed with efficiency in mind. Computer Vision AI models can help take these systems to the next level as things like grocery shopping, retail, and legacy businesses find their business must go online or pivot in the new normal to survive. In our recently released 2020 Salary Guide we discuss each specialism. What’s working. What isn’t. And how businesses can hire and retain top talent to keep their projects on track and their businesses running smoothly.If you’re interested in Data & Technology, Risk or Digital Analytics, Life Sciences Analytics, Marketing & Insight, or Data Science, check out our current opportunities. Alternatively, you can contact one of our expert consultants if you’d like to learn more. 

Three Surprising Skillsets for Data Professionals

Data Scientists today must be more than the sum of their parts. Businesses who wish to move forward are looking for more industry-specific focus when searching for the right candidate.   Finding the right professional who not only writes code but can also speak to the Data once it’s analysed to business executives is becoming more important than ever. The title and skills required have expanded and the once ‘unicorn’ aspect of having both the technical and soft skills is no longer rare. It’s essential.  Data Professionals In Demand  As everyone moved online, many businesses sat up and took greater notice. Without a Data team today, it’s nearly impossible to conduct business as usual. Add in Machine Learning development and application, Deep Learning and Reinforcement Learning for AI, and Neural Network Programming to name a few, businesses need to have professionals in place who can conceive, develop, and implement these applications.   So, now that businesses can see the importance of having everything in one place, what are they looking for in a candidate?   Data Engineers and Data Architects are the most sought after. After all, these enterprises need to have professionals on board who can lay the foundation on which to build the Data first. While knowledge of technologies such as Python or Kubernetes is essential, talent with a twist of hybrid experience in Software Engineering is a boon for career advancement.  Niche skill sets within the applications of Machine Learning such as Reinforcement and Deep Learning are highly desired. Data professionals with an industry-specific focus are quickly becoming the go-to resource for many businesses. They need people who understand not only their business but also how properly processed Data can affect it.  Three Skillsets for a Post Pandemic World  While Data Literacy and Tech Savvy are probably the first skillsets which might come to mind, here are a few more which may not seem quite as obvious.  Critical Thinking and Leadership – With nearly everyone online, it will be imperative for professionals who can lead in a linear fashion. As the gig economy expands and teams become more fluid, different people will have the opportunity to lead at different times. The hierarchal structure is devolving to shared leadership opportunities in which everyone is allowed to shine. Collaboration will be key among remote teams around the world.  To that end, critical thinking and the ability to separate fact from fiction will be highly regarded. Objectivity will help businesses ensure the right business decisions are being made from an informed team.  Emotional Intelligence – EQ has risen into the list of soft skill requirements highly desired. Those self-aware individuals who cannot only express and control their emotions but be aware of others’ emotions may also find themselves in leadership positions. Their compassion and camaraderie within their teams can produce projects more effectively and efficiently. And with the majority of talent leaving jobs due to poor management, emotional intelligence may focus Hiring Managers on what to look for in leadership candidates outside their technical skills and seniority levels. Creativity & Innovation – It may seem as though there isn’t much place for Creativity and Innovation among AI, robotics, automation, Big Data, Data Science, and Data Technology. Yet, now, it’s more important than ever and it’s those same verticals which allow greater creativity. Consider the shift of car manufacturers to ventilator manufacturers or the apps which allow Telemedicine to exist in our world of social distancing. These are just a couple of examples of human ingenuity. People will always need dreamers, inventors, and creators to develop products and services to make life easier. In our recently released 2020 Salary Guide we discuss each specialism, what’s working and what isn’t. And how businesses can hire and retain top talent to keep their projects on track and their businesses running smoothly. If you’re interested in Data and Technology, Risk or Digital Analytics, Life Sciences Analytics, Marketing & Insight, Data Science, or Computer Vision, take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

