Interview with Aji Ghose, Head of Research & Analytics, Sky – The Future of Client Insights

Ray Poynter & Aji GhosePosted by Ray Poynter, 17 June 2019

Radio NewMR is conducting a series of interviews with key players from client-side insight functions to create a clearer picture of the changes that are taking place around the world.

In this interview, Ray Poynter chats with Aji Ghose, Head of Research & Analytics, Sky.

Click below to listen to, or download, the interview with Aji Ghose.

Key points that Aji makes during the interview include:

  • Insights at Sky have been changing over the last five years, there used to be about 750 people serving insight needs from all over the organisation.
    • Now the team focuses on Exec-only questions, with a team of about 80 people – tackling exclusively strategic questions.
    • The focus in on questions from the C-suite.
  • The tactical research is now either dealt with by departments, or by external suppliers, or is no longer required because the business has become more streamlined and focused.
  • The team do about 20% of the analytical research in-house, but they do a huge amount with large and small agencies.
  • Aji’s team tackle data science and quantitative market research, qualitative market research is provided by a partner department.
  • Core topics include conjoint, maxdiff, segmentation etc, but more recently social media has been of growing importance.
    • In the past social media would not have been within the purview of market research.
  • The team’s work is typically integrated with the work of other departments that focus on things like econometrics or customer analytics and creating consultancy pieces.
    • The things that go to the Exec are not standalone market research reports, they are insight and consultancy reports.
  • The concept of ‘market research’ can be useful at the start of a project, for example to define what market research can add to the other sources, but as the project proceeds the boundaries tend to disappear and it is a single project.
  • The changes at Sky have had a major impact of on how Sky work with external providers such as market research agencies.
    • The work has become less compartmentalised, which means that agencies who really understand Sky’s business are more useful than more generalised agencies.
    • About four years ago Sky used to work with about 300 market research agencies and now the list is about 35.
    • But, the amount of spend has increased.
  • On the analytics and data science side Sky have partnered with start-ups, many of who would not see themselves as market research companies.
    • But who may be leveraging market research tools such as eye-tracking.
  • Looking forward to the next couple of years, Aji predicts a lot more focus on data-driven storytelling.
    • Using multiple sources of information and blending them so that the Exec can make decisions based on the report.
    • Consultancy, storytelling and data visualisation will be even more important.
    • A federated data science, where teams in other departments are more able to meet the needs of their teams.
  • Aji has been involved with the MRS in terms of the industry’s initiatives with data science, for example providing feedback on what market researchers and market research agencies need to do a bit differently.
    • A lot of data scientists have a real problem understanding what market research data is and how market research data is different.
  • Agencies should use more open-source techniques, rather than hiding behind black boxes.
    • The algorithms are not really the secret sauce of the agencies, the design of the research is the special extra they add.
    • This sort of openness would really help integrate agencies into the solution.

Other Posts in this series
This interview is part of a series we are conducting, see list below

Aji Ghose

More about Aji Ghose
Aji is responsible for a team of 25+ data scientists, researchers, analysts and developers within the Strategic Insights group dedicated to Exec-only projects. He primarily specialises in the design of complex quantitative modelling studies to address concrete and actionable business decisions. Aji is also extremely passionate about all things related to Neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. Aji holds a PhD in Computational Cognitive Modelling, specialising in developing large-scale machine learning simulations of semantic processing (text and image).

Aji regularly lectures for the MRS on a wide range of topics such as Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science and Neuroeconomics. He is also a board advisor at the start-up Chattermill, which specialises in applying artificial neural networks to customer feedback data to help make more customer-centric decisions.