Building a Killer Data Science Team… What 2021 Taught Us And Why We Are Excited About 2022

December 28, 2021

Ozgur Dogan, President & Co-founder, Data Science Solutions

2021 has been a year that I will remember for a long time. At Blend360, we use the concept of a flywheel from Jim Collins’ book ‘Good to Great’ a lot…In 2021, we have seen our flywheel go into high gear and start spinning faster and faster.

What Happened in 2021

· We tripled the size of our Data Science Solutions team. On one of the walls in our headquarters boardroom, lives the words of famous race car driver, Mario Andretti: ‘If everything seems to be under control, you are not going fast enough.’ Well, we went very fast in 2021! We expanded the size of our team in a tough labor market by bringing some great talent on board. Working with such a talented group of analytics, tech and strategy professionals is very exciting and energizing.

· We expanded our Maryland Delivery Center and started new delivery centers in Denver, CO and Hyderabad, India. The data science and engineering talent pool is global, and our approach is to access top professionals wherever they are located. The acquisition of Engagement Factory, based in Netherlands, has also given us access to top talent in the European market.

· We launched new capabilities like Measurement, SEO and B2B. The launch of these capabilities helped us expand the sandbox and allowed us to go mile-deep in certain areas of specialization. Measurement is one of the areas we are enhancing,positioning Blend360 to be the independent, unbiased measurement partner for leading brands in the marketplace.

· Our 2021 client survey showed a 76% NPS score, which puts us in a world class category. According to ClearlyRated, the third-party independent company that conducted the survey, this is 2X the industry average.

· We landed 20+ world class brands as new Blend360 clients and increased the number of our active clients to 45.

· We have been able to bring our team to the office using a flexible schedule, which helped us strengthen our community. It was great to see colleagues face to face again. And our Party Planning Committee organized several events throughout the last six months to celebrate milestones – which was very energizing!

What We (Re)Learnt

· Data Science, Data Engineering and Business Intelligence continue to be ‘fast currents.” Covid caused an acceleration in the demand for data driven solutions as we saw need spike for each of these services in the post-Covid world.

· We landed great people first, and then landed great clients and projects. Commitment to this belief has proven itself through faster growth. Our relentless pursuit of top talent has helped us go faster and scale our business and team.

· Data Science, Machine Learning and AI produce meaningful return on investment. We have seen this repeatedly in the form of increased revenues, reduced costs, or higher company valuations for our clients when they raised new capital. This year showed us that if we apply Data Science and Engineering to the right use cases, we always generate meaningful, measurable return on our clients’ investments. We have seen a lot of our clients double down on their data science investments as they saw clear evidence of measurable ROI along the day.

· Data Engineering is embedded into almost every Data Science solution we deliver. Data Science produces the ROI, and the operationalization of Data Science through technology creates the multiplier effect. For one of our clients, we launched an ‘always on’ streaming analytics application where leads coming from multiple sources get scored by our real time machine learning algorithms. We were able to drive significant value for our client by focusing their investments on high value lead sources.

· Our client is always our hero. We are big fans of the book ‘Storybrand’ by Donald Miller. In the book, Miller talks about the customer being the hero of the brand story. When we view our customer as the hero and ourselves as their guide, we become a key character to help them along their journey. So we think of our clients as Luke Skywalker – and we get to be Yoda. This did not happen a lot but every time we hit bumps on a project, our entire team came together, taking an All-Hands-on-Deck approach. Each time, we encountered one of these challenging delivery situations, we saw our team step up, turn things around and convert the challenge into an opportunity for our clients.

Reasons to Be Excited About 2022

I am excited about the growth opportunities in 2022. We will continue to evaluate opportunities to expand our footprint and add more capabilities. We may indeed do that, but we will double down on our core capability areas: Data Science, Data Engineering and Business Intelligence.

We will expand and build new delivery centers across the US and world, to increase our capacity so we can serve our clients in a bigger way. We will compete for new client work, but we also compete for the top analytics and tech talent in the marketplace. We are committed to building a killer team at scale by hiring one great player at a time.

I’m excited about our journey ahead as machine learning and AI become major transformational forces in business ecosystems. Technology is moving at the speed of light in our space, and I’m excited about the opportunities to impact our clients’ businesses in a bigger way by leveraging newly emerging technologies.

I’m grateful for the trust each of our clients put in us to help them guide and grow their businesses. Our team takes that responsibility to heart – and we are looking forward to partnering with them and co-creating solutions that will impact their business in a meaningful way.

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