How is your organisation using data and analytics to support the corporate vision and purpose?
As an enabler, our focus is on helping our clients maintain and build their first party data assets and ensure the data fully complaint with global data protection regulations. We have been helping educate organisations on the importance of data ethics and demonstrating greater transparency and control to their consumers over their personal data.
2020 was a year like no other - how did it impact on your planned activities and what unplanned ones did you have to introduce?
Fortunately, we had a robust business continuity plan and had actually rehearsed no office access, so the move to a full-time working from home situation was relatively straight forward. Our focus then switched to the wellbeing of the team and keeping morale up. I didn’t know it was possible to get drunk on a Zoom evening! As a SaaS provider, all of our services are in the cloud, so it was pretty much business as usual.
We no longer have an office as our lease ended during the pandemic, so we will be adopting a different space strategy when things get back to normal. A focus on collaboration and fun in the office, a place to come in and socialise and focus on group projects.
Looking forward to 2021, what are your expectations for data and analytics within your organisation?
We expect to see a greater focus on privacy UX and data ethics. Doing the right thing by consumers when it comes to their personal data. A move away from tracking technologies to authenticated journeys and growing and enriching first party data assets.
Is data for good part of your personal or business agenda for 2021? If so, what form will it take?
It’s all we think about at MyLife Digital!
What has been your path to power?
I worked for Option One, a marketing services agency in the early 1990s and worked on accounts like Orange and UCI Cinemas, before setting up my own business which provided production and data services to a number of clients, including OneTel and Virgin Mobile. I was also involved in a dotcom start-up called TripleArc that acquired my business in 2000 and we floated TripleArc on the stock market in 2001, making me one of the youngest CEOs on the London Stock Market.
Following a successful sale of TripleArc plc, I joined Lateral Group as CEO. Lateral owned Data Lateral and this completely reignited my data passion. We later sold Lateral Group to a financial services business called DST Systems, a mutual fund record-keeping business. I was a member of the leadership team that established a "big data" division in Kansas City, called DST Applied Analytics, which helped DST’s clients extract value from many years’ worth of data held on old mainframe systems using then-new data science and machine learning techniques.
Reading a book on holiday in 2014 called "The circle" by Dave Eggers, I became obsessed with how companies were collecting data on individuals and how strong governance was needed to ensure the collection and use of this data was transparent and citizens should be empowered to control how organisations use their personal data.
On leaving DST, I joined a team of fellow data geeks in Bath and we founded MyLife Digital, which rebalances the trust in personal data between an organisation and the individuals it serves and connects individuals with their data, providing greater transparency and control.
What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?
I’m not just saying this, but it has to be being nominated for Data for good champion and awarded Privacy and trust champion at the 2020 DataIQ Awards. It felt like a huge endorsement of the work and effort the team and I have put into MyLife Digital.
Tell us about a career goal or a purpose for your organisation that you are pursuing?
We have a simple purpose, and it drives everything we do. To live in a world where your data powers positive outcomes for you and society as a whole.
We will continue to push for a world of self-empowerment when it comes to personal data.
How closely aligned to the business are data and analytics both within your own organisation and at an industry level? What helps to bring the two closer together?
We are helping shape the sector and have been since 2015, driving greater transparency and control over personal data, before GDPR became the big thing.
What is your view on how to develop a data culture in an organisation, building out data literacy and creating a data-first mindset?
As a small organisation, it is much easier, but it must start at the top and all decisions must be based on evidence from data. The focus needs to be on metrics and not the tools, and what businesses need to be successful. This will determine what data is needed and missing.