Leaders in Tech | Reading: Does size matter? Big Data Deconstructed

 
Leaders in Tech | Reading: Does size matter? Big Data Deconstructed
 
On the 13th September we hosted one of our most successful events today in which we discussed the benefits and trends of AI, Big Data and Machine Learning.
We discussed how to draw much deeper insights into our data, understand what motivates our customers and what slows down our production lines.
We identified that businesses leveraging big data and machine learning, can expect to see a marked improvement in their KPIs. For those not yet using big data, the biggest barrier is simply not knowing if the benefits are worth the cost and effort.
Adding machine learning and cognitive interactions to traditional business processes and applications will enable greatly improved user experience and productivity.
 

 
We were very lucky to have some excellent speakers on the night – covering a very diverse scope of topics:
Riki Dolby, Director of Engineering at InfoSum spoke about how data-driven business intelligence delivers tangible business value and competitive advantage.
Jon Stanesby, Director of Product Strategy at Oracle covered key points around what A.I. can teach us and what our knowledge can in turn effect A.I.

Ross Verrall, Senior Developer at Nvidia discussed the concept of demystifying the Deep Learning that is sweeping across multiple industries and is shaping the reality of day to day businesses
Ray Noppe, CTO at Advinia helped shed light on the impact of AI on the lives of people suffering with Dementia. This thought provoking talk gave a different perspective on the use of A.I. in day to day care.
As part of this we were able to entertain a huge number of Leaders in Tech with a four course wine and canapé tasting that proved an overwhelming success.
 

 
Thanks again to our speakers and all who attended our Leaders in Tech meet up held at our Reading HQ. We very much look forward to seeing you at our next event!

London Magento Users Group – F*&k Ups!

 
In our September instalment of London Magento Users Group, we will be hosting a F*&k Ups! Night. We will have speakers get up in front of a room full of strangers to share their own professional f*&k up. The stories of the business that crashed and burned, the partnership deal that went sour, the product that had to be recalled, we want them to tell all.
Agenda for the evening, as follows:
18:30 – 19:15 Arrive, network, eat and drink!
19:15 – 19:25 Introduction from Emma Gilder, Co-Organiser, Austin Fraser
19:30 – 19:50 Tom Robertshaw, Ecommerce Evangelist, Space 48
“Over the last 10 years, I’ve gone from being a Comp Science student to a developer, to an agency owner, to an ecommerce evangelist. This has given me the opportunity to fuck up in a range of roles and responsibilities! All that practice means I’ve now gotten the hang of how to royally screw up a situation. So whether you want to overwrite production DBs, get removed from client Christmas card lists, or offer two for one hot tubs to all your client’s customers, come and learn from the best in the business.”
19:55 – 20:15 Speaker to be announced shortly…..
20:20 – 21:00 Network and drink some more!
We are the proud sponsors of the London Magento Meetup and co-organisers for the last 6 years. We’re here to listen, advise, and ultimately, to help organisations perform better.
Get your free ticket here: https://www.meetup.com/magento-london/events/254207661/

Leaders in Tech | Reading: Does size matter? Big Data Deconstructed

 
We’re very excited to bring you the third instalment of Leaders in Tech | Reading.
Why is Big Data a game changer?
It allows companies to draw much deeper insights, understand what motivates customers and highlights what slows down production lines. It allows businesses simultaneously to deliver highly personalised experiences to millions of customers.
Businesses leveraging big data and machine learning often see a marked improvement in their KPIs. For those not yet using big data, the biggest barrier is simply not knowing if the benefits are worth the cost and effort.
Adding machine learning and cognitive interactions to traditional business processes and applications enables greatly improved user experience and productivity.
As you evaluate your strategy, gather and use as much data as possible to build a deep understanding in four areas:

Your customers
Your competitors
The external factors that impact you
Your own product(s)


