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Belfast City

Analytics Expert Asks: Are You Making The Most Of Your Data?

Organisations of all sizes, and across all sectors, possess a powerful asset that can help them to gain competitive advantage, offer unique insights into their organisational performance, and enable them to ‘level up’ by making smarter and more informed decisions.

Although all organisations have access to this asset, many are not able to fully exploit it and leverage the opportunities that can flow from it.

According to Geoff McGimpsey, Marketing Communications Manager at Belfast-based data analytics specialists, Analytics Engines: “Every organisation produces and holds data. This can include transactional information, logistics records, staff timesheets, machine performance, product warranties, and more. When this data is appropriately captured, transitioned into a digital format, and analysed correctly, the organisation gains tremendous insights into its operations, its customers, and its external environment.”

Data can be a powerful and persuasive tool that can help decision-makers in organisations, as well as informing business strategy and reducing risk. Geoff provides the perfect example of the power of data – a data solution called ‘Precision for Pharmacy’ which is currently deployed for the Western Health and Social Care Trust at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Geoff explained: “We helped the clinical pharmacy team move away from paper-based record systems by co-designing a digital solution that enabled greater transparency and improved reporting methodology. The bottom-line was that the teams felt more empowered and they collaborated more effectively. Managers were also able to evidence the impact of the work they carried out.”

The Challenges of Digital Transformation

Organisational change is inherently difficult to accomplish. However, it remains the only constant in today’s dynamic business environment, and the powerful results of a well-developed and strategic change management plan should not be underestimated.

Analytics Engines has a wealth of hands-on experience in helping organisations develop their digital roadmap. He said: “I’ve found that quite often the biggest challenge businesses face when starting their data journey is properly understanding and correctly mapping out the problem they are seeking to solve. Organisations are aware that they have data, and they understand that it can help but they don’t always understand how. We work closely with businesses to help them understand their problem and to deliver a solution that properly meets their needs.”

For many businesses, there are some hurdles to overcome when implementing a digital transformation strategy, such as getting access to the right data at the right volume, managing it effectively, and getting buy-in from different functions across the organisation.

“Working with an expert partner such as Analytics Engines helps to demystify the process for organisations and gives them the confidence that their digital transformation roadmap is one that will be effective, with useful and positive outcomes that can have a significant impact on the organisation,” he said.

“We collaborate with a wide range of businesses and offer advice on a variety of areas, such as how to best source and present the raw data, how to cleanse it, and how to draw down those all-important insights.”

Increased Potential from Digital Transformation Opportunities

Digital transformation presents exciting opportunities for a range of business functions in organisations of every size and sector.

“Some organisations may feel that digital transformation is for more technically matured businesses only, or that it is only suitable to certain industries and sectors,” said Geoff, adding: “Digital transformation is so much more than an online presence. We guide and assist organisations to realise the value of their data assets and to identify where they could be missing out on real business opportunities.”

Often, it is in an organisation’s best interest to be receptive to new data and information.

“Many can combine their owned data with open datasets which can be incredibly enlightening and identify key trends and indicators that the organisation would otherwise have missed,” said Geoff.

With experts in data science, graph and text analytics, location analytics, data visualisation, artificial intelligence, advanced record linkage, legacy system integration, and custom business processes, Analytics Engines have helped organisations – from very varied backgrounds – to embed digital transformation with great success.

“We recently worked with The National Gallery in London as part of their digital transformation process. We pulled in a range of datasets to create a ‘single source of truth’ reporting methodology,” said Geoff. “The custom dashboard was rapidly adopted across the organisation, putting everyone in every department on the same page in terms of their reporting methods and their understanding of how visitors interacted with their exhibitions. We put the user at the centre of the solution – reducing system complexity and ensuring they could draw the greatest possible insights from their data to optimise organisational performance.”

Experienced in working with healthcare organisations, local and regional government bodies, biomedical science centres, the entertainment and media industries, the hospitality and tourism sector, and education and higher education establishments, there are few industries Analytics Engines have not worked with.

“We have the agility to design business intelligence solutions that provide our partners and clients with comprehensive insight that is capable of enabling change and quickly providing a return on their investment,” said Geoff.

Analytics Engines is also organising a major conference – Big Data Belfast – featuring business use cases and data analytics thought leaders drawn from local domain experts and multi-national organisations. The event takes place at the ICC Belfast on Thursday October 24 2019, and is sponsored this year by EY, as well as Dell, CME Group, Allstate Northern Ireland, SmashFly, SpotX, Altra Executives, Invest Northern Ireland and Signifyd. Find out more about Big Data Belfast and register to attend the conference by going to: https://www.bigdatabelfast.com

To find out more about Analytics Engines and how they can help your business, log on to: https://analyticsengines.com.

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Belfast City

Gala Dinner to mark 50th Anniversary of Famous Rugby Schools Cup Win

Pictured are the Boys’ Model 1971 Rugby School’s Cup winning team.

Belfast Boys’ Model School Bursary fund is set to host a gala dinner to raise essential funds for the educational charity and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the school’s Rugby School’s Cup win. 

The dinner, which is being held in the Europa Hotel at 7pm on Friday 8th October, will be hosted by BBC’s Mark Simpson and will look back on the Boys’ Model School’s major accomplishment of becoming the first and only non-grammar school to get their hands on the coveted Rugby Schools Cup.