The ‘New Normal’ Isn’t So New To Data & Analytics

Across the globe, the impact of COVID-19 has spread like wildfire and our sense of normality has been shaken, most likely for good. We’re seeing huge spikes of flexible working offerings, with many opting to work from home; a virtual world of online meetings; new diagnosable psychological conditions such as ‘Zoom fatigue’; the inability to stand any closer to our friends and colleagues than two metres; and real concerns for our jobs markets and our economy.  However, elements of our new world aren’t as unique as we probably think. The changes that the pandemic has made to many of our industries, their environments and attitudes especially, were beginning to take shape a few years before COVID-19 in the Data & Analytics space. Flexibility  Working remotely or from home is possible in the industry first and foremost because of well-established, high-functioning Cloud-based technologies. In Harnham’s most recent research, our 2020 UK Salary Guide, the top five technologies across the sphere are SQL, Python, SAS, Google Analytics and Excel.  With these systems already in place, the almost-overnight shift that the world saw from office-based work to a flexible model was already implemented across the Data & Analytics sector. Ahead of the pandemic, over half of Data & Analytics businesses stated that they had some sort of flexible working scheme in place; this year we saw this rocket to 84%.  While it may seem connected this growth is not a result of lockdown measures. Prior to COVID-19 rapidly changing measures in the UK, 83% of respondents were listed as having some form of flexible working, something which only increased by 2% during our post-COVID analysis. Job Security Of course, one big concern across the board was whether any of us would have a desk to go back to once things began to subside, with many holding onto their current roles for dear life. However, for Data & Analytics, changes in attitudes were not as drastic as people may expect. While less respondents felt ‘more secure’ in their role and slightly more felt ‘less secure’ than this time last year, the number who felt ‘about the same’ stayed almost identical. Even post-COVID, 77% felt ‘more’ or ‘as secure’ in the role, the same percentage as in our 2019 guide. Interlinked with this surprisingly good attitude towards job security is the atypical finding that, despite our economy and the jobs market as a whole, the Data & Analytics market will be more active than ever this year. Post-COVID less respondents felt happy in their current position and almost a third were actively seeking a new role. Confident in the industry as it still efficiently grinds it gears, employees are searching for more competitive salaries (17%) or a role with more career progression prospects (18%); 74% would happily leave their roles if something better came about within the industry, only 3 percentage points down from last year. The pandemic has undoubtedly changed our world for good, and for many the next year, two years and so on will be a period of having to adapt and flex to the employee, economic and industry changes to come. What is sure however, is that Data & Analytics is two steps ahead, and will look to continue to trail blaze over this turbulent time as an industry that has been adapting to the ‘New Normal’ long before any of us could have predicted we would need it.  If you're looking for more insights on the Data & Analytics, you can download our 2020 UK, EU, and US guides here.  If you're looking to take the next step in your career you can find all of our latest roles here or, if you're looking to hire in these uncertain times, get in touch with one of our expert consultants who will be happy to help. 