Meet your speakers
Jon Stanesby | Director, Product Strategy, AI Apps, Oracle
Jon has 18 years’ experience working in Customer Experience, Marketing & CRM and now leads Product Management and Strategy for the Oracle Adaptive Intelligent Applications team, focusing on AI capabilities for Customer Experience. Jon has worked with some of the largest brands in Europe including John Lewis, B&Q, Lufthansa and Philips to drive value from their data to transform and personalise the customer experience. Jon has worked in Science and Technology his whole career and endeavours to honour the scientific method in his work – often referencing these in his written and presented material.
Presentation | What AI has taught me about data, and what data has taught me about AI
Big data is dead, long live big data! AI is the latest tool in the mix to aid almost all parts of a business. From supply chain to consumer personalisation – AI is being proposed as the must have technology to adopt in the next two years. But, what does it really take to develop AI for business problems? And what data needs to be connected to make AI work? Should you be wrangling data and employing an army of data scientists now in order to get ahead? Jon will discuss these, and other common challenges in this dawn of AI maturity, and help you prepare for moving forward into this new era.
Ross Verrall | EMEAI Services Lead for Artificial Intelligence and Enterprise Solutions, NVIDIA
Ross Verrall heads up NVIDIA’s Artificial Intelligence platforms which provide a complete ecosystem for tackling the world’s biggest challenges. He is a problem solver with a strong passion for understanding leading edge technologies and ensuring it can be successfully leverage to achieve both business and societal gains. Ross feels incredibly lucky to be a part of NVIDIA at this exciting time to help usher in the benefits of the emerging Artificial Intelligence solutions.
Presentation | How? What? How‽
AI sounds great, but put simply how does it work? Ok, got the how, but what can it do today, not in 10 years? Wow, didn’t know that! How do I get started?
Riki Dolby | Engineering Director | InfoSum
Riki is an experienced senior executive, with a proven track record of growing and maturing organisations at the same time as successfully delivering highly innovative products and solutions.
Presentation | Connecting the customer data dots in a dangerous world
Data-driven business intelligence delivers tangible business value and competitive advantage. Second-party data partnerships can significantly enhance the opportunities to build this intelligence. Riki will explore how to maximise the commercial value of data while dealing with the challenges of business trust, control over data and end-customer privacy. In particular how, for the first time, decentralised customer data platforms are enabling businesses to collaborate over big data using business models that were not previously possible.
 

 
… and exclusive wine tasting
To make the evening that extra bit special we’re partnering with Reading’s Tasting House who will be showcasing some interesting and unusual wines throughout the evening. Catering for all tastes the varieties available to try will range from indulgent bubbles, crisp whites, velvety reds and some unexpected dessert wines. From beginners to aspiring sommeliers, you’ll leave inspired and informed as the Tasting House’s Manager, Jack Overbury, will introduce each selection. The wine will also be thoughtfully paired with a selection of snacks and nibbles.
A little bit more about us…
Leaders in Tech is a global community that started in Munich. It has now spread to Berlin and Reading and we will soon be launching it in the US.
This is a community for CTOs, CIOs, VPs, Heads of IT and other senior technology leaders to get together and discuss current tech trends.
If you are a senior technology leader, this is an opportunity for you to meet with fellow technology leaders from established and/or innovative businesses. To share best practices, discuss up and coming advances in technology/methodologies & generally connect with like-minded individuals with similar interests and challenges.
How to find us…
We are located in Thames Tower, directly opposite Reading train station. If you are arriving by car, you’ll be best off parking in the adjacent NCP car park (https://www.ncp.co.uk/find-a-car-park/car-parks/reading-garrard-street/), or The Oracle. (https://www.theoracle.com/visitor-info/parking)

