In a career that has spanned international finance to the personal information economy, there has been one common thread - the moment a person interacts with an organisation.
From the early days of computers, networks, ATMs, branch networks, and call centres through to today’s personal information management services, I’ve played a part in the design, development and/or implementation of all of them.
My working life has spanned multiple disciplines, including consultancy, digital media, customer service design and strategic marketing. After 12 years with Barclays, I moved to the systems integrator company Logica, heading up its sales and marketing, where I also led the development and operation of its international CRM business. All of this before I took the bold, but hugely exciting, step to set up my own businesses.
Although all aspects of my career have exposed me to the creation, storage and use of data, CRM gave me the most acute insight into its power and value, especially personal data being the key to the creation of value for individuals and organisations, society and our economy.
This was the driving force behind Ctrl-Shift, which Alan Mitchell, William Heath and I founded in 2008. It’s been an extraordinary journey so far.
That’s a difficult one, it seems I’m of an age when there is thankfully a lot to choose from. But if we’re talking data, then probably I’d point to working with the extraordinary team that developed the Data Mobility Report for the UK Government in 2018.
We see data mobility as a key foundation block to the future of our digital markets and society and this report built on our ten years of work in the data market. It has not only been recognised in the Furman Review for the Treasury as an enabler to unlocking digital competition, it has been used by the CMA in their recent market study into online platforms and by numerous governments around the world.
My ten-year-old twins. They seem to see so much for what it really is, happily call it out and see the opportunity in everything. If we can’t keep positive, then we may as well not try.
Well, I had hoped that the 2018 work on data mobility would help us move faster forward last year, but I think Brexit got in the way quite a bit although even that only really masked the general sluggishness of markets in 2019.
So many people sat on their hands not knowing which way to jump or where and when to focus their resources. But as Bill Gates said: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”
The data and analytics industry will be wild in 2020 and for the whole of the decade. Hold on tight this is going to be exciting.
In the next decade we will see a massive change in our economies, everyone has talked about the Fourth Industrial Revolution for a while and the 2020s will see it in all its glory. Data will be the key enabler for this and any country that gets their data strategy right will thrive. Although businesses will flourish using data, I think it will be society that will benefit the most; our ability to empower individuals to use their data to better perform in all aspects of their lives will be the key to unlock it all.
Technology isn’t the challenge, it is culture, mindset and the depth of knowledge of the senior team and board. If I could, I’d gift every senior executive with a day off from the operations of the day to day, to get under the skin of how data - and especially personal data - can be used to help drive their business into a sustainable future market position.
Data is slowing gaining levels of understanding across business to transform the way we work, the way we create value and the way that we work with our partners in value chains, and ecosystems. However, it takes a highly informed executive, across functions, to make strong integrated decisions.