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Simon Walker, managing partner, Kubrick Group

Simon Walker, managing partner, Kubrick Group

How is your organisation using data and analytics to support the corporate vision and purpose?

 

Every decision we make, from what new practices we develop and which new industry sector we should focus on to where in the US should we launch our office, is decided through analysing the data.

 

We are very fortunate to have a business full of incredibly brilliant mind, who can help us succeed in our vision by providing insight and analytics which guides this decision making.

 

Kubrick exists to enable organisations to embrace next generation technology and data. We do this by cultivating and training smart, ambitious, diverse talented professionals to enter the data industry.

 

2020 was a year like no other - how did it impact on your planned activities and what unplanned ones did you have to introduce?

 

Towards the end of the first lockdown, we were growing at a faster pace than pre-lockdown, driven by organisations’ need to digitally transform, only one of our plans was delayed, and we had to adapt in ways which we never thought we would.

 

Like many businesses, at the beginning of March we were very much an “on premise” business. In a matter of days, we had to move all staff remotely, but critically our processes had to rapidly be fit for purpose to operate and serve a now remote, dissipated workforce. There was a mammoth effort by all, my business partner and I will always be grateful to our team who worked tirelessly to make this happen.

 

We witnessed an understandable pause in all activity from mid-March until the end of April as organisations assessed the economic impact, what their priorities were and how they could deliver their data initiatives remotely.

 

Due to Covid, the only plan which was slightly delayed was the opening of our New York office, which will now be established at the end of 2021.

 

Looking forward to 2021, what are your expectations for data and analytics within your organisation?

 

We have a number of data and analytics initiatives running in 2021, from improving how we select the best staff from the broadest talent pool possible to analysing the market and our clients to understand what skill sets will be of most value in three years’ time.

 

Is data for good part of your personal or business agenda for 2021? If so, what form will it take?

 

We are constantly trying to attract more people into data, and we see it as our responsibility to ensure we are driving diversity into the industry.

 

One of the tools we have been developing contextualises a person’s academic performance – it allows us to look at other people from different academic and social backgrounds, who may have not been included in previous searches. We have a number of organisations who are interested in supporting this in 2021.

 

What has been your path to power?

 

Throughout my career I have been drawn to creating businesses which solve pressing industry issues. This started back in 2000, when I joined forces with my current business partner, Tim Smeaton. We launched a search business which specialised in finding talent who possessed both technology skills and business literacy – a combination that was in dire need and incredibly short supply. We had a fantastic journey; we learnt an enormous amount and grew that business from a niche operator to a listed company operating in more than 70 countries, with over 500 staff.

 

Fast forward to today and data is a significant critical skills gap for organisations who are building their own capabilities. So, we disrupted the traditional consultancy model and bridged the gap between higher education and the needs of business to creating a workforce who have the correct mindset and practical data skills to support organisations who are scaling their data functions. It has been this opportunity to create a young, diverse, and talented workforce that first attracted me to this industry, so we created Kubrick.

 

What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?

 

From 2017 to the beginning of 2021, we have trained and then added more than 600 data professionals to our industry. This has brought incredible value to organisations and has also strengthened the UK’s ability to compete in the emerging next industrial revolution. I am proud of what Kubrick has been able to do for so many people’s early careers and how 90-plus clients now rely on us as a partner to help them transform.

 

What is your view on how to develop a data culture in an organisation, building out data literacy and creating a data-first mindset?

 

I love this question! I was recently on a panel discussion where one of the panelists answered: “Ask the CEO what would they prefer - their business to die or to survive?” Their point being that, unless the people who are running the business totally believe in the benefits of having a data culture, it is unlikely to happen.

 

If the decision is about being dat- led, then it is ensuring the data literacy of organisation is raise, through hiring data skill, training as many people as possible in data and communicating the wins from being a data-led business.

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