Our data hackathon at Federation House

(Transcript) Alex Waters: So we are in Federation House in the event space. We are hosting the Co-op’s first ever data hackathon.

Data Hackathon 2017, we’ve brought about 50 data analysts from around the whole Co-op. From all the different business units, from different functions, they’re all together today working on some data challenges. We’ve got a few different ones. We’ve got ones around energy consumption, ones around internal costs, ones around using social media data. They’re being creative, they’re adding in extra data where they can find it, they’re not being asked to solve specific questions, they are being given the challenges to solve themselves.

Mike Yates: So, me and my team decided to work on an energy task. So a few teething problems at the start, as you’d expect, trying to get all the data and work out how to use the systems, but getting there now. We’ve potentially found a £27 million saving but I probably shouldn’t say that on camera, it’s probably not right! I need to double check the figures. But potentially, some exciting stuff that we’ve found.

Pralita McCourt: My team are working on looking at how the spend on travel and accommodation was across the business last year. So we’re looking at that 2016 data and analysing for any patterns and any cost saving measures that could be adopted for this year and next year.

Mike Yates: So we’ve got guys I’ve never worked with before, so 2 guys in my team they’re kind of more, what I’d say is back-end system guys and kind of architecture guys which is something that I never normally get exposed to so it’s great to kind of see how they think and how they work. I’d say data is everything in that, you know, we’re ultimately trying to understand people, that’s kind of a lot of what life is all about, and I think data’s a great way, it’s not the only way – it’s a great way to get some real insight into that.

Pralita McCourt: It feels good to be part of it, it’s exciting. It’s good meeting up with other analysts from across the business that you wouldn’t normally come into contact with on a day-to-day basis.

Alex Waters: Right now, I think it is probably the most exciting time to work in data in the Co-op than it has been for many years. I really do expect that as we go through the next couple of years the Co-op is going to get better and better at using data and it will be recognised nationally as a brilliant place for data.