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Data insight in Barcelona

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In October, our talented analytics solutions manager Deepak Nagappan Anitha headed over to Barcelona to speak at the Data Insight Leaders Summit. The yearly summit is an opportunity for senior data insight professionals from some of Europe’s most forward-thinking companies to come together and share their experiences. 

Deepak Nagappan Anitha

Here, Deepak tells us what happened:

When I found out that the head of data science from Direct Line Group was going to be attending the summit, I contacted him to ask if it would be possible to come along too. He connected me with the organisers, who took a look at my experience and asked if I would be willing to go and run a session for them. I jumped at the chance, as not only would it build my experience of public speaking it also meant I could attend what is usually a very pricey event.

The two days are generally based around the application of data within different organisations, and the various techniques used. I was asked to run a session on how transformation can build a successful digital insight team and then show the value that data brings in. 

Keep it real and keep it simple

The title of my session was ‘To keep it real and keep it simple’. I chose this because though many people were talking about AI, machine learning and advanced deep learning, I don't think most companies are ready to take those kinds of advanced algorithms and run with them. They're all enablers, but I don't believe that's where you should start. First, you need to get your foundations right, see what the business problem is, and then you can make use of those sorts of technologies.

Between 30-50 people turned up to the session, which is about a quarter of all of the attendees. As they were all experts in data and analytics, it was pretty intimidating to be addressing them. However, it went very well and many people asked questions at the end, with some even making contact since to discuss things further.

For me, it was helpful to understand where we benchmark ourselves, and we’re definitely in a good position. There were other insurance companies there, much smaller than us, who were looking at how they can completely transform their digital journey. We’ve come a long way in the last four years, and are miles ahead of many other businesses in the same field.

Among the other speakers was someone from booking.com, who explained how to optimise return on investment. It was fascinating to see some of the advanced techniques he was using. I also listened to a valuable talk about using advanced algorithms to analyse unstructured data by the head of data at moneysupermarket.com.

At the end of the weekend, I was invited to be part of a panel discussion to close the conference. I wasn’t prepared for this at all, but it was a real privilege to be asked, and so I accepted and joined a discussion about future trends in analytics and data. 

It was a great couple of days and I feel that I really learned a lot. There’s a customer experience conference coming up in London next year which I’ve been invited to speak at, so I’m already looking forward to that.