Life Science Analytics Lead the Way to a New Normal

The Life Science Analytics industry has always beaten to its own drum. But in the days of Covid-19, there’s a different feel and it’s one in which teams are coming together and candidates are staying longer in jobs where they feel connected and impactful.  As the drive for a vaccine and the virtually overnight demand for telemedicine and contactless care come to bear, this industry which once seemingly fell behind that of retail and banking has caught up. So, what can businesses like biotech, pharmaceutical, and other healthcare providers do to retain and keep top candidates? EXPAND AND GROW YOUR TEAM LOCALLY AND GLOBALLY Reskill and Upskill for Career Advancement - If you’re lucky enough to have retained top talent, re-consider tenure-based positions. Advance your great candidates based on performance, need, upskilling, or reskilling. You may already have someone on staff who can do the job you need done or have the potential. Let them. The world has been moving faster than it ever has in this year alone its jumped into warp speed.Consider Global Collaboration – While many professionals, in every industry are working from home these days, some simply can’t due to the nature of their business. In this case, the need to be in the lab. However, as the Life Sciences & Analytics industry leads the way in their approach to flexible hours and the available Data on COVID-19, for example, global collaborations allow teams to do their work without the need for lab access.In demand technical skills - Candidates skilled in Data gathering, algorithm development, and predictive modeling are in high demand as well as AutoML, NLP, and other Machine Learning solutions. In demand soft skills – As the impact of the above technical skills increase and offer proven solutions, it will be important to have Data professionals who cannot only manage the technical side of things, but who can also explain solutions to the nontechnical and business executives in plain language. Since the start of the year, we’ve seen a massive shift in the way we do business. While for some businesses, it was business as usual for the most part. For others, it completely reinvented others. Healthcare and Life Sciences are no exception. And in the healthcare industry, they’ve been stretched in ways unimaginable just last year. And have learned a new respect for numbers and accurate Data. Two things vital to moving forward. A NEW RESPECT FOR NUMBERS AND ACCURATE DATA This new respect for accurate numbers and Data will help teams align to predict new threats while tracking current ones. In other words, no one will be caught off guard next time as the Life Sciences and Healthcare industry prepare for a post pandemic transformation. And how will it impact the industry moving forward? Work from home policies, global teams, telemedicine, the demand for PPE and ventilators, even the demands of the financial side of healthcare have shifted. But with the right data, innovation, and improved efficiency, it’s a sure bet the industry won’t be caught unawares again. WELCOME TO THE NEW NORMAL Though every profession has been hard hit during the pandemic, it’s the healthcare industry which has seen an even greater shift in the need demands to be met, shifting priorities, and patient care delivery has gone online. By moving forward with telemedicine and other automated services, the revenue cycle of the industry, too, has seen a shift. Yet to maintain business continuity, they must close the revenue gap. And here’s where Life Science Analytics meets FinTech and InsurTech. All of these industries will need Data professionals who can speak code and translate it to the nontechnical. All will need professionals with skillsets in predictive modelling, automation, Machine Learning, AI, and more. Is it you they’re looking for?  If you’re interested in Data & Technology, Risk or Digital Analytics, Life Science Analytics, Marketing & Insight, or Data Science jobs we invite you to check out our current vacancies or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

Three Ways You Can Better Prepare for the Future of Work

From reusable planners to navigating Zoom meetings, the world of work has changed irrevocably. Though some businesses are hoping to return to the formal in-house model, many are opting to remain remote workplaces.  Data and web professionals have often worn a mix of hats between the two versions of work even taking breaks or making changes through contract work. The options open now, if structured well, could mean more productivity, safe environments for employees working from home rather than in house, and what may look like true work-life balance.  But what does this mean for the world of the Data professional? Isn’t their career path already pandemic proof? Though it depends on the need of the business, this path isn’t as limited as others might be. But as everything from the world of retail to legacy institutions like banking move online more permanently, opportunities are expanded.  TRANSFERABLE SKILLS ARE KING As more and more professionals seek new ground, transferable skills are more in demand than ever. Specifically, those soft skills of communication, working toward solutions with limited resources, and crafting creative solutions when working through seemingly impossible problems. How professionals handle these issues, pivot on a dime toward solutions in a swiftly changing environment, and the experience they bring with them from other backgrounds all play a role. A maturity level of professional experience far outweighs age or education. Businesses are looking for those who have not only studied toward their career, but who have experience to navigate any changes when the chips are down, and help the business stay on top of its game. BE ABLE TO NAVIGATE CHANGE Employees can be trained, upskilled, or reskilled when it comes to the technical aspects of their job. But what businesses need now are those professionals who can handle pressure well, understand the inner workings of organisations from a business perspective, and are customer-focused.  JOB HOPPING IS NO LONG TABOO  In recent years, if a resume showed more than a few jobs, it was deemed taboo. The professional was job hopping? Why? Was it the employee? The manager? Why couldn’t the employee stay in one place? Today, job hopping is no longer taboo. It’s expected. To keep things fresh from both the business and the employee perspective, changing jobs is part of the next normal. Sabbaticals, once the darling of academia, are finding their way into other professions as well. Renamed contract work, this short-term experience, can lead to permanent roles, or just a quick change for employees to recharge from their former roles.  This is the time to reassess, recharge, reskill, and upskill your way to success as a Data professional. The high demand and the skillset shortage is shrinking, but the demand remains and will continue to grow. So how will you structure your career path for the next normal? In the wake of work-from-home policies, remote working, and the shifting landscape of working outside the office, technology, and particularly biotechnology careers are prime opportunities to both gain increased knowledge in your chosen field or begin your career path.  If you’re interested in Big Data & Analytics or other Data professional opportunities, take a look at our latest jobs or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more.  

