Connecting data is good connecting people is better

Why collaboration between different cultures means better results.

This month, Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, is visiting India for a series of events, organised by the Manchester India Partnership and the trade body MIDAS.

The idea behind the visit is to celebrate the best of collaboration between Manchester and India in areas like technology, innovation, culture and tourism. The Mayor will be joined by leaders from Manchester’s business and public sectors and, together, they’re going to learn about all the incredible opportunities in India, show off all that Manchester has to offer Indian businesses and, in doing so, strengthen the relationship between the two.

At MiQ, this is a topic close to our heart. Our Centre of Excellence in Bangalore is the epicentre of everything our business does. It’s where our 200-strong team of super-smart data scientists, analysts, and engineers crunch numbers, run regressions and use razor-sharp technology to produce the killer insights that mean we can run kick-ass campaigns for our clients.

And no one benefits more from these insights than our team in Manchester. Since we opened our office in the North West of the UK, it’s been growing at a rate of knots thanks to the blossoming of the media and advertising industry in the region led by the creation of Salford’s Media City.

So, when organisations like the Manchester India Partnership run events to sing the praises of connecting the two, we’re really, really into it.

Connecting the world

Our business is fuelled by connecting massive quantities of data in order to find insights. But for that to be useful for our clients, it’s essential we connect our people. Siloed teams lead to all the same problems that you get from siloed datasets.

In other words, it’s no good if our team in Manchester is planning, running and optimising a campaign in isolation from the team in Bangalore that’s uncovering all the juicy insights.

That’s why we’re set up for connecting people as much as we are for connecting data.

To lift the kimono a little, when we work on a project, we’re structured in pods. So, for instance, in Manchester there’ll be a solutions person and a trader, and in Bangalore there’ll be an analyst and data engineer. They work together on a daily basis, often more closely than with people in the same physical office, so insights are fed into campaigns and optimised completely seamlessly.

To establish and maintain the closeness of these teams across oceans, continents and timezones, is a tough challenge. We all know the difficulties of conference calls, echoes on the line, and the circling wheel of a weak connection. That’s why – as much as possible – we get our teams together in the same place, visiting different offices to meet people face to face, learn new ideas in a different culture, and bring their own perspective to people who wouldn’t otherwise get to share it.

A great example of this is the recent exchange we ran between Manchester and India, where Jitendra Parihart, our market lead for EMEA in Bangalore, moved to Salford swapping places with Ben Wright, a solutions engineer from Manchester relocated to India.

As Jitendra said: “There’s so much value in the human connection. Being in Manchester really helped me get to know the team I’m working with and the clients I’m working for much better. We can have all the best technology – artificial intelligence, machine learning, and so on – but human ingenuity is what makes the difference. That’s why it’s so important not just to integrate with the team professionally, but get to know their favourite places for food and having a beer. It makes having great ideas easier.”

We can’t wait to welcome Andy Burnham and the rest of the Manchester delegation to Bangalore on October 9th, and we’re really excited to see what other great ideas get made possible by more connections between India and Manchester.