Hello, I’m Tony Gosling, the new Director of Data, Analytics and Insight at DIO. This is a new function for us, so I thought I would explain a bit about what it’s all about, what I'm here to do and how I got here.
It’s been an interesting path to get here. My background is in IT and supply-chain benchmarking and process improvements, which often involved a fair bit of data and analysis. In 2001, when my work was hit by the tech crash I started doing big project turn-arounds including a few Royal Navy projects - HMS Albion, HMS Bulwark, and RFA Wave Knight.
I enjoyed the complexity and challenge of defence and worked more and more in the defence field, including the £1.4bn outsourcing of Tornado aircraft maintenance. I then spent a couple of years helping BAE Systems develop its data and analytics capability (known as Business & Solutions Modelling) effectively.
What I am here to do with Data, Analytics and Insight is essentially the same thing and puts all my experience of trouble-shooting, change implementation, working with the MOD, IT, data and modelling to work together.
The new series of The Apprentice is under way and they talk about that being “the longest job interview”. The final bit of my journey to getting here is rather longer than a series of The Apprentice. It was more than two years ago when I first heard about the idea of the Strategic Business Partner for DIO and thought it would be a great thing to be part of. I like big and complicated challenges and DIO is a big, complicated organisation that makes a real difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and to our military capability. Now I am here and have got to the fantastic challenge of helping develop our people and capabilities to deliver much better data and analytics for DIO.
Good data is vital. We need it to run our processes and give a good service. We need it to manage effectively and tell how we are doing. It helps us to make decisions and is used for business cases and all sorts of improvement activities. Good data is a strategic asset, with the DA&I function including things like data quality, data assurance and reporting.
Analytics is all about using data more effectively. That requires work to answer questions like “what could happen” and “what should happen” to decide which option is the best, to make business cases or to optimise solutions. This could involve spread sheet modelling, simulation modelling or other techniques. We have a great Geospatial analysis capability in DIO, as you'll know if you read Chris Maple's blog on the subject from earlier this year. This can layer information onto maps to bring location-based data to life and bring things like travel time into analysis.
Currently good data is hard to find, and we are lacking the capabilities to exploit it well. The challenge is a bit like an iceberg with a lot of work to do to get the data in place that then allows you to do the analysis that people see as the output.
The latest deployment of our new Infrastructure Management System will help a lot, but the system will only be as good as the data fed into it and the way the information is used. Good data, with the right tools to manage and exploit it, and good analysts and models to analyse it is what Data, Analytics & Insight is all about. That generates insight which we can use to help the DIO to speed up processes, cut costs, manage more effectively and deliver a better service.
I’m here to help DIO grow our data and analysis capabilities right across the organisation. I have been struck so far by how many dedicated and passionate people we have. These colleagues know what the right things to do are to get better data. If I can help these people succeed then we will get much better quite quickly.