A premier – in more senses than one

These days, data sits at the heart of how forward-thinking organisations make decisions – from innovation and transformation, new product development to win new customers and break into markets – as well as fostering those relationships with bots driving so much in customer service.

Recently, Investigo Executive’s Technology Leadership Practice held an intimate event for C-suite technology leaders, where David Henderson, of the radio group Global, spoke about his work as their Chief Technology and Product Officer. Joining us were senior leaders in media, manufacturing, retail, private equity, financial services, and consulting, all with insights to share.

As we held our lunch roundtable in Global’s offices overlooking Leicester Square, preparations were in full swing for the upcoming premier of Top Gun: Maverick. Although Tom Cruise sadly couldn’t join us, the event let innovation leaders share what’s on their mind, discuss the highs and lows of their data journeys, and exchange ideas that came out of Henderson’s talk. We’ve unpacked the key themes from Henderson’s talk and share insights from technology experts from further afield who we’ve learnt so much from.

The tech is the easiest bit of the data journey. It’s everything else that’s hard.

Many organisations are now embarking on a journey to harness the power of data, from major engineering companies leveraging the Internet of Things to professional services organisations looking to make more effective decisions.

With 26 million listeners a week, Global is the largest commercial radio group in Europe, and Henderson’s mission has been to shift the mindset of the whole business away from a live, linear world of radio towards a way of engaging that gives listeners a voice. By getting to know their audiences better, Global developed a new way of listening thanks to data rich platform tech. How are they listening to content? On which devices? Which content drives the most social engagement, and what new trends might be log lasting new behaviours? 

Timing will make or break your product’s success

For all media makers, there’s been a steady move toward curated content. Retailers suggesting other possible purchases based on consumers’ previous buying behaviour is an obvious example. Media companies are no different, using data to increase engagement, retention and listening or viewing hours, as well as that critical revenue generator – advertising – now highly target advertising.

As more of us are working and shopping from home, the data journeys offer customer insights and a win-win with greater customisation. Natalie Whittlesey, Director for Investigo Executive, said: “When companies take the time to truly understand the customer, there are benefits for all parties; the customer is delighted with their tailor-made offerings and the company can optimise their investment through precision targeting.”

Henderson explained how the Global Radio app encourages listeners to log in for HD audio, extended clips, and exclusive content or offers, so it can tailor its offering to suit a listener’s individual interests. Its objective is to make the audience listen for longer. At the same time, it gives the organisation a detailed view of each customer, including their preferred listening time, their location, events they go to and competitions they’ve entered. The Global Radio app began as a tech-centric programme that rapidly grew into an ambitious transformation project.

Timing of product releases is never simple, with markets and global events affecting when and how to launch a product that might have been in development for months. For Henderson, it’s about “ensuring the quality of recommendations, and making a conscious effort not to release new products until they’re fully explainable to listeners, advertisers, and producers. Once new initiatives are explainable and repeatable, that’s when the company can meet consumer expectations.”

Hiring top tech talent means getting your stars onboard is tough

These days, you can’t talk about technology without talking about talent. Everyone in the room shared their war stories.  While the move to hybrid working has helped some organisations to secure talent further afield, others have found the opposite – increased choice means local talent can now work remotely with almost any company

Global’s approach is predicated on small internal teams to deliver their transformation, product, and data strategies. But at a time when it’s so hard to find technologists, one of the key challenges is keeping hold of data engineers. This isn’t an isolated problem. As companies grapple with ever-increasing amounts of unstructured data, engineers are increasingly a high demand hire.

It’s important that employers understand the way technologists perceive them in the market. It’s also important to know what tech talent actually wants. As well as the more obvious things – work-life balance, compensation and benefits, and flexibility – technologists want work that challenges them and a culture that inspires them to be their best.

Whittlesey recently delivered a Jedi Session for CIO Watercooler on ‘Attracting and Retaining Top Talent in the Big Quit’. “Motivations, needs and priorities have dramatically changed in the last couple of years”, she says, “and employees need to listen and adapt to attract and retain highly sought-after talent as the usual levers no longer apply”.

Being data driven will impact your entire organisation – not just products

Any proposed change in direction, be it transformational, structural or operational, will naturally bring new challenges. There may even be some concern in the company that moving to new revenue streams might come at the expense of traditional revenue streams. Yet, data is its own mandate. With the right technology in place to provide the data you need, and the right talent to extract actionable insights from that data, you have everything in place to devise and deliver new products and most importantly, monitor their performance.

If you’d like to join us for our next event or are looking for tech talent to lead your strategies, get in touch now. We have long standing relationships with wonderful tech talent, from leaders to subject matter specialists, so email Natalie to begin that conversation.