Data Insight Leaders 2017 Day Two
October 19, 2017

Data Insight Leaders 2017 Day Two – the final countdown

By Paul Laughlin

This is continuing my report from Data Insight Leaders 2017 Day Two. That is, day two of a useful Summit (that I’m chairing), held in Barcelona. In this post I summarise this final day of an enjoyable event.

I’m not just saying it’s good because I chaired this conference, honest! Talking to the actual data insight leaders who attended (and made up most of our audience), they agreed it was a winner.

One of the reasons for that, in my opinion, is down to those delegates themselves.

Somehow, this event has managed to avoid filling the hall with consultants & vendors. The majority of this enthusiastic audience were actual practitioner leaders.

So, the very insight leadership community this blog exists to serve.

Learning from Data Insight Leaders 2017 Day Two

As I explained, in my debrief from Day One, I encouraged delegates to capture just one action from each session. That is, one thing they will do differently as a result of what they have heard.

This sounds to have been a popular tip, with many delegates confiding that they are taking my advice. So, once again, I will do the same in this post. Sharing with you one insight that struck me, from each session.

If you didn’t manage to attend this event this year, I hope these snippets will encourage you to come along in future. You get so much of the value from informal conversations with peers & spontaneous answers to questions.

Even as chair for this international event, I learned far more than I could summarise in this blog post. So, once again, thanks to all those who attended & participated.

So, here are my reflections on from the second and final day…

Insight per session from Data Insight Leaders 2017 Day Two

Sanjeevan Bala (Channel 4)

Sanjeevan was our first keynote speaker. With a great presentation style (assisted with a video of Alan Carr on data protection & GDPR), he shared Channel 4’s data science journey. A fascinating insight into how data analytics makes money for broadcasters. Including the stakeholder engagement challenges that all sectors face.

One insight: Even once you have strong CEO support, don’t underestimate the effort you need to put into stakeholder education.

Through an amusing slide on labyrinthine journey of going round in circles talking to the whole business, he showed what can happen. It was also interesting to consider the need for data strategists (aka Jessie Pinkman) to complement data scientists (aka Walter White).

Bertrand Hassani (Cap Gemini)

Bertrand joined me for what we billed as a “fireside chat“. This proved a most amusing session. After a senior role at Santader, Bertrand is now Chief Data Scientist at Cap Gemini. He shared a number of controversial views, to help shake up our complacency.

One insight: Despite the right words, your CEO probably does not ‘get it’, help them think about what their real market is.

Through numerous examples of disrupters, Bertrand reminded us that businesses are often not in the business they think they are. It is dangerous to be too myopic, especially with data companies looking to take their share. How can you better understand the jobs your customers are trying to get done & use data to flex your business response?

Dan Kellett (Capital One), Claire Pritchard (Liberty Global), Steve Taberner (Travis Perkins)

These 3 data leaders comprised our first panel debate of day two. We discussed value generation, the different ways that leaders can generate value from data & prove it internally. More & more businesses are demanding business cases for investment in data analytics. It was interesting to hear real world experience of both cost saving & income generation using analytics.

One insight: There are many ideas for potential value generation, but which can you communicate simply in your business?

Following some great examples from our speakers, we had roundtable discussions across the hall. Delegates sharing & voting on the best ideas from their experience. The diversity was fascinating to hear. What struck me was that the ideas that had worked best were those that could be summarised briefly & made intuitive sense. Do you have you ‘elevator pitch‘ for the next value generation project ready – as you meet with your peers?

Ryan den Rooijen (Dyson)

Having participated in yesterday’s panel, it was great to hear from Ryan again. He is Head of Data at Dyson, but was also able to share from his experience at Google. What was less expected was to hear from his experience as a rower. The analogy to the kind of cooperation needed within businesses was powerful.

One insight: When building capability, don’t get focussed on the technology. Guide technology build by focussing on priorities, people & processes.

Useful advice from Ryan. Ensure that you technical development & spend if focussed on business priorities. It is more important to hire & keep the right people. Plus, ensure you understand processes to get efficient learning and be able to deploy your insights. Once again insight leadership is a softer skills as much as a technical one.

Dan Kellett (Capital One)

As well as participating in our earlier panel, Dan also shared his people recruitment experience in a presentation. Dan is Director of Data Science for Capital One. He spoke very openly about their emphasis on talent pipeline and tips from hiring fast to protecting days for coding/analytics (meeting free).

One insight: Build links with local universities and don’t be half-hearted (participate to create the pipeline you need).

It was great to end the presentations on such practical advice. Dan has spent time understanding all the potential barriers to the best data science students choosing Capital One. How much effort do you put into optimising your job adverts & hiring process? Can your analysts do some analysis from day one? Do they even have their laptop ready for day one?

Eric Tyree (Carlson Wagonlit Travel), Deepak Nagappan Anitha (DLG)

Our final session of this conference was a crystal ball session. We were trying to predict the innovations that will matter for the next 5 years. What will disrupt the data analytics worlds? What should insight leaders be planning for to future proof their investments?

I was ably assisted by Eric (Chief Data Scientist) and Deepak (Analytics Solutions Manager). They did a great job in identifying 6 emerging trends they see will matter for the next 5 years:

  1. Data Environments (for personal or public data, data owners)
  2. Internet of Things (connected devices & explosion of data)
  3. Biometrics (including voice & facial recognition data)
  4. Privacy (including GDPR & consumer reactions)
  5. Automation (including robotics & autonomous processes)
  6. Intelligence (including AI and various deployments)

Following work at tables, our very experienced audience voted for number one, as the most important. Data environments/platforms/ecosystems will matter hugely in years to come. Consumers may be attracted to ‘honest brokers‘ for their data. The organisations trusted to own the data (even from ‘free’ street lighting) will have tremendous commercial advantage.

Data Insight Leaders 2017 Day Two was worth it

The thought of time out of the office for two whole days can sound a big deal for busy insight leaders. Add to that the extra time to fly to Barcelona & you better be a great event to justify such time investment.

Fortunately, I heard from delegates that this even lived up to the billing. A number thought it was even better than last year. So, if you need to prioritise one event for 2018, why not make it the Data Insight Leaders Summit?

I was so encouraged how much of our time was focussed on the practical leadership & people challenges. Those talks & conversations appeared to help many leaders. Hopefully some of the content on this blog also helps.

With regards to #DILS2018, I look forward to seeing you there.