How have you found your first few weeks?
It’s been easy to fall back in place and get into things again! There are a lot of new training sessions, and my calendar has been getting busier with meetings. In the first week I was in the UK to meet with the whole team at a company social, I was coming back to people I enjoyed working with, and it’s always nice when you feel that everyone was also happy to have you back! It’s been fun, and I’m really looking forward to being back in the MDM world but also being back together with Amplifi to make this work in the Nordics, so it’s great!
So, you’re coming back into the MDM world, can you tell us how you got started in data?!
I think it’s fair to say it was a coincidence that I fell into data! I moved to Denmark when I was about 20, studying Psychology, when I decided to take a break and got a job working as a Graphic Designer. This led me to an internship with Stibo Systems, one of Amplifi’s partners, where I was creating catalogues from customer’s data and images. As Stibo Systems then made the evolution of STEP, I grew with it and got to know MDM from the outset, where customers were then just starting to manage their own data, so that was across a near 30-year career with Stibo.
How big is the opportunity in the Nordics right now?
I think there’s a vast opportunity in the Nordics. Although these are countries that don’t have that many people in them, there are lots of gigantic companies here that we could help. So, for Amplifi to have a local presence is great, not only to solve some language barriers (as I can understand Swedish and Norwegian), but also understanding the culture of the countries is important. There’s an understanding of the way we like to do things, or are used to doing things, so we’re now much more approachable to help our clients in the way they want/need and to have a good relationship. This also gives us the perfect opportunity to expand our base here, we’re looking to grow our local presence with additions to the team, which is a really exciting step as we continue our growth in the Nordics.
In your experience, what industries need Amplifi’s help in the Nordics?
Lots! Like anywhere, we know that the industries that can use our help are unlimited. Particularly in the Nordics though, there are lots of large manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. I think we can see this from our current clients in the Nordics. For example, TINE is a national dairy company in Norway, then we have Nobia who manufacturer kitchens, and also, we have Wrist, who manufacture and work with shipping materials. There are loads of different potential customers here, and lots to go after. It’s exciting that our opportunities are endless!
What are your plans for growing the local presence of Amplifi?
I think the key for success right now is getting new colleagues in the Nordics. With the projects we already have, and also the pending opportunities we are working on, it’s clear we need to have more of a presence here! We need some Nordic-based Technical Consultants on the team, and we need to find the resources locally to make these projects the best they can be.
The team at Amplifi are made up of an amazing group of individuals. What’s great is that Amplifi aren’t just about finding the best Data people… we’re looking for the best people overall. We are happy to teach skills and train people up in the specifics if they’re the right fit! So, I’ll be getting the word out there that we’re looking for good data people, but also good people! (Hint: If you’re intrigued, please check out our Technical Consultant vacancy, or get in touch with Lisa for a chat!)
At the same time as growing our team, I will be shouting about our new local presence. The team and I have a lot of contacts through networks here, and some great prospective clients, but we will continue to get the word out that we are here, so that companies that need us can find us!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in your career?
My biggest lesson to share would be, if you are put in a position to make a decision on behalf of your employer or a customer, then make the decision. I learnt this as a young graphic designer, in an instance where no one else was stepping up to the plate, but as an apprentice I did, and I decided we would do this, that and the other. My boss the next day came to hear of the decision and said that it was the right one, but even better was the fact that I had dared to make one. No one will blame you for taking on the responsibility of making a decision – even if that decision was wrong. But not daring to take a decision is worse than taking a wrong one. (Of course, if make the same wrong one five times in a row, there might be an issue…)
What’s the worst data mistake you’ve ever encountered, and what did you learn from it?
The worst mistake… I have encountered a fair few in my time. The most complicated to solve are those that include a lot of manual processes which require getting people involved to look at the data. For example, one customer wanted to bring together 3 separate sources - PDFs, a website, and another system – the trouble was that they all held duplicated, unmatched data for individual items. So, for example when we imported the data, we ended up with 3 separate entries for 1 single type of screw, which mean that no one thought the data was correct and no one wanted to redo it. In the end, we had to dump it all out and start at the beginning, directing category leads and staff to manually look at the data.
I think the main thing I have learnt from interactions like this, is that a lot of companies have not built their foundations on data management. That’s where they are expecting us to come in and make the right decisions as the data people. We’re there to lead their thinking and explain from our expert perspective why and how things need to be done differently, to ensure they’re being proactive with their data rather than reactive. As data experts, that’s something we know how to do; we know all about data management. That's why our customers come to us.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to any company starting a data initiative?
I have an analogy that I like to use with my prospects… it starts with a cake. If there’s a really nice big cake, and you take a slice that’s too small, you won’t really get to taste it, or you might not get to the middle where all the good stuff is. Whereas, if you take a big chunk of the cake and try to eat it all, you might not finish it or end up feeling unwell as it’s too much, so surely you wouldn’t want another slice of cake…
So, when I start out with a new company, and people start discussing ‘what should the first phase be’, I will always say that whether their initiative is a simple project or a larger program, it’s important that their first phase is clear. The size of their first phase shouldn’t be too small that it won’t build value, and not too big to overwhelm them too soon. So that’s why I think it’s good when you start any data initiative, whether it be consultancy or whether it be implementation of software, it's always about doing it in a way that brings immediate value. That will make you want to do more, as you will understand how great it can be, and can see value in the future as well.
And lastly, I know you’re aware of the history with Karaoke at Amplifi… so if you had to choose, what would be your go-to karaoke song?
Well, I have been to many karaoke bars together with the team, I have videos… but my choice would always be Take Me Home, Country Roads. I am American after all!