Oct 05, 2021

Key takeaways from our 2021 Leeds Digital Festival events

Cara Bills

Cara Bills

Key takeaways from our 2021 Leeds Digital Festival events

In this blog, we summarise the key takeaway messages shared from each of our three Leeds Digital Festival events.

September 2021 saw Credera return to Leeds Digital Festival for the second year running to host three separate events as Executive Sponsors of the festival. Our events this year focused on sentiment analysis, innovation, and cloud optimisation, with professionals from across the globe sharing their expertise through a combination of virtual and in-person sessions. Here, we outline the key takeaways from each of our events.

Trendspotting: Choose machine learning to control your brand’s narrative

Mariola Sebastian (Managing Consultant) and Vincent Yates (Chief Data Officer) discussed how social media is changing the demands on marketers and brands. Data alone is often insufficient. The only way to get real insight is by using machine learning to understand what is happening within an ecosystem and presenting it in a way that makes sense to the human beings doing the actual marketing. Some key take homes from the event included:

  • Playing a new game: Most companies aren’t equipped to deal with the rapidly changing landscape of social media. Newer social media platforms like TikTok can appear quickly and benefit brands who are able to pivot their social media strategy to new mediums, new players, and new audiences, whilst other brands are left behind.

  • Real-time insights are essential: Social media interactions can shift your brand perception overnight (think Coca-Cola and Ronaldo). These shifts can take weeks to manifest themselves in sales figures or other internal metrics, when the time to take action has already passed. Real-time alerts on data trends with a prediction on how they might affect sales targets or sentiments is what is needed.

  • Data isn’t a challenge: We are parched for insights despite drowning in data. We don’t need more data or dashboards, but insights and action. Credera’s STEAM-RT engine uses a cloud-based architecture for our machine learning, enabling us to dive into the high volumes of data and extract valuable insights.

  • We are better together: If we let computers do what they’re designed to do and let marketers do what they’re good at, the organisation gains the exponential benefit of both the right tools and the right people.

Read next: Whitepaper: Are you failing to deliver a single view of the customer?

Innovation in action: Disrupt your industry in 60 minutes!

John Kendrick (Principal), Hani Qadiri (Managing Consultant), and Alec Owens (Managing Consultant) discussed the importance of innovation within an organisation and why it should be a part of any firm’s fabric. In this hands-on session, the key takeaways included:

  • Innovation is key to long-term success: By continuing to innovate over time, organisations can remain fresh and ensure that they are fuelling their customers’ needs.

  • It’s not as complex as it may seem: Innovation can sometimes feel like it's difficult, but companies do often have the skills and capabilities to achieve it - they just need to be unlocked!

  • Innovation is an ongoing process: Innovation doesn't necessarily have to be a 'one time' thing – it is something that can be built into your standard operating model.

Cloud optimisation: Reach cloud nine with our top tips

Jonathan Watson (Managing Consultant) and Simon Osborne (Principal) described how organisations can make the most out of their cloud investment once the initial phase of migration is complete. They discussed the key areas in which the cloud can typically provide real value for organisations, including areas such as architecture, resilience, ops, security reliability, and observability:

  • Focus on good architecture: Refining your architecture involves a journey from getting the basics right and removing technical debt, to using more cloud-native techniques. Organisations should think about containerisation and how to make best use of native services. You can even move to a completely serverless, microservice model with some workloads if it makes sense for your organisation.

  • Modernise operations: Cloud requires a revised operations model, and at the very least, organisational teams will need both reskilling and retraining. Organisations will need to adopt a much more DevOps approach and embrace automation, deployment as code, and remove manual activities. Taking the human out of the process is often the best approach.

  • Tighten up security: The cloud provider is responsible for the security of the Cloud and the underlying mechanisms for securing applications and data, but the organisation remains responsible for security in the Cloud. The cloud provider will offer many keys, but it is the organisation’s responsibility to secure the locks.

  • Keep an eye on things: Organisations need to keep track of what their cloud environment is doing, using logs to track events and application traces to analyse applications in detail, and aggregated metrics to track overall performance. Good observability is key to the difference between detecting problems before they arise, and phone call monitoring (waiting for users to tell you that there is a problem).

  • Get a grip of costs: Done well, cloud can be cost effective and even save organisations money over traditional alternatives. However, it is important to remember that cost remains everyone’s responsibility. The tools do exist for organisations to create reports and dashboards, but work will need to be put in to build them and to integrate cost into every decision made.

We would like to give a special thanks to everyone who attended our events this year. If you had any questions relating to the topics discussed, please get in touch and we will pass them on to the relevant expert.

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