2020: The Year of the Data Engineer

Data Engineers are the architects of Data. They lay the foundation businesses use to collect, gather, store, and make Data usable. Each iteration of the Data as it moves along the pipeline is cleaned and analysed to be used by Data professionals for their reports and Machine Learning models. A ROLE IN HIGH DEMAND Even as businesses reopen, reassess, and for some, remain remote, the demand for Data Engineers is high. Computer applications, Data modelling, prediction modelling, Machine Learning, and more need Data professionals to lay the groundwork to help businesses benefit in today’s Data-driven culture. The word gets thrown around a bit, but when the majority of business has moved online, Data-driven is the name of the game. Having a Data plan, a Data team, and all aligned with your business strategy is imperative to the way business is done today. This type of innovation can offer insight for better business decisions, enhance customer engagement, and improve customer retention without missing a beat.  Without Data Engineers, Data Scientists can’t do their jobs. Understanding the amount of Data, the speed at which is delivered, and its variety need Engineers to create reliable and efficient systems. Like many Data professional jobs, even still in 2020, Data Engineers are in high demand. Yet a skills shortage remains. This has created an emerging field of professionals from other backgrounds who are looking to take on the role of Data Engineer and fill the gap. Whether by necessity or design, these individuals build and manage pipelines, automate projects, and see their projects through to the end result. CAREER OPPORTUNITIES OUTSIDE THE NORM As this growing trend emerges, it has created career opportunities for those with experience outside the normal channels of Data Engineering study. While it might involve individuals from backgrounds such as software Engineering, Databases, or something similarly IT-related, some businesses are upskilling their employees with talent. Rapid growth, reskilling, upskilling, and ever-constant changes still leave businesses with a shortage of Data Engineers to meet the demand. It’s critical to fill the gap for success. According to LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report, Data Engineering is listed in the top 10 of jobs experiencing growth. THREE STEPS TOWARDS BECOMING A DATA ENGINEER This is a vital role in today’s organisations. So, if you’re in the tech industry and want to take a deeper dive into Data as a Data Engineer, what steps can you take? This is a time like no other. There’s time to assess your goals, take online classes, and get hands on with projects. Though having a base of computer science, mathematics, or business-related degree is always a good start. Be well-versed in such popular programming languages such as SQL, Python, R, Hadoop, Spark, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).Prepare for an entry-level role once you have your bachelor’s degree.Consider additional education to stay ahead of the curve. This can include not only professional certifications, but higher education degrees as well. The more experience, hands-on as well as academic, you have the more in demand you’ll be as a Data Engineer. Data scientists might be the rockstars of Data, but Data Engineers set the stage. As business processes have shifted online, looking for your next job has become more daunting than ever before. If you’re looking for your next opportunity in Data, take a look at our current jobs or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

