Carly Lund is Chief Digital and Data Officer at YSC, a boutique professional services firm that specialises in leadership consulting, helping organisations identify and develop the leaders they need to achieve their business goals.
“I always say there are two sides to psychology. There’s the side that is very people-centric side: really wanting to understand people in more depth. And then there’s the other side, which is the statistics and the data, and science that sits behind a lot of the theory. YSC has been very much on the people side of things, and the need for technology or data within that process has been relatively limited until the last few years.”
Carly has worked for many years on psychometric tests – personality tests, ability tests, situation and judgement tests, for example. She often bridged the gap between the technical element of building the tests and working with clients to get the best out of them.
“After joining YSC, I was asked to look after a particular service. And when you look after a particular service, you’re always looking at room for improvement. How do we make this better for our clients? Are there things that our competitors are doing that we should be thinking about? Where’s the market going, and how do we evolve this?”
Harnessing the power of data
Carly felt that the obvious thing to do was to use data and technology to develop her service into something that could be market leading and bring measurable benefits to clients and to the business.
“We realised that there was a much bigger opportunity around technology and data. And it became apparent that we needed a technology partner and a data science partner.”
Carly was looking for a partner that could help think through the best way to gather, store and use the data she wanted to collect. She also needed a company to build out the technology platform, digitising the company’s offering and putting data at the heart of the business.
“The thing that was really exciting about this opportunity was that we can start to use the data that we have on leaders, their teams, and the broader organisation to deliver some personalised insight that can turn the dial in terms of the change that we can initiate in an organisation.”
Data at the core of innovation
Like many of Red Olive’s customers, YSC was in part looking for ways to do things better, and in part being driven by client demand.
“We are under increasing pressure during proposal processes and in conversations with our clients to show innovation, and the measurable impact we can deliver. And the only way to prove that impact is by ensuring data is at the heart of our consulting processes.”
“The other part of this process is about efficiency,” says Carly. Our face-to-face delivery takes up an incredible amount of time. By building our data system, we’ve been able to give our consultants some time back.”
“We are now collecting a lot more data. And so, we can start to run that back into some of the models that we’ve built. Now, we are looking at a 10% time saving now for any one consultant working with a client, which is pretty good across the number of these assessments that we would deliver every year. But we could probably push that up far more to something like 50%, which would be hugely valuable.”
Working with Red Olive
Red Olive has been working alongside YSC to develop a sophisticated data modelling and data science programme. This has improved the organisation’s data quality by 100% and is opening new services and solutions for YSC’s future business strategy,
“Working with Red Olive has been incredibly helpful. My team is all new into the business and have come from other sectors. Working with Red Olive has brought in all this in-depth experience and expertise. That’s given us a fresh, completely independent view on what we’ve got, what we need, and what we can do with it all. And of course, we benefit indirectly from Red Olive’s work in other sectors.”
YSC is at the early point of its data science journey, having set itself up to collect data that it didn’t have access to before. It’s an ongoing process that will support continued transformation for the business.
“I think we’re already starting to see some of the efficiencies come through in terms of delivery,” says Carly. “Having a data strategy, understanding how we want to build up our data sets, evaluate the different data that we want to bring in sets us up to have a very different, data-driven conversation with our clients. It’s already very valuable, and it’s only going to get more so as we move forward.”