15 Feb Meet Conor Curley, Managing Principal in the Data Science team
In this series, we’re meeting the InfoCentric team to learn more about our most valuable asset – our people.
Conor is a Managing Principal Consultant for the Data Science team, providing clients with expert knowledge that helps them use their data assets to gain a competitive edge.
Get to know Conor in this short interview.
Hi Conor! Can you introduce yourself
Sure! My name is Conor and I’m a Managing Principal running the Data Science Practice at InfoCentric.
Perfect. And what does that entail?
My role covers anywhere we use Data Science techniques to support our client’s needs, essentially using Data Science to solve business problems is my role.
Awesome, and what got you into Data Science?
So I always loved analysis – figuring out puzzles and tackling different problems that are tricky to solve. After I did my masters degree in Ireland, I joined a Marketing Analytics consultancy.
We specialised in Econometrics, delivering marketing performance models based on regression techniques to understand sales drivers to optimise spend. At the time Data Science was not a common term, I didn’t know it but I was developing the foundational skills of cleaning data, feature engineering and statistical modelling.
Okay, so why would you say Data Science is valuable to businesses?
Data Science is incredibly valuable to businesses, and often we can measure this value. Data Science helps businesses to improve performance, decrease risk and cut costs to name only a few benefits.
Organisations are inundated with huge amounts of data every day – customer data, organisational data, market data, financial data etc – Data science approaches find meaning in this raw input to solve business problems, improve current processes and inform decision makers to make better choices.
The more you understand about the challenge/problem/context, the more opportunity you have to find a successful approach to overcome the challenge/problem/context in an increasingly more complex world.
Do you have a Data Science Strategy you’d recommend to achieve value?
Well it depends on your industry and your organisation’s competitive positioning.
If you are in healthcare, for example, your data assets are very sensitive so one of the most valuable data capabilities would be to keep this data safe, accessible and secure – decreasing risk. Here, you’re using a defensive data strategy to protect against risk and protect against huge reputation costs if your data is breached as we too often see in the Australian Market.
However, if your industry is personal banking, you will prioritise data security but you may also need to use your data to build your marketing and customer insights due to the highly competitive market of personal banking. So deploying data science to build predictive models to attract and retain your customers may deliver significant value to your organisation. This is more a mix of defensive and offensive approaches for your Data Strategy.
Then with an industry like retail, the data strategy may lean entirely on offensive approaches – focusing on using data science to increase sales, deepen customer behaviour understanding, improve supply chain logistics, improve marketing etc..
Contextual fit drives successes – the approach is driven by the need and desired outcome.
Great! Of all the data companies out there, why did you choose InfoCentric?
Well, the people! I met a few of the InfoCentric leaders in the recruiting process and we got on very well and I was impressed with their ambitions to grow significantly in the next number of years. When you meet others who also understand the data will be the key source of future competitive advantage then it was an easy decision.
Beyond the people, what makes InfoCentric different?
So Infocentric delivers end-to-end data capability as a service which other consultancies who are not data specialists are missing. Our services cover all the key areas needed for an organisation to become data driven – from data strategy and data science to data engineering/platforms and ML/Data ops. That end to end service with proven capabilities and success stories is rare. In addition, we even have the depth of experience in data governance from our sister company Alex Solutions. Having that data governance platform expertise available deepens our offering and helps us think ahead in terms of the next ten years as opposed to the next one or two.
My philosophy has always been, if we’re going to do a data transformation, we don’t want this repeated in two years time – we want to factor in that data technology will continue to evolve with time and ensure our solutions can be upgraded easily to match the changing needs of an organisation. We want our clients to have long term success with their data capability and it’s one of the reasons I joined InfoCentric.
And lastly, what do you see on the horizon for Data Science in 2023?
So my top three choices would be:
- The continued rise of Generative AI: We’ve all seen the new evolution of chat bots (GPT, bard, etc) and the wonderful new generative AL art that can be produced – this trend will continue to only increase due to the accessibility of the technology. Many organisations will explore and find new applications of these technologies and we will see more overlap into other platforms and digital products such as Microsoft adding Chat GPT into their search engine product suite.
- Cost considerations: Many Cloud providers have cut down their headcount due to costs (AWS, Microsoft, Google), and other major tech firms (Twitter, Stripe) are also cutting down in anticipation of a recession. As costs are reduced, many organisations may review their emerging technology capability which has not delivered an ROI and decide if they want to continue investing in. This will pose a significant challenge for data leaders who may need to defend their areas by demonstrating the value delivered and potential future value their capability can deliver to survive any downsizing measures.
- Cybersecurity and data breaches: We may see cybersecurity trending again with data breaches. Related to costs and investment decisions, governance and tighter protocols can fall down the list of priorities which may expose organisations to cyber security attacks.