Leaders in Tech Berlin: Liberating Structures and Unleashing Innovation

‘Leaders in Tech’ is a group of senior execs and thought leaders who get together to discuss current tech trends, share knowledge, learn new things and network. We have created thriving local communities in Munich, Stuttgart, Berlin and Reading, UK.
Our Berlin launch event was held at VW Digital Labs on 23rd November 2017. Eric Heymann, Vice President Engineering at FlixMobility Tech GmbH (FlixBus), gave an interactive presentation on the journey to a fully independent, agile team. 
Our next ’Leaders in Tech’ event on the 30th August will focus on Liberating Structures and Unleashing Innovation.
As a leader of so-called self-organised teams, you may be struggling to find the right balance between giving directions and letting the team find their own ways.
We all rely on tools and frameworks that help us to do a better job in our day to day, which in our case consists of leading complex team dynamics that cannot be influenced in a “command and control” management style.
So how do we deal with that?
The Liberating Structures framework provides you with 33 new tools you can rely on in case you want to allow a group of people the freedom to facilitate their own collaboration.
Join Thomas Strecker, Branch Manager at Codecentric AG and Marcel Wolf a leading trainer and coach in exploring the Liberating Structure concept.
Starting with key terminology and “design patterns”, we will be conducting a guided interactive ‘Liberating Structure Experiment’ to further understand best practices and key overall benefits to the business.
If you would like to find out more about maximising the productivity of you team, discuss this and other current trends with your peers, and expand your network, then register for the upcoming ‘Leaders in Tech’ Meetup —-> https://www.meetup.com/Leaders-in-Tech-Berlin/events/253124682/

16th in the Austin Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2018

16th place in the Austin Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2018
We did it! We placed 16th in Austin Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2018 and we’re super proud of our placing. Being recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Austin means so much to us.
 
We are so proud of every team member for helping make this happen! When you work with great people around you, you can achieve extraordinary things.
 
It’s our third year being a finalist in this prestigious award and since last year’s nomination, we’ve become even better at listening to our people. We’re committed to creating exciting and rewarding career opportunities and building closer relationships with the communities we operate in.

DJUGL is back

DJUGL is back!
Our London based Python/Django community is busy preparing for the 3rd instalment of the year, being held on 17th July 2018. For full details about the event and to book your free place click here.
 
For those new to DJGUL, we’re linking up great companies and developers of all levels within the Python/Django space. We meet quarterly for engaging tech talks and conversation. It’s a fun social event for developers who are keen to expand their knowledge, share news, niggles and of course meet new people. Jamie Janner, Python Consultant for London, explains how being a part of this community can have a positive impact on your career: “It enables developers to experience a more 360 view of the community and understand new technologies, best practices & other roles & avenues available to them in their careers.”
 
So whether you’re looking to upskill, speak in front of your peers or learn something new – join our community and become a Djugler.
 
Our London team of specialist tech Consultants have immersed themselves in this community. With their unrivaled technical knowledge they’ve been helping to run Djugl and support developers and companies who use Python and Django, since 2008. Austin Fraser’s own Python Consultant, Ross Lewis explains: “It allows us to be a face and have a presence within the communities we engage with day in day out. We are able to experience the industry through their eyes and hopefully learn more about the work they do. In doing this, we are able to connect on a deeper level”.

Jamie Janner – [email protected], Ross Lewis – [email protected] and team will be on hand during the event, so book your free place, grab a beer and slice of pizza and let’s talk.

Austin Fraser secures top 20 ranking in Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200

Austin Fraser secures top 20 ranking in Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200
Celebrations are set to take place across all Austin Fraser offices, following our second consecutive placement in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200. 2018 sees us come in at 20th in the ninth annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 league table, which ranks Britain’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales.
 
Growing our international presence
How have we achieved this? In the qualifying two year period, we’ve seen exponential international growth, with revenue rocketing up over 115%. Global locations have doubled in the past 18 months, too, opening offices in Berlin, Denver and Dallas. And we have more ambitious plans for Europe and the US in place.
 
Strategic leadership
As many of you will have seen in the media, earlier this year, we announced a significantly expanded leadership team, with the aim to propel Austin Fraser’s organisation’s global growth. At the same time, the business has been developing deeper relationships across our specialist sectors across Technology, Automation, Aviation and Life Sciences industries
 
Strengthening our culture
International growth comes with its own set of challenges. So we were delighted to see other regional players like the Bullit Group and Westcoast in the league table.
We’re a people-led business to our core and have nurtured a culture that supports, fosters and rewards success. As a recruitment partner, our teams are genuinely motivated by a core desire to ensure both our clients’ and candidates’ success. We couldn’t be prouder of every team member for making this happen and look forward to celebrating and thanking everyone in person.

Austin Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2018

Austin Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2018
 
Hey y’all! We’re so excited to announce we’ve been recognized as a finalist for Austin Business Journal’s Best Place to Work for 2018!.
Our Finalist placing acknowledges that we go the extra mile for our teams.
 
