Interview with Simon Monk from Demand Finder

This article takes part from the interview series with our speakers for this year edition of Big Data Week.

Read below Simon’s Monk from Demand Finder thoughts on big data.

While Big Data is already a buzz term, what does it actually mean for you? (an old question with a fresh answer)

By now most organisations have heard a great deal about Big Data and what benefits are potentially available to them. Now the biggest hurdle is where organisations can start in big data projects to drive real business outcomes. So for us, the goal is to help companies define business use cases, understand what they need to implement from a skills and technology perspective and build a roadmap based on small successes growing out.

Is it important to be data driven nowadays? If yes, why ( please use examples from your industry if possible)?

There is an increasing number of reports coming out about how businesses using data to make decisions are succeeding in the marketplace. It can only be argued that organisations that aren’t adopting some sort of analytics in their decision making processes will fall behind. A recent report by IBM entitled Generation D found that organisations that were analytically driven were more likely to be excelling against a number of strategic KPIs. Documented benefits included higher wallet shares, higher promoter/advocate scoring and higher annual revenue through digital channels.

What are the main challenges a company encounters when starting to look at their data?

With so much data available to them, companies can struggle with where to start – especially when budget is allocated on the demonstration of value add. People often perceive Big Data projects as costly and labour intensive but the cloud has enabled companies to start small and scale out, demonstrating value to key stakeholders along the way. Technology plays a big role in allowing companies to benefit from Big Data and analytics, so joining up the conversation between IT and business users like marketers is important when selecting solutions and ensuring enterprise adoption of new tools.

What do you expect from your participation/talk at Big Data Week?

I am hoping for an interactive experience so that I can hear feedback from business users that are overcoming challenges in big data projects. Based on our conversations with a number of retailers we have built a framework for enabling organisations, particularly those working in marketing/customer insight teams, to “start small, plan big” which we look forward to sharing. The case study we will discussing is from a start up company which I’m hoping will demonstrate that any organisation can benefit from embedding data in their decisions.

Who should come and listen your talk in Big Data Week?

Our talk at Big Data Week is targeted at those that sit the business side of data and analytics so may struggle to know what to ask for when they want to get more from their data. As I mentioned above, our framework is designed with customer insight/marketing teams in mind. Typical projects include: I want to understand which of my customers are most likely to churn/lapse, I want to target my customers/prospects with more focussed marketing campaigns in order to increase conversion and reduce wasted marketing effort, I want to understand the biggest drivers which affect store performance so that I know the key areas to invest.

Do we still need data scientists with all the tools existing today for data cleaning, analysis, machine learning?

In house skills can be the biggest barrier in the adoption of analytics in an organisation. What is important is that the right tools are accessible to the right level of user. For example, business users may need guided data discovery so that the need for a high level of skill in statistics is alleviated while on the other hand, access to data scientists means that organisations can start experimenting with a wider number of data sources including those which are external to the business and unstructured.

A skilled entrepreneurial leader with a proven track record of driving business change through the adoption of analytics. He has extensive experience of delivering business value through implementing technology, Simon-Monk-600x431most recently being a co-founder of Crowdy; a mobile customer engagement platform that sits alongside IBM Watson Analytics for richer consumer insight.



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