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Our blog is about all things data: data analytics, data management, data governance, data quality, data visualisation. Gain insights from our data and analytics professionals working across all industries.

19 January 2017

The Bot, the whole bot and nothing but the bot

By Triin Sober Bots have been getting a bad rep in the news recently. You may have seen articles on ticket touts using botnets to buy up tickets to concerts and events only to sell them on to fans at extortionate prices or smart devices connected to the internet of things being used in cyber attacks. But do we really know what bots are and can they be put to a better use?

09 January 2017

Can big data revolutionise the way we measure results in international development?

By Maaike Platenburg We hear a whole lot about big data these days. For many people, “big data” means a flood of data, but what exactly is it? According to UN Global Pulse, information can be defined as “big data” when the data volume can no longer be managed with normal database tools. Big data is typically characterised by the 3Vs: volume of data, variety of types of data and the velocity at which the data is processed. Big data comes in different ways and can be divided in structured data and unstructured data.

21 December 2016

10 ways financial services organisations are preparing for the GDPR

By Rav Hayer and James Drury-Smith The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will put individuals in control of their personal data, empowering them to choose how (and whether) businesses use their data. Where personal data is not treated correctly, individuals will have increased rights to legal recourse and can, in some instances, claim compensation. Regulators across the EU will have unprecedented power to enforce the legislation and impose hefty fines in instances of non-compliance.

13 December 2016

Data lakes #2: Should I dive in?

By Jon Cooke Data lakes, as I said in my previous blog, are the latest buzz word in analytics. While I warned about jumping into the world of data lakes without thinking carefully about what you want to achieve, I do believe that these data depositories are the long-term future. They have a clear advantage over data warehousing because they offer a non-relational way of looking at your data

06 December 2016

Our Lives in Data vlog: analysing transport data

By Ben Whittingham and David Doyle Transport generates multiple sources of data, and it’s often being used real time. In the third vlog in our series from the 'Our Lives in Data' exhibition at the Science Museum, we've focused on the transport section which displays the inside an Oyster Card reader and a 3D model of Bond Street station.

01 December 2016

Data Governance banana skins - My top ten tips on avoiding a slip up

By Kiran Gill Data Governance banana skins - n sudden, unexpected and sometimes creates embarrassing Data Governance situation, often causing difficulty in realising long-term governance success. Data Governance banana skins can be easily side-stepped or comprehensively planned for if you know what to look out for in advance.

21 November 2016

Data lakes: Look before you leap

By Jon Cooke It’s a feature of developing technology that buzz words tend to appear all of a sudden – everyone is talking about it. At the moment it’s ‘data lakes’, a method of storing Big Data – for which Apache Hadoop is the best-known platform.

16 November 2016

How insurers can make still make use of “personality” data

By Paul Delbridge In early November, a leading UK personal lines insurer announced the launch of an app that would use Facebook data to “better understand first time drivers and more accurately predict risk”. This was intended to award discounted premium rates to safer drivers, who would be identified on the basis of specific personality profiles. Shortly afterwards, Facebook announced that this contravened its privacy policies, triggering a change of plan for the insurer.

09 November 2016

Our Lives in Data vlog: drawing on our personal data

By Cathy Wilks and Matt Gosnell Data visualisation is effective when we can trust the data we’re looking at. It has to be easily understood, and it has to be easy to read and decipher. It enables businesses to make quicker decisions and helps them to communicate with others in a relatable way. 

31 October 2016

Is there Art in Artificial Intelligence?

By Robert Guidi Picture the scene: the movie executives, producers and the director sit as the audience in a horse-shoe. At the centre, a humanoid robot “pitches” an idea for a feature film. Within seconds one of the producers rejects it as “too fluffy” and the others agree. Rejected. The robot thinks again, and produces another plot on the spot, modified to take the feedback into account. By the end of the one hour meeting, the director has three new scripts in development; the Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine driving the robot has already produced the 120 page drafts.

26 October 2016

Do you have Management Information Confidence?

By Adrian Hughes Many people talk about Management Information (MI) as if it’s a standard, uniform product. What’s easy to forget is that one organisation’s MI looks very different from another’s, even if they’re in the same sector. It’s rather like comparing hairstyles – it’s subtly different for each of us and how we choose to cut, colour and style it is uniquely personal (although I can only dream of those days sadly…).

17 October 2016

Our Lives in Data: social media risk

By Phil Mennie Data is everywhere. And social media is just one of the ways we’re creating massive sets of data every day, every minute, every second. From posting a status to clicking ‘like’ – just how much are we sharing about our lives on Facebook? And how much do we want companies to know about us? 

