There is an incredibly important point in this article for anyone running a consumer facing business. I’ve seen a good deal of schadenfreude online about the Army being duped into spending £113m on a website – but let’s focus on the fact that the article states it was “three times budget – meaning it was budgeted at £38m in the first place. 5 minutes on the website tells you that it is basically a big wordpress site, which should have cost a few hundred thousand at best and taken a month or 2. Consider how that procurement decision is made, and it is obvious that part of the problem is that no-one making it understood what they were buying or what it should cost. Sadly, I see the same thing happening in retail and hospitality businesses all the time – a whole chain of executives from IT project lead to CEO who simply don’t know what they are buying, and an aggressive vendor who therefore has the information edge. There is a big club of high street brands that have made the same mistake the Army has, and we need to reflect on how to get enough digital knowledge into our businesses to stop it from happening.
(Originally published on LinkedIn)
OK, it was early in the morning and I hadn’t had any coffee yet, but I confess to being particularly irritated by yet another reference in some political tweet or other to the ‘Deep State’ and its nefarious plans.
Concepts like the Deep State ruffle my feathers not because I believe there is some shadowy conspiracy at the heart of government, but for exactly the opposite reason. Let’s look at how a phrase like this comes into being. Continue reading “How the deep state is damaging your business”
Finally finished (and passed!) the Machine Learning course from Stanford on Coursera. Being plural makes it easier to find time to invest in personal development of that kind. Even as someone who has been on the client end of data science for a long time, there was plenty to learn from the course and nerding out doing the programming assignments was great fun. A technical course like that isn’t for everyone, but I can’t help thinking that there needs to be some kind of ‘what business leaders need to know about machine learning’ introduction – too many decisions about data and data science are being made right now by boardrooms full of people who don’t really understand what’s being discussed. It wouldn’t be acceptable for a senior leader to confess that he or she couldn’t do maths or read. I suspect in a very few years it will be equally unacceptable to confess that you don’t understand data science or digital technology. There’s a great training opportunity for someone there, I think. Does anyone offer that already?