I would like to begin by thanking Scott Jones and his great team at 123 Internet; and especially Laura Mayes as organiser; for putting on what was a great event. Full of informative and at times, emotive, presentations, the day was great fun to be part of. Presenting in front of a full-size CINEMA screen was a little daunting, but well worth it. The networking was incredibly useful and to top it all off, money was being raised for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, a very worthy cause.
A broad range of topics were addressed in the presentations, running the full gamut of data and digital, alongside business coaching and mentoring. Some key take-aways from each presentation are below.
We opened with Chris Richards, representing Barclays Eagle Labs. This is a new (although actually, not so new) initiative from Barclays that brings together Starts and pre-Series A companies together into environments that can prove mutually beneficial. With support on every element, from financial thought to product development and mentoring, anyone who is thinking about starting a company or is just starting out should get in touch. The nearest one is Cranfield so no excuse!
Next up was Stephen Lynn, Head of Marketing at the Transport Systems at Catapult in Milton Keynes. It still amazes me to hear (despite our work with MK:Smart & the OU on MK being a smart city) that we really do lead the way in self-driving and driverless vehicles. In fact, it appears we are going from strength to strength in this area. Keep your eyes peeled in the autumn for driverless pods, and an eye for the app that lets you call them!
Following the break, we heard from Gerard & Patrick from Sprout Social. Social is now at the heart of all marketing strategies, and the Sprout toolset and technology appears to be incredibly powerful, with the capability to analyse all of a customer’s interactions and touchpoints across the marketing mix. I know 123 Internet are massive fans of the technology, and it enables marketing companies of all sizes to compete on the social landscape.
Following Sprout, we welcomed Niraj Kapur to the stage for our first emotive talk of the day. Bravely not utilising any slideware, Niraj (the author of the book ‘Everybody works in Sales’) tells us his story, and his thoughts and skills for negotiating through the social media and digital marketplace. I have to congratulate Niraj on his skills – if you can get to see him, its well worth a trip… https://everybodyworksinsales.com/
After lunch, we moved in to the data section of the day; with myself on after the brilliant Bernard Marr. With a focus on the future and the capabilities of AI, where we are going with it and how it affects business strategy, it was a highly informative and well delivered piece. The biggest take away for me was just how much AI is going to affect our everyday lives, with Smart Nappies & Connected Toilets Seats changing the efficacy of healthcare for the better. Check out his website & new book for some great insights into business strategy, data and AI.
With that tough act to follow, I presented on ‘Putting Data at the heart of Digital Transformation (DX)’. This is a subject very close to our hearts here at Zizo, as often the data is put to one side or incorporated as an afterthought for digital transformation when it should be the cornerstone. I’d like to thank the audience for their feedback and I hope that the tips on delivering a successful project will be put to good use. If you want to know more, or would like a copy of my presentation, feel free to e-mail me – firstname.lastname@example.org
After some more caffeine, Emilie Barlow took the floor, with a very personal story about GDPR and the importance of Sophie’s Law, which came into force last year. Whilst we have an emphasis on our right to be forgotten, we can also request that data and information on others who believe may be in harm’s way – something not easily discussed in an open forum. Oh, and the company she works for, Document Logistix, sounds very interesting too. Another hidden, award winning MK gem, just across the water from us in Caldecotte!
Finally, stepping up to the plate was Nathan Hankin from Jelf, to discuss cyber security. Pulling some very powerful videos on the message from numerous insurers, the pervasive problem of cyber security is not going anywhere, and particular care must be taken when thinking about cyber resilience, identity theft and continuity planning. The story of the bank, its cyber security plan and running out of envelopes was a real eye-opener, proving no matter how big you are, this stuff has to be taken seriously.
So once again; thanks to everyone involved – great to see old friends, and make new ones. Looking forward to the next one in 2020!