Royal Mail

PROUD SILVER PARTNER OF WOMEN IN DATA UK 2018

Why we’ve partnered with WiD UK 2018?

Royal Mail has championed women in business for many years, particularly in our own male dominated business. We’ve encouraged women in operational roles to ensure we have a diverse and inclusive approach to this environment.

Working with Women in Data UK is an obvious continuation of our encouragement of women. As the government and educational institutions promote women in science and technology, this initiative is crucial to ensure the data industry is not left behind.

Spotlight on Emma Swift

Name: Emma Swift
Job Title: Head of Metadata and Data Quality
Expertise: Information Management, Architecture, Business Intelligence, Logical Data Warehouse
Education: BSc (Hons) Mathematics, Statistics and Operational Research

Emma already has an association with Women in Data UK through being part of the 2017 campaign for Twenty in Data and Technology. Being part of the campaign allowed her to use her experience to help females maximise their potential and steer their careers forward – extending her own personal development since the event to take up mentorship roles within and outside of work. She heartily recommends attending the conference as the agenda cuts across many of today’s issues that women face and it is very likely you will learn something new.

Emma has been with Royal Mail for over two years and has just left her second stint as an Enterprise Architect for a FTSE100 company to focus on Metadata Management and Data Quality. She views these capabilities as critical to managing and governing data (particularly now that high volumes, variety and velocity of data are commonplace) to make accurate and better business decisions. She considers the best thing about working at Royal Mail is “the breadth of opportunity to make change happen and use data to improve the customer and employee experience”.

Her own career success lies in her ability to understand and empathise with issues faced by various audiences that interact with data within and outside the business. But this does not mean she has all the answers – “I’ve had multiple data / IT roles in my career that bring the benefits of experience to the issues of today. However, these roles demand different skill sets now so listening is very important to help resolve or define a solution. Royal Mail has given me the freedom to play to my technical strengths and my passion for data and I can’t wait to see what is next on the horizon”.

Spotlight on Marilyn Sheehan

Name: Marilyn Sheehan
Job Title: Business Solutions Lead
Expertise: Business Analysis, Information Management, Project Management, Business Intelligence
Education: BSc (Hons) Pharmaceutical Chemistry, MSc Computer Science

Marilyn has worked in data and analytics for over 15 years with a number of FTSE 100 & 250 companies, and is known for her drive and proactivity in building strong business relationships. She ensures that opportunities with data are exploited fully to help push the business forwards.

Having been at Royal Mail for over 3 years her current role focuses on the early stages of large projects, in shaping, defining approach and resourcing needed to ensure a successful delivery.

She is also the co-chair of the Royal Mail London women’s network and a key part of a new initiative within Royal Mail’s technology function to improve diversity & inclusion.

Earlier in the year, Marilyn was nominated for Royal Mail’s ‘Vote 100 campaign’ which showcases the enormous contribution Royal Mail women make to colleagues and customers each and every day.

Chief data officer Robert Kent nominated Marilyn for her lead role in Royal Mail’s first big data programme, using GPS data from Postal Digital Assistant (PDAs) to gain visibility of outdoor performance (time taken for deliveries & collections routes) and enable commercial opportunities.

‘In every sense, Marilyn has been the face of a programme of firsts. She has to deal with complex subject matter and pressure from a range of stakeholders including myself as this is a high profile initiative and she does it with humour and a smile.

‘Marilyn takes everything in her stride whilst maintaining a high level of diligent professionalism. She is active in the Women’s London network and does all she can to promote women in the workplace.

‘I think Marilyn is an excellent role model to the women in IT and anyone male or female who comes in to contact with her.’

Spotlight on Kat James

Name: Kat James
Job Title: Deputy Head of Data Science
Expertise: Data Science, Statistics, Modelling, Hypothesis Testing
Education: BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences (Genetics), MSc Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis, DPhil Genomic Medicine & Statistics

Kat started her career in data working in medical research, developing statistical solutions for the challenges presented by rapid improvements in DNA and RNA sequencing techniques, including a DPhil at Oxford and a Post-Doc spent in Kumamoto, Japan. She then transferred her statistical knowledge to industry. Working as a Data Scientist at British Airways and Aviva, she tackled the challenges of destination recommendation, contact centre personalisation, Next Best Action and natural language processing for contact centre interactions.

Kat has been with Royal Mail since June 2017, working on a variety of projects including AI and IoT devices and has also been instrumental in growing the Data Science team to its current headcount of 22. She is passionate about the power of data to transform industry and drive innovation, especially in an organisation as large and complex as Royal Mail. She particularly enjoys the diversity of work, data and people at Royal mail, saying: ‘From a personal perspective I love working in my team, we are diverse across all fronts, made up of people from all backgrounds and many countries. In terms of projects, there isn’t much that we don’t cover, and we have almost every data science problem you can imagine!’

Kat is passionate about encouraging and promoting diversity in data. She has mentored young data scientists, contributed to panels, blogs & white papers discussing the problems businesses face in attracting and supporting diverse talent and she often participates in university events, encouraging early stage researchers to follow a career in data. She is looking forward to hearing about different experiences and making new contacts at WiD.

How do Royal Mail see the data landscape changing in the UK in the next 5 years

We expect the next few years to be tough and yet at the same time full of opportunity. Much of the noise surrounding the enforcement of the GDPR has created not only fear, uncertainty and doubt for many organisations but also confusion.

As this settles down the whole area of data and analytics becomes full of new opportunities. The amount of data held has grown to unparalleled levels, and the key now is to ensure that data is held securely and ethically, and is harnessed to deliver quantifiable value to businesses and individuals, not only in marketing and operations but also in business strategy.

Data and analytics form the bedrock of business. So, as companies accelerate their digital transformation and data strategies, we must harness new technologies such as AI to realise the true value of this priceless resource.

About Royal Mail Plc

Royal Mail Plc is the UK’s postal service and courier company, originally established in 1516. The company operates the brands Royal Mail (letters) and Parcelforce Worldwide (parcels). General Logistics Systems, an international logistics company

Royal Mail Data Services work with our customers to help drive more value from data and improve marketing performance.

High-quality customer data drives business growth. Research shows that the accuracy of customer data decays an average of 30% each year, with 70% of businesses suffering from out-of-date and incomplete data. No wonder maintaining accuracy is a top priority for marketers, especially under the General Data Protection Regulation. Our trusted data solutions make sure you collect accurate data from the start, maintain its quality and help towards compliance.

Successful marketing campaigns are underpinned by high-quality, permissioned data. We use the power of data across all channels, from email and mail to telemarketing. Combining reliable sources of consumer and business data with a wide range of targeting intelligence, you can deliver to the right people at the right time, to meet your marketing targets and driving business growth.