Being recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Austin is so exciting for us and is credit to our culture and belief that our people are at the heart of our business.
 
Our success is creating a truly inspirational environment for our teams to work in every day. Our offices are designed to encourage collaboration and innovation in the way our team’s approach their work, allowing our dynamic workforce the space they need to be brilliant.
 
We offer an exclusive incentives package to motivate and make sure our people love what they do. We never leave out the fun stuff, with our buzzing calendar of social events everyone can get involved! This is what creates a great place to work and progress, and together helps shape our Austin Fraser DNA.
 
It’s our third year being nominated for this prestigious award and since last year’s nomination, we’ve become even better at listening to our people. We’re committed to improving internal career pathways, building closer relationships in our communities and with our clients, we hope to smash our previous 6th place ranking and come out on top this year.
 
We’ll keep you posted on where we’re ranked when the finalists’ placements are revealed on June 22nd!

Next stop, Dallas: consolidating Austin Fraser’s US presence

Next stop, Dallas: consolidating Austin Fraser’s US presence
We’re delighted to announce our next new office opening in Dallas, Texas, scheduled for October 2018. This move will anchor Austin Fraser deeper in the US market, hot on the heels of our award-winning Austin, Texas office and Denver, at the start of the year.
We’d also like to congratulate Dallas team lead, Alina Brovko, who will relocate from Munich to build the new Dallas team and roll-out our growth plans.  Alina is a brilliant example of the career pathways available at Austin Fraser and our strong ethos of fostering talent from within.
 
How we evolve on the ground
As the fourth biggest technology market in the US, outside New York, LA and Chicago, and a concentration of established Austin Fraser clients located in the city, Dallas was the obvious choice for our third US office. With its flourishing start-up ecosystem of incubators, tech meet-ups and a strong Fortune 500 presence, it holds real potential for Austin Fraser. With our Austin team just three hours away too, it will allow for deeper collaboration, ensuring our networks and talent pools are harnessed for client success.
As with previous locations, it’s important to us that we are embedded in the local community. Our approach is about adapting and integrating, while staying true to our Austin Fraser DNA. We invest heavily in communities, creating longer-term relationships while developing an exceptional pool as well as new career opportunities internally.
 
International growth
This past 18 months has seen Austin Fraser double our global locations, with offices in Berlin, Denver and Dallas.  We scale our international teams with home-grown talent, while building a strong local talent pipeline.
As Alina explains “We’re seeing a lot of our clients with hubs across the US so for this market, it makes sense for us to support as many of those as we can, as we extend Austin Fraser’s presence.  Our business is about how we can help our clients grow. Being on hand, to build real connections and relationships really means that we can specialise as well as play an active part in the tech community here.”
Further expansion plans in the UK, Europe and the US are in place and we’ll look forward to sharing these later this year.

It is important to move with the times, but robots are not taking over completely!

It is important to move with the times, but robots are not taking over completely!
Iain McCulley, Senior Consultant, Controls & Automation specialist at Austin Fraser shares his view on the impact of Artificial Intelligence and advancement of technology in the workplace.
I have read a variety of articles on the advancement of automation and Artificial Intelligence and there is a wide variety of opinions, which is to be expected with anything that could have such a big impact on peoples day to day lives and careers.
In particular, there seems to be a lot of people concerned about the impact on jobs and humans losing out to robots in the workplace. In my opinion, this provides a perfect opportunity for us to review the opportunities we are offering to aspiring engineers. In particular, I believe there is a responsibility for our educational system to provide opportunities to develop a career within automation, while companies should also be thinking about apprenticeship schemes and how we can provide a platform for aspiring engineers to pursue a career within the industry.
We also have plenty of warning about how automation is developing and the direction we are heading, so for those in the industry already, there is plenty of time to upskill and consider all of the exciting jobs that will be created.
There is also a number of great examples of how humans and robots are working together already to advance efficiency and increase productivity, so rather than it being all doom and gloom, I personally think it is a great opportunity for us to embrace the development of automation and consider how we can play our part in the exciting growth of the industry.
As a business within manufacturing, I would also be considering how we could advance our knowledge of automation and ensure we have the right personnel in place to move with the times.
We have a Leaders in Tech: Reading event taking place on 3rd May for anyone wanting to dig a little deeper into the workings of AI and it’s capabilities to improve efficiency and generate return. It’s free to register, book your place here.

