After a brief flirtation with a career in computer games testing in the late 90s, I’ve worked in a number of data roles, starting as a database executive for a market research company and then for an engineering company, Buhler Sortex, in East London.
I then moved from client side to agency side to work for Broadsystem, a marketing services and database agency, where I first got to work with single customer views. In 2007, I joined Oxford University Press where I continued to specialise in developing SCVs to support the delivery of marketing strategies.
I joined BMJ, a global healthcare knowledge provider, in 2012 and we started to build a team of data specialists focusing on data analysis, data quality management, and data compliance. Currently I have responsibility for developing and delivering BMJ’s data strategy, which is focused on delivering value from our customer and user data.
My proudest career achievement to date has been gaining approval to create a standalone data function at BMJ. It is really gratifying to see the importance of data in underpinning BMJ’s future success being recognised and supported. This has only been possible thanks to the efforts of a great data team over a number of years.
There’s no one person, but professionally I’ve been lucky enough to work with some really supportive colleagues over the years, who have not only been able to advise but also challenge. Personally, I’ve been able to take inspiration from my wife and my mother, who have both been able to rise above some of the challenges that they’ve faced in life with dignity and positivity.
For the most part, 2019 turned out pretty much as expected from a data perspective at BMJ, but as always there were a few bumps along the way. It’s been sad to say goodbye to some close colleagues who have moved on to new opportunities. Perhaps the biggest difference from what was expected at the start of the year and the end has been the challenge in acquiring and developing new data sources to meet the needs of a research industry that is going through significant disruption.
Probably not too dissimilar to 2019, with the continued rise of cloud computing and hopefully seeing effective AI applications being realised.
I remain optimistic that data and technology can be used to enable individuals, organisations, and societies to be better informed and that this information can be used to develop knowledge that can be used to make rational, evidence-based decisions. In particular I think the opportunities that quantum computing will give to improving healthcare in future are really exciting.
The biggest challenge is in ensuring that the data that we work with and the information that we deliver is of sufficient quality that it is trusted by the people who use it. In my view the best way we can meet this challenge is to continue to focus on people, process and technology.