The Back Room – Data Strategy talks to data practitioners who toil un-noticed behind the scenes

Luke Thompson
Client services director EMEA
DataFlux

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What does your job involve? Is there a lot of pressure?
My work can entail anything from a short familiarisation exercise with a customer – this involves installing and configuring the software for them – to consulting projects or formal training courses with classroom-style settings and project teams. The pressure always kicks in if we are brought into a project with extremely tight deadlines. For example, if we are performing a data health check for a customer, we have to consolidate a lot of data in a short timeframe in order to advise the customer on the best way to manage it.

Are you part of a team or do you work alone?
I work with an extremely dedicated team. Sometimes we are on site as a team, but there are also one-on-ones with customers. Other times I work with our consultancy partners, such as Deloitte, to better understand a customer’s needs while we provide the appropriate technology. This is the case with our customer PPL, the UK music licensing company, which uses our data management platform to verify and validate information.

In what ways does your work see the light of day? How is it used by your company?
A lot of what I do is about sharing best practice – the customers know exactly what their data projects need to measure and, as I learn about their industry, I get to share our expertise to help them reach their goal. And a lot of that best practice knowledge ends up in our white papers or going into research projects, so it’s always been a valuable resource for us. We’re currently working with a financial services company, CPP, on the second phase of an enterprise-wide, master data management programme which comprises a lot of data consolidation, migration and real-time data quality processes. CPP documented a £500,000 annual savings from the first phase on the project, so I am excited to see the results of this phase when it completed.

What technique/application/piece of data would make your life easier?
Something to block my unwanted emails? Well, not really. Tech-wise I feel like I have everything I need – instant messaging and my BlackBerry! From a business perspective, better remote access to a customer’s environment would certainly save some time and make my life easier. However, this is usually very difficult because of security controls, firewalls, etc.

What are your ambitions?
From a business standpoint, I would like to see DataFlux continue to develop new types of implementation throughout Europe and also expand into new markets.

You have a life – what do you get up to in it?
I spend a lot of time in Portugal and my new challenge is trying to learn how to play golf. Some colleagues of mine are very keen golfers, so I hope to keep up on the course one day!

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