Speaker Snapshot: 'I Think The Challenges Are Around The Shortage Of Talent'

We talk to Gregg Bierman from Vistaprint and Rob Finora from ShareThis


Ahead of the Big Data Innovation Summit on September 7 & 8, we spoke to Gregg Bierman, Director, Customer Analytics & Data Science at VistaPrint and Rob Finora, SVP, Data at ShareThis who are both speaking.

Gregg leads the Customer Analytics and Data Science teams at Vistaprint, helping to bring data-driven insights to the company’s vision of empowering business owners worldwide to market themselves professionally. Gregg has been with Vistaprint since 2013; his team’s work focuses on picking up the signals around behavior in order to create a more meaningful customer experience and increase loyalty. He has spent the last 15 years in the analytics and data science field exploring his passion for “making the data speak” ; Gregg holds an MBA from MIT-Sloan.” ; Gregg holds an MBA from MIT-Sloan.

Rob is a strategic, performance-driven and accomplished executive with 10+ years of driving measurable results, in excess of $2B in advertising technology revenue across digital, traditional and emerging media platforms. Notable brands include Aol, Nielsen, Zagat (Google) and UBS. He has a reputation for setting, then driving business and product strategies across multiple stakeholders to support advertising P&Ls and associated product launches with consistent, double-digit year-over-year growth. He is also a motivational leader known for hiring smart people and setting clear missions that consistently exceed expectations.

How will the way data is used change in the next 5 years?

Gregg: We will ramp towards pervasive use of AI as standard practice in practically every type of public or private enterprise – so pervasive that we hardly think about it any more.

Rob: AI will significantly shorten the cycle around extracting insights or building advanced models, to the point we will see data become a disruptive force in the way business is conducted across many industries.

What impact will new legislation, like the GDPR, have on the way companies use data moving forward?

Gregg: It will have a significant impact on both the way that data is collected and stored and how it is ultimately used. Consent will be become a critical part of using data, so from a marketer’s perspective we will need to make the benefits of sharing data explicit and self-evident.

Rob: Companies that collect and use data will need to be very transparent in all aspects of collection, handling and touch-points to the customer when being used.

What are the biggest challenges that the data community faces?

Gregg: Spending more time on data access and wrangling than providing value-add analysis. That, and finding and hiring talent.

Rob: Today, its really being able to handle, process and extract insights accordingly in a timely manner.

Public perception of data collection is generally negative, how can we change this in the future?

Gregg: More transparency about what data is being collected and why. More thoughtfulness in creating customer experiences that are useful and not perceived as creepy.

Rob: Increased transparency and overall benefits to the consumer. Facebook is transparent and provides tremendous value back to users - so much so, that over 2 billion users per month have no problem sharing their most personal data-points.

Are there any technological shortcomings currently holding data back? If so, how can they be overcome?

Gregg: Triangulating on optimization of flexibility, scalability and cost in big data solutions. It seems that almost all Big Data solutions fall short on at least one dimension, but we are close to having available solutions that will solve for all three.

Rob: Technically - I don't think so. I think the challenges are around the shortage of talent that can effectively train the tech to drive the desired outcomes.

You can see Rob and Gregg's presentation at the Big Data Innovation Summit on September 7 & 8.

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