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We need more Big Data Champions

Big Data Human Resource Drill Down and Sample Comments
Graph showing the Human Resource Drill Down & Sample Comments

We tried something new at the Unlocking Big Data – Investing in Human Capital event. We dispensed with the flip charts and the break-out sessions and gathered, analysed, presented and interpreted the real-time contributions of delegates.

So how did we find out that we need more Big Data Champions?

In addition to the discussion happening in the room, attendees also shared their thoughts on Twitter, using the #UnlockingBigData hashtag and on a private comments submission system reserved exclusively for the event. Paul Howarth from PanSensic undertook the analysis of 174 free field comments from 5 stakeholder groups made through the submission system and then presented his initial analysis and interpretation to the delegates.

The headlines were:

Extracting value from Big Data
  • Resistance to change
  • Cost/benefits of working with Big Data
  • Understanding the value in Big Data & how to get at it
  • Challenges for SME’s
Human Resource
  • Concerned with what kind of people we want, how to identify them and attract them, how to train and keep them
  • The high cost of skills, team building and integration into the organisation
Education
  • How do we know what skills are required, will be required?
  • How do we teach them and how do we keep up?
  • How do we get young people into the field?
  • How do we tap into existing expertise?

Following the event, in-depth analysis drilled down into each of the themes and a series of PanSensic lenses was used to reveal even more. The PanSensic Mercury lens, a way of looking at “personality essence” revealed the lack of Big Data Champions and Route Finders. Big Data Champions and Route Finders help create a virtuous circle – open to change, embraces the cost benefit analysis and leads to a greater understanding of the value of Big Data, and so on.

Graph showing the findings revealed by the PanSensic Mercury Lens
Graph showing the findings revealed by the PanSensic Mercury Lens

The new Met Office super-computer, the opening of the first building on the Science Park, the growing concentration of STEM industries and organisations points to a vibrant digital future. A future which requires access to talent to take it forward.

Meet the Speakers for ‘Unlocking Big Data’

CHARLES ARTHUR
Technology Editor, The Guardian

Charles Arthur has been in technology journalism for over 30 years. Most recently he was technology editor at The Guardian for nine years, writing about Apple, Google and Microsoft as well as other topics including Wikileaks and the Snowden documents. Previously he was at The Independent and New Scientist. He has written a book,
Digital Wars, about the business battles and history between Apple, Google and Microsoft. It is now in its second edition. He is married to Jojo Moyes – international best-selling author.

Topic: Big Data Revolution: the Big Picture


CHRIS GARCIA
Chief Executive – Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership

Chris Garcia was appointed as the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership’s Chief Executive in June 2013. Chris has a background in both public and private sector leadership roles and an in-depth knowledge of building economic development partnerships working with the public, private, education and voluntary sectors. One of Chris’s first early senior roles was as a partner at KPMG, focusing on the private sector in the South West. He later ran his own successful family business, providing new technology and knowledge sharing support to both government departments and major technology firms. Previously Chris also worked as the Director of Enterprise and Skills at the South West Regional Development Agency and for the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS). His senior management experience has included 13 years as a non-executive director of a significant charity – a leader in the field of developing people and management. Alongside this role Chris worked closely with voluntary organisations, establishing the Western Development Partnership, a major economic development partnership for the West of England. Chris is passionate about living in the South West and wants to ensure that Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay are equipped to work and succeed in a global economy, by driving economic growth and boosting jobs throughout the area.

Topic: The Heart of the South West Big Data: Current and Future


ALEX NICHOLSON
Chief Information Officer, Intelligence Optimisations Technologies Group

Alex is the Co-Founder of Intelligent Optimisations (IO) and is the company’s CIO. He is the lead architect of the IO platform, where he exploits his in-depth knowledge of and passion for computer science, big data and machine learning technologies. In addition to several startups Alex has utilised his technical knowledge and business acumen successfully in a range of senior management positions, in public and private sector companies, as CTO, COO, and most notably as the Enterprise Architect and ultimately IT Fellow within the Met Office. Alex is hugely passionate about exploiting software and systems with elegance and performance through enterprise architecture and software design, fusing technologies in new and creative ways.

Topic: Building the Reality of a Big Data Team


KIM NILSSON
Managing Director, Pivigo

Dr Kim Nilsson is a Swedish national and PhD in Astrophysics from Copenhagen University, Denmark. After working four years as a post-doctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Germany and later as Hubble Astronomer in the European division of the Hubble Space Telescope she decided she was ready for a career change and
came to the UK to complete an MBA at Cranfield School of Management. It was during the MBA that the initial plans for Pivigo were formed, together with her co-founder. After a short time in risk management consulting, post-MBA, she co-founded Pivigo recruitment and Pivigo academy, two London-based start-ups in the recruitment and training sector. As MD of Pivigo Academy, she is also the lead organiser of Europe’s first and largest PhD-to-Data Science programme S2DS (Science to Data Science, http://www.s2ds.org), which ran its initial programme this summer. The launch programme saw 85 analytical PhDs working on commercial data science projects with the 22 commercial partners on the programme in mini-internships. She is passionate about supporting the career transitions of academics into commercial industry, and supporting the revolution to our way of life that data science promises to bring.

Topic: Investing in Human Data Capital


CHARLES EWEN
Director of Information and Chief Information Officer, the Met Office

Charles is responsible for the development and implementation of the ICT Strategy and for the internal technical teams within the Technology Information Services Directorate, working closely with the Science teams to operate the High Performance Computing capability. The Met Office relies heavily upon cutting-edge IT to improve the quality of forecast services and increasingly to make those services accessible and effective for customers and the Public. Charles has worked for the Met Office in a number of senior technology roles since 2008 and, prior to that, worked in the Business-to-Business online retail and distribution industry. During this time he used relevant technologies to transform businesses from traditional retail approaches to being internet and technology capable. As well as a number of consulting appointments, Charles worked within the Premier Farnell group of companies for over 10 years. He has run his own small technology company and started his career as an Electronics Engineer in the defence industry.

Topic: Big Data: Maximising the Collaboration Effect