May 28, 2020

The Data Bubble

Back in 2014 (not that long ago I know), I started my career as an eager, bright-faced recruiter in the Norfolk logistics industry. The data I was working with was very simple and certainly did not require anyone with the title of a scientist. If we had drivers free then we needed more shifts, if we had shifts free then we needed more drivers. How much more complicated could data really be?

It would be naïve of me to think that the data industry didn’t exist back then, Statista were reporting that Big Data market revenue alone was at $18.3 billion. [1]

Statista – Big Data Market Size Revenue Forecast 2011 onwards [1]

The ‘data industry’ not only existed but it was thriving, household brands were already collecting data on the obvious: what was being bought, who was buying it, when they were buying it and why they didn’t buy more. Alongside this, the less obvious: we permitted our smartphone or desktop applications to collect the data on what we are searching for without completing a purchase. This data can be used to build a consumer profile and push a certain purchase via targeted advertising or highlighting needs we didn’t know we had.

Data personification

Data has developed into a huge backdrop to any successful enterprise and continues to climb the ladder of importance, working in the background, and ensuring constant innovation. Collecting, tidying, and presenting data to key stakeholders to drive strategic decisions; these are all key functions but they are not seen by a consumer – we only see the end result.

Of course, keeping to the standard recruiter blog theme, I have to liken this to a sportsman… right?

I am going to go with arguably the most criminally underrated football player of my time and the absolute embodiment of ‘behind the scenes’ work: Sergio Busquets. Key in orchestrating the team from a deep-lying role and leaving the creativity and plaudits to the fashionable players. The foundation upon which the all-conquering Barcelona sides of late have been built. 

‘If you watch a game of football you will never see Sergio Busquets, if you watch Sergio Busquets you will see the whole game of football’ – Vincente Del Bosque. The very same can be said about the consumer-driven data that shapes the online world we rely on so heavily today.

Our current situation

Almost 400 words in and coming towards the light at the end of the tunnel, we come to address the elephant in the room how will COVID-19 affect the data market?

From a recruiter’s point of view, it seems to be in a bubble. If you read the headlines it appears that businesses within certain sectors are coming and going on a daily basis and with this comes a widespread redundancy of once key professionals. This does not appear to be the case for those working within data, companies are having to make critical decisions and strategize effectively based on huge stacks of information, and with that comes a whole new opportunity for my sector – very much leaning on the age-old adage of ‘with crisis comes opportunity.’ Statista predicted a $56bn revenue in the Big Data market for 2020 and although this is likely to falter, we are still seeing the same steadfast approach to innovation and growth.

The message from AIQU remains clear and unwavering. Adapt to the situation. Remain positive. Persevere.

We will not only recover from this situation; we will show vast improvement on the other side. 
That is one thing that I am sure the data will show.


[1] Statista –