How To Hire With Video Interviews

Virtual interviewing may have erupted over the last few months but the trends are showing that this is something that is likely to last well beyond the remote reality that many people are facing. Virtual interviewing is not as easy as it seems, in fact we’ve found our clients asking us over and over again for advice on how to run an effective video interview process. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of our top tips for clients and hiring managers for a successful video interview:  1. DON’T FORGET THE PRE-INTERVIEW PREP Confirm: Just like you would confirm a face to face interview with an email with the right address, instruction of how to get there and what to expect – the same applies for virtual interviews. Ensure to email candidates in advance with a link, information about who they are meeting and, most importantly, what you expect from a dress code. One of candidates biggest areas of concern is usually about what to wear for a virtual interview, so setting this out clearly in an email is a great way to start the process off on the right foot.Do not forget to provide instructions for using the video conferencing platform. Whether it is zoom, skype, google hangouts or another – keep in mind the candidate may not be familiar with your platform of choice.  Test:  Make sure to log onto to the interview early to ensure your camera, microphone and set up works. Be sure to ensure that your image is clear and that the volume is adequate. It is likely that the candidate will do the same and will ensure that the first few minutes of the interview aren’t focused on the technical side of things and ‘can you hear/see me?’.  2. PROVIDE A CLEAR STRUCTURE Opening: A usual face to face interview provides opportunity for warming a candidate up, however this time there is no shaking of hands and asking about commute.Just because you are video interviewing does not mean therefore that icebreakers shouldn’t exist, consider still incorporating an icebreaker to put the candidate at ease.  Ease concerns: One of the biggest concerns that candidates have when video interviewing is that there is a lot more out of their control in comparison to sitting in a meeting room opposite your interviewer. To ease any worries that the candidate might have, and to create a great candidate experience, let them know that background noise is okay and not to panic if the connection drops out. It’s likely that the candidate will have done everything they can to stop both of these from occurring, but ultimately, they could happen and it’s important the candidate knows that this will not negatively affect their outcome.  Set the agenda: Once you are through the icebreaker and have eased concerns, make sure to set an agenda for the interview. Let the candidate know what to expect. For example, introduction, CV run through, competency questions, Q&A and end. End the interview the right way, finish up by telling the candidates about the next steps and the timescales that you expect for that.  3. PREPARE THE QUESTIONS IN ADVANCE Due to the nature of video interviews, you will find the experience quite different to what you were used to. Usually you would have the CV and question sheet in front of you on the table, or on a laptop and the candidate separate to that. This time, you will potentially have all of that information on one screen. Preparing for how to optimise your screen and information therefore is important so that you can focus more on the candidate.  Read up on the candidate: Complete your CV read through and background prior to the interview to ensure that you do not need to rely wholly on the CV to make sense of the candidate’s answers. Don’t try and wing it: Prepare your questions in advance, have the questions in front of you and use them to help you to keep the interview on track and ensure all your questions get answered.  4. BE AWARE THAT EYE CONTACT IS DIFFERENT One of the biggest issues that clients and candidates alike feedback to us is that the concept of eye contact when video interviewing has as slightly different meaning. Having real eye contact in a virtual interview is challenging, because it means that you are going to be looking at the camera and not at the candidate, which takes some adjusting to.  Top Tips: Train yourself to look at the camera when you are talking, as this will give the candidate more of that personal feeling.Avoid the temptation to gape at your image on the screen, or the candidate when  you are speaking. If possible, turn off your picture so that the only image that shows on the screen is that of the candidate – this avoids the very familiar desire to look at oneself.  5. AVOID DIGITAL DISTRACTIONS There’s only so much you can do to stop your child running into the room, or your partner forgetting you’re on an interview and heading to the fridge but you can control the digital interruptions. It is important that you give the candidate your full attention. If your entire process is virtual, these are the sole ways that the candidate has to judge whether this is the right opportunity for them – so remember that this is a key part of their experience. Turn off notifications: Interviewing on a computer means that you are more likely to be distracted by your emails, IM messages, we’d advise turning off your notifications for both emails and IMs and closing all unnecessary tabs. Turn your phone onto airplane mode or DND. Harnham are currently supporting our clients within the Data & Analytics space on running completely remote interview processes for candidates. If you're looking to hire we can help you optimise your process in order to get the best talent then get in touch with one of our expert consultants. 