Machine learning and the opportunity to make better decisions, faster

By Michel Abbink Financial Services organisations make predictions all the time, in all parts of their business. Guessing what the future might hold and aligning decisions with these estimates, is implicitly what most organisations do. Organisations often take ad-hoc approaches to such predictions, leaving experts and professionals free to apply their judgement. Research has shown that this can lead to a hidden cost of inconsistent and sometimes suboptimal decision making.

10 October 2016

What the ancient Greeks can teach us about investing in AI

By Nigel Wilson Since Icarus and his dad looked at the birds in the sky to inspire their escape from Crete, humans have attempted to mimic the natural world. Two thousand years later, we have engineered ways to swim, fly and travel faster than nature, but are we finally ready to build a machine that can think faster than anything in nature?

04 October 2016

Data: Are we speaking the same language?

By Adrian Hughes Britain and America, the saying goes, are two countries divided by a common language. There have been numerous occasions during my working life in data analytics when a similar thought has crossed my mind. We have extraordinary power to collect, collate and analyse data and yet we often fail to ask ourselves the most basic of questions: Does this word mean the same thing to everyone?

20 September 2016

Leveraging data to change cities as we know them - the social impact

By Checca Aird Historically the public sector has been lightyears behind the private sector when it comes to utilising technology in their operations, and even later to the party when recognising the value of the data they hold, however recent developments encouraging government transparency and efficiency have forced officials to rethink the issue. Big Data is one of The Government’s Eight Great Technologies to support UK science strengths and business capabilities, but research such as PwC’s Global Data & Analytics Survey

12 September 2016

How London Market Insurers can navigate the challenges of deploying predictive analytics

By Paul Delbridge In my first London Market focused blog, "How London Market insurers are responding to the perfect storm of challenges", I touched on the competitive advantages that could rise from exploiting Data Analytics. I believe that predictive analytics is key to boosting underwriting returns in the London Market...

08 September 2016

Embedding centralised technologies to help manage regulatory compliance data

By Sudheer Parwana “Regulatory Compliance” is a phrase which my clients very rarely say with warm fuzzy feelings and cheerful thoughts. And why would they? In recent years there has been a greater focus on ensuring organisations operate legally, safely and ethically as a result of new social trends, technology advancements and greater globalisation. To make this happen, new regulations are increasingly being imposed at a rapid pace and I suspect June’s vote on Brexit will only add further complexity once it is in full flow.

05 September 2016

Why it’s time to break down silos in data governance

By Richard Petley I’ve worked in data governance for 15 years and I can safely say that this is the most interesting time that I’ve experienced – and that’s partly because no two people in the world have the same view about what data governance means. Ask a company that has recently suffered a data breach and they’ll tell you that data governance is all about preventing a data leak and avoiding the wrath of the Information Commissioner

01 September 2016

Data and analytics: what will be the tax functions’ role?

By Mark Schofield The tax function is one of the largest consumers of data in organisations. Typically, according to a joint study we carried out with the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) tax spends more than half of its time gathering data. It’s something that tax functions excel at even though this is becoming more challenging as tax data is housed in many locations and the volume of data is increasing

24 August 2016

5 reasons to use virtual reality for data visualisation

Virtual reality, through its ability to immerse us in new environments, could be the next big step in data visualisation efforts The world is exploding with data. It’s now pouring out of every home, office, computer, mobile, machine and human being. Data has become so vast and unwieldy that we’ve upgraded its status to ‘big data’. The visualisation of this data therefore plays an increasingly important role to help us break down its complexity.

23 August 2016

Artificial intelligence – “Practical parenting for your AI engine”

By Paul Smith The world has become very excited about the idea of artificial intelligence. We dream of the panacea of the “machine that learns everything”… the “machine that never forgets”… the “machine we can always rely on”. But how realistic is this?

15 August 2016

The intangible side of data

By Joana Wang Big data architecture. Self-service analytics. User interactive visualisation tools. All this and more – lately the world has been obsessed with data and technology but what does it really mean? We often emphasise on the processing power and analysis tools used but that does not suffice to help end users. Information can often get lost in translation when the message

10 August 2016

A carnival of data and performance

By Ollie Philips I spent last weekend watching a carnival of sport on television and like any sporting enthusiast will tell you, it’s been heaven. In my previous career I was captain of England’s Rugby Sevens team, so the feeling you get when all the preparation is over and the competition begins is very familiar to me – a heady mix of nerves, excitement and adrenaline. These days, I’m more involved with data and analytics

28 July 2016

Using Data and Analytics to help understand your customers’ needs

By Matt Linehan The ability to respond with agility to technological change is key to remaining competitive. Such change offers an opportunity for organisations to grow, as it both requires and facilitates commercial innovation. As new technologies emerge, businesses find themselves increasingly under pressure to stay abreast of changes in their market.