Last Tuesday on the 7th of May 2019, Burns Sheehan partnered up with Compare the Market, Cytora & Faculty in order to bring the London tech scene an event centred around the implementation of Data Science and the importance of its successful implementation in becoming Data Driven.
Months prior to this, we were rattling our brains as to what would be the best topic to host on and of course, we went to our network. The responses were vast, and they varied around a lot of events we were seeing crop up recently including GCP v AWS v Azure, Best Practice Data Modelling and one which I’m particularly interested in and Burns Sheehan happen to be hosting in Manchester – Data Science in Production.
However, that being said, one topic which continued to come up was becoming Data Driven as an entire organisation. As a recruitment company, and specifically as a Data team, we often engage in conversations about roles which we fill for our clients and we always ask, 'Why you?', 'What makes you stand out against your competitors?' and one of the most regular responses we get is 'We're a Data Driven Company'. By no means suggesting this isn't their intentions but it made us question what being Data Driven actually means and what was necessary in order to be able to own that title. This led us into some very interesting conversations and we came to the conclusion that whilst this was most companies’ aspirations, they weren't actually there and as such, perhaps the London Data community would benefit from hearing insights from Senior Data Leaders from various companies at different parts of their Data implementation journey.
Now before we go on, we must thank all of our speakers – they were truly incredible. We had Chris Parker, the Associate Director of Insights from Compare the Market, Co-Founder, CTO Aeneas Wiener from Cytora and finally, Jean Innes, the Director of Strategy & Transformation at Faculty. When we engaged with each of these fantastic speakers, we did so because we felt if we were really going to make the most of the event, and for it to really hit the mark of what we wanted to achieve, we needed to be able to represent examples of companies at different points in their journey to becoming Data Driven.
Chris Parker from Compare the Market kicked us off discussing the concepts and practices of what needs to be in place before we can start to think about how this Data driven journey can happen. He was also refreshingly honest about the position where Compare the Market find themselves in but demonstrated how they have the capacity to do some astounding things with Data – they just need to formulate and execute their plan to becoming Data Driven.
Aeneas Wiener from Cytora stepped up next. Aeneas, a PhD holder from Imperial College London used the concept of his thesis to spin out the making of a Machine Learning Insurance start-up – Cytora. They are arguably the furthest along in their Data Driven journey of all our speakers as the product sits at the heart of their company. He spoke in detail about risks, and how the concept of risk was critical to ensuring the standard of Data held & used by them and companies alike was absolutely critical.
Finally, Jean Innes from Faculty presented a really engaging talk on 10 specific tips that she would recommend standing by in order to ensure you continue on the track to becoming Data Driven. With Faculty offering consulting services, we really wanted to engage with someone like Jean who represented a Data Science Driven Consultancy. They have the role of persuading non-Data Driven Organisations on how best to implement certain products and strategy to aid their cause. Jean's fabulous talk sparked masses of debate and because of the Consultancy element, meant a lot of her varied examples resonated with different parts of the audience – sparking discussion which is exactly what we were looking for.
This was an underlying success, and bearing in mind this was Burns Sheehan's first Data event of 2019, we cannot wait to see what the next one has in-store. We have already started deliberating between ourselves, but as is the case with all of Burns Sheehan's events, we want to hear from you and as such, any recommendations would be hugely beneficial. Perhaps we can demonstrate some of our clients’ successes with how they have brought Machine Learning products into production or indeed one which I would love to host – how best can Data Scientists work alongside Data Engineers to ensure maximum effectiveness?
Either way I cannot wait for the future, and off the back of the success we've just experienced – I’m sure it will be one not to miss!
This would not have been possible if it wasn't for the Compare the Market team who not only allowed us to use their incredible offices as a venue but also provided unrivalled support in the organisation of this event – thank you guys!