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Lyndsay Wise, Director of market intelligence, Information Builders

Path to power

 

I attended a polytechnic university in Canada known for its practical education and high standing in the local business community. I was lucky to know what I wanted to do fresh out of university and also worked in IT throughout my university years to help me gain practical experience that directly tied to my studies. I always thought strategically and wanted to be a business (systems) analyst to help organisations improve their business and processes by leveraging data more effectively. My first job was working for the Provincial Government and when I asked one of the project managers why he hired me, he said because I had common sense and was honest, admitting to not knowing something bought him over more than faking my way through. That stuck with me and I have always tried to match my skills with integrity. After a few BA experiences, I decided to become an industry analyst, started doing some consulting, and from there had the opportunity to work for the company I wanted so jumped at the chance.

 

What has been the highlight of your career in the industry to date?

 

In addition to being an industry analyst for many years, I also provided consulting services to organisations to help them identify the right solutions for their business and prioritise their projects. I do not have one specific highlight of my career, but have always found the most satisfaction in helping organisations do better by leveraging their data more effectively. Whether this means helping them gain more visibility and develop analytics to make it easier for employees, or provide customer-facing analytics to create better customer experience. I like the fact that I have been able to help companies become more efficient and enable their workforce more broadly.

 

If you could give your younger self some advice about how to progress in this industry, what would it be?

 

Take advantage of networking opportunities and learn from others in the industry. Make sure to understand that you can learn from everyone and sometimes the best lessons come from the least likely place. Negative experiences and setbacks are also important for growth. Research what types of opportunities are available, ask a lot of questions, make a plan and stick to it. And, finally, never be afraid to ask for help.More organisations took advantage of embedded analytics, understood the value of hybrid data eco-systems and started to explore advanced analytics. I think the market made a lot of headway, but fell a bit short educating organisations on how to build AI and ML initiatives most effectively and what is needed, leaving companies to want to adopt technologies they might not have the data volumes or complexity to gain value from.

 

What do you expect 2019 to be like for the industry?

 

I think organisations will begin to understand the value of data and how data assets support analytics initiatives more broadly. Organisations will take more advantage of AI and ML and will gain a broader understanding of the type of data infrastructure required to do so effectively. Organisations will also look at data more holistically and move towards a more enterprise approach to data initiatives with the ability to take advantage of more complex data eco-systems.

 

Talent and skills are always a challenge to find - how are you tackling this in your organisation?

 

Actual technical skills are easy enough to find and people can also be trained. The most challenging skills to find are some of the soft skills that should support technology projects, such as creativity, critical thinking and the ability to analyse problems and understand different viewpoints. Right now, our organisation is focusing on more collaboration across departments to leverage different skill sets and I think that is the best way to start learning from one another.

 

What aspect of data, analytics or their use are you most optimistic about and why?

 

We are finally at a point where technologies are converging and it is possible to gain true, quantifiable business value out of data assets. Until recently, these initiatives were rarely aligned with broader initiatives across the organisation, making it a challenge to attach data management initiatives directly to ROI. Data and analytics technology/service provider

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