I trained as an engineer then worked for around ten years with the management consultancy Booz Allen. This gave me the opportunity to work with a broad range of clients on a mixture of strategic and operational issues. I specialised in due diligence and the turnaround of businesses in the consumer packaged goods sector for private equity clients.
I joined Dixons, before it merged with Carphone Warehouse, in September 2008 as group strategy manager. I have worked in a variety of areas, including strategy, marketing, analytics and customer insight. I’ve always had a passion for data and analytics and took on my current role for the combined Dixons Carphone business in 2018.
One of my proudest achievements is the team I’ve built at Dixons Carphone over the past ten years. When I first joined, there was no central analytics team. It’s been really rewarding to see the size and capabilities of the team grow. Effective use of data is about enabling people and this requires different skills, not just technical specialists and decision scientists, but translators who can drive insight and change across the business. The team supports all areas of the Dixons Carphone Group, helping understand and anticipate customer needs, and optimise all aspects of our proposition.
My wife, who juggles children, a career, and still has incredible energy and warmth for everyone she meets. Further from home, I’m inspired by Julian Richer, founder of Richer Sounds – a great entrepreneur, retailer, and philanthropist.
2019 had several surprises. I had not expected the scale of the political and economic uncertainty and underestimated the detrimental impact it would have on consumer confidence. Consumers ended the decade looking for more reasons to believe in brands and businesses. On a more positive note, this uncertainty seems to have provoked more collective activism, replacing apathy with increased demand for integrity, sustainability, and empathy.
I expect innovation in AI to continue at pace and for it to become easier to deploy. Demand for insight and analytics will no doubt continue to grow, as will the need for effective data governance. Increasingly, businesses need to focus on collecting the right data and giving consumers greater control of how their data is used.
It’s an exciting time to be a decision scientist and demand for these skills will grow, as will the demand for strong translators – commercially and technically savvy people who can bridge the gap between the business and analysts.
One of the biggest opportunities is the reduction of waste and more efficient use of resources. We’re already seeing how the likes of Uber are increasing car occupancy and there’s plenty more that can be done using data and technology to reduce food waste.
The appetite for insight and advanced analytics within the business has never been higher. To meet this growing demand, we need to continually evolve how we access and share information. Like many businesses that have grown through M&A, Dixons Carphone has data spread across many legacy systems. We are ensuring we migrate our data to new cloud-based systems in a seamless way for our colleagues and our customers.