Cardiff University’s Data Innovation Accelerator has been working with Simply Do Ideas, helping them get better insights from their data to shape a critical business change …
Cardiff University’s Data Innovation Accelerator (DIA) is continuing to help SMEs in East Wales realise the power of their data. One of these companies is Cardiff-based Simply Do Ideas, a small software company that focuses on the concept of crowdsourcing solutions to strategic business challenges.
When the company wanted to discover more about the possibilities within their data, they looked to the DIA’s data science team for help.
Simply Do Ideas works with companies to identify key issues, firing challenges out to both internal employees and external organisations and sourcing solutions to aid their clients’ transformational change and the development of new products, processes, and services.
“We do a lot around the front-end of our platform, around engagement and getting people onto the platform, but we knew we could do more with our existing data to provide a better service for our customers.” their Head of Research and Development, John Barker said.
“We found we had lots of data but we weren’t extracting maximum value from it for our customers. We knew that we needed to build on our expertise with support that could help us in our process of discovery.”
Simply Do Ideas’ Chief Technology Officer, Will Webberley, was awarded his PhD from the School of Computer Science & Informatics at Cardiff University. He was eager to initiate a collaboration with the DIA, who provided the company with additional support as Will commented; “The collaboration enabled us to build on our existing skill set and make the most of customer data.”
“After carrying out market research into our competitors I realised we could do more.” John said.
“We found that providing bespoke reports to our clients took up valuable staff time and could be automated. We had data which we knew we could turn into something more meaningful for ourselves and for our customers if we could apply the latest cutting-edge data science”.
During a highly-collaborative seven month project, the DIA and Simply Do Ideas teams worked closely together – using automated methods, natural language processing and artificial intelligence to take unstructured data collected from responses to challenges and surveys posted by clients; and turning it into intelligent, sifted information. By scoping, testing and evaluating performance of the new tools in development – and integrating the sifted information delivered into existing systems in a workable way – Simply Do Ideas have been able to offer their clients much more advanced business intelligence, with insightful data now presented in a visually interesting and meaningful way using features like sunburst diagrams and word clouds,
“I’m now pleased to say we are at a place where we are using artificially intelligent processing and related technologies to ensure that our clients are getting access to real-time, top quality reporting backed by the rigour of academic research” said John.
“They’ll now be able to make actionable business decisions immediately, explore data at a much deeper level, and be able to engage with insightful data in a fun, stimulating way.”
John says that clients will be able to access viable health and wellbeing solutions for their employees and discover previously inaccessible insight into the nuances of their workforce or external networks. They can now understand different themes across their business and different pockets of activity, providing transparency and highly advanced business-intelligence. This can lead them to developing and implementing better products, processes, and services, allowing them to thrive within the innovation ecosystem, and succeed in business.
“The impact of working with the DIA has been massive for us,” John continued.
“In the shorter term, we’ve developed critical capabilities in terms of data-processing, artificial intelligence, and data-visualisation, but in the longer term our eyes have been opened to the world of data science and the impact it can have for us, both internally and for our hugely valued clients.”
The project has also paved the way for future research and development work for Simply Do Ideas with Cardiff University, as the company looks to further develop its data science capabilities, and collaborate with Cardiff Business School on a national funding opportunities.
“We are always on the lookout for graduates to employ and regularly use Cardiff Uni to recruit tech talent,” he says.
“We find that the calibre of their computer science graduates is exceptional – they are well-rounded people with superb computer programming skills.
“I would say to other SMEs thinking about engaging with the DIA, ‘You’re not only going to get first class technical/ academic support but also superb business support, delivered on time and to the quality desired’. I highly recommend,” John continued.
The Data Innovation Accelerator is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government