I started my career at Npower and gained great experience in a variety of analytical roles before joining the West Bromwich Building Society to manage customer analytics.
I moved to London in 2012 to join Aimia’s intelligent shopper solutions business, working solely on the Sainsbury’s account, where I championed and managed the initial build of a “next best action” (NBA) engine, before using data to enable local marketing to minimise the commercial impact of store disruption and competitor launches.
I then spent time in the Middle East as regional analytics lead, supporting proprietary clients and providing analytics for the Air Miles loyalty programme. I came back to the UK to work for Nectar as insight director, working with Sainsbury’s, eBay and Homebase.
In 2016, I moved to Wunderman, building a centralised UK analytics team to support the UK client base before adding a data science capability that would go on to build products designed to help create better content.
In January 2019 I made the move to BGL as associate director of data insights for Compare the Market. It’s an exciting role, responsible for insight, analytics and data science across the business.
It is hard to focus on a single achievement. I loved working abroad and am glad that I took the opportunity when it was presented to me. It was a great all-round experience and I take pride in the fact that I was able to adapt my working style in order to succeed in a very different work culture. More recently, I am immensely proud of the Data4Good event I ran last year at CTM, where the data team used their everyday data skills to help charities gain value from their data. We plan to continue this initiative in 2020.
I don’t think I have a role model as such - throughout my career I have had the great fortune to work with and learn from lots of fantastic people who have helped me to forge a style of my own.
On a personal note, 2019 started with a new role and on the whole, it played out as I expected. It was a steep learning curve, lots of exciting opportunities and a focus on how data and tech can combine to deliver business value. At an industry level, no major surprises. Data privacy continues to be important and data governance is now a fundamental part of any good data strategy. I think that many organisations are still finding that their data infrastructure has not evolved at the same pace as their data science or martech capabilities and are therefore not yet reaping the full benefits of their investments.
I think data governance will continue to evolve and we will need to start to better explain how we are using data to build models so that we can comply with regulations and make sure there is no privacy risk. I also think we need to better understand and the impact of model bias. It will also be interesting to see if there is a shift away from open source towards commercial platforms in an effort to fully leverage and scale AI and ML solutions to production.
Data is taking on more sophisticated roles within technology interfaces, such as virtual assistants, and as a result it now sits at the heart of the customer relationship. I think the role of data is twofold in this environment - to ensure that a brand’s interface with their customer is simple, but also smart.
You could argue that data is on the front line when it comes to shaping customer perception of the digital brand. The new role of data is therefore core to the strategic success of the organisation so there is huge opportunity for data to get a seat at the top table.
I am not sure it is a tech challenge. We can have best in class technology stack in place but if there is not a data driven culture within the organisation we will never maximise the tech capability. As an organisation, we are making huge strides in addressing this challenge, but we will continue to promote the message that every product development, marketing campaign or tech change needs to be done with one eye on the impact it will have on the data ecosystem.