How Web Analytics Can Help Grow Your Business

Six months ago, many businesses had big plans for the new year, and the new decade. Little did we know the year had big plans of its own. So, how can businesses put their best foot forward now? Web Analytics. Understanding your Web Analytics helps you understand your customers. And, as everything stays online for the foreseeable future, you’ll be better placed to understand what demographics and desires drove the customer to your site, how you and your business can improve, and you can ultimately grow your business. So, how can Web Analytics help you? Understand Where Your Customers Come From Enhance Their Experience. Consider how your visitors come to your site – phone, tablet, laptop – and how you can optimise your site to best suit these devices. When you understand their demographic – age, gender, interest, location – you can use this information to enhance their experience through your customer-driven business decisions.  Know What Your Best Content Is and How it Draws Visitors to Your Site Visitors, views, page actions, and more all tell your business how your site is performing and what people like see and read. For example, if you have a ‘best day’ or ‘most read’ tag, find out what it was people identified with, and do more of it. Keep things fresh. Curate Your Content with SEO in Mind When you know your visitors, you can use search engine optimisation (SEO) to gain better visibility, rank higher on search engines, create content focused on what customers want to know based on their demographics and interests. Track and Analyse Your Metrics Align Analytics with Your Business Strategy  By aligning your data, analytics, and business strategies, you’ll have a clear view of your mission, your business objectives and goals, and data-driven solutions to inform your business strategies. Trust Your Team to Make Informed Decisions from the Frontlines Standardise Processes and Tools Explain Clearly to Eliminate Roadblocks to Change  As businesses return to a new normal and begin to rebuild, leaders will want to reassess business models. Though ways of doing business are new for everyone, many consumers say they’ll continue to use digital channels into the future. Make AI and Web Analytics Resources a Priority Look For and Hire Talent from Unexpected Places This has been a time to reassess change in not only business practices, but careers. Distance and remote learning have provided opportunities for those interested in pursuing new paths to upskill themselves for future jobs. Or if you see a professional in your business with potential, this is also an ideal time to reskill those workers ready for a change. Offer training, classes, and more to help drive interest. Build Your Data Strategy More Aggressively Identify risk through an audit of your existing models at the operational, risk, and financial areas and keep a close eye using model-validation. Having this information can help your business to better inform your decisions and reassess your business practices from just a few years ago. Don’t get caught up in one form or another of Data. Be sure to include both external and internal Data in your audit. Having this information can help you decide which Data should be cleansed, what information should inform improvements, and how standardisation can help ensure your Web Analytics metrics keep your business running for the future. From stakeholders to business leaders to employees on the frontlines, everyone is learning at a rapid rate. Ensuring everyone is on the same page with an eye to processes and standardisation can help to position your business for scalability.  Much has changed from January to June, but if you’re ready for the new normal, we may have a role for you. If you’re interested in Big Data & Analytics or other Data professional opportunities, take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more.  