Thames Valley Tech Awards

Thames Valley Tech Awards 2018: Top Tech Employer

Thames Valley Tech Awards 2018: Top Tech Employer
 
We’re partnering with The Business Magazine to support the launch of the first ever Thames Valley Tech Awards, a celebration of all things tech in the area. We’re taking the lead on the Top Tech Employer as we have the pleasure of working with these game changers every day. If you think you have what it takes, please take a look at our criteria and follow the instructions below to apply.
 
Here’s what we’re looking for in the Thames Valley’s Top Tech Employer:
 
An innovative and inclusive culture
Tell us about the way you work, interact and collaborate as a business. How open are your communication channels, how approachable are the leadership team and what do you do to achieve this?
 
A clear brand identity
Are your employees aligned with your business values and how do the leadership team embody them? Are your people engaged in the work they’re doing and how do you know?
 
Investing in your people
People are the backbone of any organisation, how do you invest in yours? Do you support their personal and professional development with training and progression opportunities? How achievable is a work/life balance in your organisation? Do your people feel valued what are the levels of your staff retention in 2017?
 
Company benefits scheme
 
Do you just offer the standard benefits package or have you created tailored schemes to really differentiate yourselves from the competition? Are you regularly reviewing your offering or is it stagnated?
 
Giving back & creating a positive impact
 
How do you recognise your responsibility as an organisation to give back to the community and how do you engage your employees in this? Do you support charities and if so, how? Are you conscious of your impact on the environment and what do you do to minimise this?
 
Innovating in your space
What are you doing to implement creative working styles, are you using the latest tech to create the most efficient solutions for your business?
 
Talent attraction 
How strong is your employer branding? Do you value your candidate experience and how can you demonstrate this?
 
If you have a strong case for each of these areas, we’d love to hear from you.
 
Follow this link https://tvtechawards.co.uk/tech-awards-categories/ and download the Top Tech Employer Award application form (8th one down).
 
We look forward to receiving your applications and celebrating with you on the night.

2018, Brexit and the aviation industry

2018, Brexit and the aviation industry

As we enter the New Year the aviation industry is making operations planning decisions for the coming 12 -18 months and planning is made even more pertinent as Brexit negotiations continue. Clearly high on the government agenda, Brexit also rides high for the airlines of the UK and Europe owing to the fact that legal permissions that allow airlines to fly between the UK and the European Union are set at an EU level. As Christine Ourmières-Widener, Chief executive of Flybe recently said: “Although the UK will not leave the EU until 2019, there is a lot of work and negotiation to be done by governments on both sides,” she said.
 
According to a report in the Financial Times, towards the end of last year, if Britain left the single market, UK-owned airlines would automatically lose flying rights to EU airspace and would no longer be recognised for airworthiness certificates or parts. However, steps to alleviate such a significant shift in market dynamics which would place UK operators and service companies at a severe disadvantage are already well in train. The EU withdrawal bill (although not yet finalised) seeks to transfer much of the existing legislation across from the EU to the UK statutes. Nevertheless, there remains a challenge for UK aviation if the mutual recognition of certifications is not upheld.
 
Over and above all this, other significant challenges for the aviation industry this year include the rising cost of fuel and the ongoing issue of Air Passenger Duty. Nevertheless, traveler numbers overall continue to rise and the demand for both business and leisure travel overseas remains strong.
 
2018 will be a year of challenge for the aviation industry. Being agile and fleet of foot will be a key requirement. Will we know the definitive impacts of Brexit on Britain’s aviation industry by the end of 2018? We doubt it very much, but hopefully, the mists will be clearing. Those businesses who are able to adapt, cross-skill, develop and recruit great staff will be the ones to ride out the storm. Regulatory consultants who are able to advise and influence policy will certainly be one of the skill sets that are required.