To add to the celebration, the dinner will also remember the 25th anniversary of the “golden soccer year” in which Belfast Boys’ Model School swept the board in all football competitions across all age groups and recognise current cultural achievements at the School.

The event will also welcome special guest speaker, Frank Wilson, a former Boys’ Model teacher and player on the school’s winning team in 1971. Frank will look back fondly on and discuss his time playing at the school as well for Ulster and Ireland, the latter of which he wore the number 15 jersey in the 1970’s.

Former Head Boy, Head of the Civil Service and charity board Chair, Sir Nigel Hamilton expressed his joy that the dinner will be reflecting on and celebrating a key date within the school’s history:

“We are delighted that, after a tough year for everyone, the celebratory dinner will be a memorable event and an opportunity for former students, staff, friends and family of the Boys’ Model team to meet together and look back fondly on an important piece of history for the school and its players, past and present.

We’re thrilled to have a star studded line up of guests and to welcome Frank back home for a re-presentation of the Schools Cup which will be a very special moment for us all. Most importantly, this evening is about supporting our young boys to give them the opportunity and encouragement to excel. We hope that everyone comes out to support this worthy cause on Friday 8th October.”

Established in 2015, the charity provides bursaries to Boys’ Model pupils going into third level education, encouraging boys who are otherwise hesitant to pursue third level education, many of which are the first member of their extended family to go to university.

To date, the charity has provided funding of £61,000 to 25 pupils and this year will allocate seven awards.

Frank Wilson, former Boys’ Model teacher recognises first-hand the work of the charity and the effect the money raised has on the students involved:

“The bursary fund is essential in encouraging boys to raise their aspirations and help them further their education. The dinner will be a great night for all involved and a great opportunity to not only reflect on great times but also look forward to the future.

With the challenges of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we support young talent to further their education and open up more opportunities and we hope that this dinner will go a long way in raising much needed funding. It’s also a great way for us to connect with the local community and welcome more friends to the charity and we look forward to seeing old and new faces alike on the night.”

Guests are encouraged to book tickets early for what promises to be a great event for a worthy cause. To purchase a ticket for the event, visit here or email fund@boysmodelbursary.com

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Belfast City

Cathedral Quarter BID Celebrates Success Of Street Beat Police Presence In Area

An initiative that saw additional dedicated police officers patrolling Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter has been welcomed as a proven success story by Destination CQ’s manager Damien Corr.

The Ballot for the continuation of the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District (BID) is currently open until September 22. In an independent survey carried out in advance of the ballot, the Street Beat (#streetbeat) programme was seen as one of the key projects that adds value for businesses and organisations in the area, over 90% of respondents prioritised it for inclusion in the Business Plan for the next 5 years.

The StreetBeat officers are paid for by the BID and are additional to the normal policing provided by PSNI. The initiative was a direct response to local business owners’ concerns regarding antisocial activity within the areas. 

BID manager Damien Corr said: “As the businesses are paying for the service, it was essential that they felt in ‘control’, accordingly the officers have a designated phone which our Cathedral Quarter businesses can call direct 07787432635. This ability to bypass the general PSNI Switchboard is key to a more effective localised response.”

The officers patrol the area on foot and in their distinctive CQ street beat branded vehicle, dealing with anti-social behaviour and criminal activity. They also visit premises offering practical security and personnel safety advice and equipment.

StreetBeat PSNI officer Michael Gillies added: “Being given the time and support both by the BID and PSNI management, I have been allowed to focus my work specifically within the Cathedral Quarter and its needs. 

“This has helped to strengthen relationships already made with businesses and also to forge new ones. It’s back to basics Neighbourhood policing, only this time the neighbourhood is my local business community”.

However, the future of the scheme in the Cathedral Quarter relies on a ‘yes’ vote for a new five-year term for the Business Improvement District organisation Destination CQ.

With ballot papers already issued and voting by post closing on September 22, Mr Corr is keen to remind voters of what could be lost without their votes.

“The BID levy payers have told us that they really appreciate the work done by our Street Beat officers who, between them, have provided 2080 extra policing hours targeted patrolling,” he said. 

“They were particularly effective over lockdown when lots of properties were left unattended. Our officers continued to patrol, checking on closed business premises and providing assurance and practical assistance to those who continued to work.

“It is a simple reality, that unless we get a yes vote in the ballot, aloof this additional targeted policing will be lost to Cathedral Quarter.”

Sorcha Woolsy, Operations Director of Beannchor with a number of businesses in the BID area said the BID has carried out a number of projects that have impacted the Beannchor suite of businesses.

“The one that really stands out to me is the provision of the City Centre Beat Officers,” she added.

“It’s a really good example of an initiative that a BID can provide that an individual business could not on their own. 

“For me, it is imperative to vote yes on the re-ballot of the BID. The collective energy and brainpower and money of a group of businesses all pulling in the same direction for the betterment of this area will inevitably gain better results than individual businesses doing little bits and pieces on their own.”

For more information on the work of Destination CQ and Street Beat go to cathedralquarterbelfast.com or contact Damien Corr on 02890 314 011.

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