The Evolution Of CRM Marketing – A Q&A With Catherine Allan

We recently spoke to Catherine Allan, an Associate Director of CRM at Babylon health, a Digital healthcare service with a mission to put accessible and affordable health service into the hands of everyone.  After starting her career in journalism, Allan moved into Marketing, a seemingly natural transition given her copywriting experience. Given the transformation in technology and the use of Data within Marketing, she has seen the significant impact that it has had within the space.  Reflecting on what attracted her into CRM Marketing in the first place, she explains, “It’s that ability to really get to know the audience, what they look like. You have a very defined group of people that you can look at exactly how they are responding – you can get to know their likes, dislikes and respond to them in ways that you can engage them more. You can keep them working with or using your product or organisation”.  Initially working for Ten Lifestyle Group, her clients varied from travel businesses to large financial brands. Like many at the time, they had their traditional methods but, as would soon become a trend within the industry, they started to change things up. Allan expands, “We started experimenting with CRM with the members of our concierge to see if we could. How much better would those people respond to tailored communication over those who received a newsletter of generic stuff?”. Enter the use of Data to tailor CRM offerings. Their first application was to their travel clients, “If we knew someone had a skiing holiday versus a holiday in September one year, we would follow up the following year. Isn’t it time to pick a holiday?”. It seems natural now, but it signified that shift from the mass-communication to segmented customer profiles.  As Marketing teams became more Data-driven, however, customers had to get used to that change of communication. Allan remembers the shift well, “When I first started in CRM, it wasn’t personalised at all but I started to see that people got more used to you knowing their Data and using it. It became less freaky to show that you knew something about them. At the beginning, we were having to be careful about how much we evidenced that we knew, you couldn’t really say I know you’ve had a Ski Holiday. But over the course of the years people have started to expect that, almost like it would be weird if marketeers didn’t know that. The culture towards that use of Data and personalisation has changed”.   However, she explains, there is a limit, “With what people are expecting from your CRM, there is a scaling to how you present stuff. You don’t want to be creepy, you don’t want to overstep it by knowing too much”.  Now, moving into the health-tech space at Babylon, her work revolves around the products that they have on the market. Everything from applications that allow you to log your mood and sync your wearable tech, through to a health check function where you’re given a digital twin of your body. The use of Data within these products is, of course, on another level. The products produce Data-driven recommendations that are very specific to each users. She explains, “obviously in the Marketing team we don’t have access to people’s health records or any health information which they input into the app. So it’s about finding the right cadence to actually engage people with the product, as well as personalising using the Data we can see, such as demographics. Men and women have different health concerns and they differ for younger and older age groups.” Moving into the health space has opened up a different way of engaging with customers. Allan and her team were able to use their Data and produce newsletters that actually engaged their audience on a wider basis. She expands, “We found great success in sending regular newsletters just about health in general, people love to know how they compare to other people and they also want to know to be empowered to manage their own health”.  Naturally, a company like Babylon feel the pressures of a global pandemic in what their customers expect from them to say and do. This is exactly what Allan’s team are now focused on. “When the pandemic came to the UK, as a healthcare company the first thought for the Marketing team was how can we support our members? What can we offer which is unique to Babylon which will add value. The answer we came to was offering information, guides and videos verified by doctors to counteract all those false stories out there about COVID-19”.  Despite the technology to innovate, with things like interactive emails and unique content, there was still a need to strip things back. As Allan explains, “people are anxious, they are worried, they just want the right information, you’ve already got their attention”.  Her team was responsible for launching this new product to members and developing lifestyle communications, whilst also keeping the members engaged and updated. Naturally, the communication during the pandemic shifted, “We upped our newsletter frequency from twice a month to twice a week for the first three weeks of lockdown, then down to once a week, a cadence which we are still maintaining with no drop off in interest” What were the results of these changes? “Our open rates went up, our click through rates went up and our unsubscribes reduced, although they were very low to start with) We reduced sends to once a week when we felt that there was less to say, which I think was better than continuing to send more and becoming boring. Our results over the last 6 weeks have been off the charts averaging a 34% open rate across the whole base of subscribers vs the 24% we were averaging before.”  It’s clear that regardless of industry, from lifestyle to healthcare, the world of CRM has progressed. The information that we gather on customers is evolving, as is the way that we can speak to those customers too. One thing is clear however, from Allan’s experience, especially in the current circumstances, nothing takes away from a clear message.  If you’re looking for your next CRM role or to build out your team, Harnham may be able to help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

Marketing Analytics - Then, Now & In the Future: A Q&A with Sarah Nooravi

We recently spoke to Sarah Nooravi, an Analytics professional with a specialism in Marketing who was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Analytics.  Sarah found herself working in Analytics after being attracted to the culture, creativity and the opportunity to be challenged. Having spent the first four years of her career working within the Marketing space, she has seen a real transition in the way that Analytics and Data Science has informed Marketing decisioning.  “I started my career in a Marketing agency within the entertainment industry, at the time it was doing things that most of the entertainment industry hadn’t considered doing yet”.  At the start of her career she’d meet entertainment giants with advertising budgets of millions of dollars who were, at the time, making mostly gut decisions with how to approach campaigns. “It was common that I’d hear, ‘I think our audience is females over the age of 35 with a particular interest and we should just target them’” she expands.  However, agencies quickly recognised the need for something more Data-driven. Entertainment businesses were going too narrow and were misunderstanding their audiences. The next step was to embed into these businesses the insights from a greater variety of sources, including social media, and to introduce more testing. That translated into a better media buying strategy that could be continuously optimised. It was a big step forward in the utilisation of Data within this realm and its clear focus on ROI.  Suddenly, the market was changing, “There was a massive spike of agencies popping up and claiming to leverage Data Science and Machine Learning to provide better optimisations for entertainment companies, mobile gaming – you name it. There was a huge momentum shift from using these gut decisions to leveraging agencies that could prove that”.  What she saw next seemed only natural, with more agencies offering Data-driven optimisation, companies looked to develop this capability internally. Sarah elaborates; “Now I am seeing these companies starting to take ownership of their own media buying and bringing the Marketing and Data Science in-house”. This shift in-house has been propelled by the major players, companies like Facebook, Google and Nooravi’s own company, Snapchat, working directly with companies to help them optimise their campaigns. This shift has changed the landscape of Marketing Analytics, specifically within the advertising space. Sarah explains, “You no longer need an agency to optimise your, for example, Facebook campaigns, because Facebook will do it for you. They are minimising the number of people behind the campaigns. You give up a little of your company’s Data for a well optimised campaign and you don’t have to hire a media buyer. There is definitely a movement now to becoming more Data-driven. Companies are really leveraging A/B tests and also testing out different creatives”.  It is this change in strategy that is seemingly taking the Marketing Analytics challenge to the next level. With opportunities to pinpoint specific audiences, companies are using their Data to understand how to approach their content, take the opportunity to experiment, and to find out what it takes to resonate with their audience. Sarah has seen the potential of this first hand: “We are starting to see a lot of AR and VR. There are meaningful ways to engage with technology to connect with the world. Moving forward, content will have to become more engaging. People’s attention spans are becoming shorter and with each decision someone makes it is changing the direction of content in the future. There has been a massive shift from static images to video advertisement and, more recently, from video into interactive video like playable adverts. People want to engage with adverts in order to understand a company’s message”.  It is within this space that she sees a gap for the future of ROI positive advertising:  “The biggest issue that I find with the creative and the content is that the value add is missing. The resonance with the brand or company, their values and mission is what is missing. Analytics alone cannot fix that. You need to understand what the company stands for, people want to connect with brands because of what they stand for – whatever it is. Especially in a time like we are dealing with right now, a pandemic, advertising spending has gone down. However, maybe there is a way to properly message to people that would resonate. Not that you want them to buy your stuff but maybe right now is the perfect time to do outreach and to help people understand your brand”. The ability to understand and predict customer behaviour is evolving, but with that, so is the customer. Whereas at the moment, you can build out experiments, you can create models that will be able to, as Sarah explains, “in real-time decide whether a user’s behaviour is indicative of one that is going to churn” and then try and create offers to increase retention.   This is the challenge of the current analytics professional – our behaviours in a global pandemic have shifted consumers into a new world. Now working for Snap Inc, she sees the potential of this from a new perspective. Naturally, like most social media channels and communication technologies, they have seen an increase in usage over the last month.  “People are wanting to communicate more as we are forced to social distance. However, we are seeing different regions engaging a lot more heavily. For example, it's Ramadan right now, people want to share those moments with one another and at the moment the way that they are having to do that is changing”.  So, it will be a question for all those required to predict behaviours to determine how many of these new lines of communication, these new habits, will have evolved. Once people are out of quarantine, are they going to continue to utilise the apps, games, social channels in the same way that they are currently? It certainly is going to be something that many within the marketing analytics space will be trying to forecast.  If you’re looking to take your next step in Marketing Analytics, or are looking to build out your team, Harnham may be able to help.  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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