‘On Your Marks’ Networking Series

11:45 - 14:00
Venue: Leeds University Business School, Yorkshire Bank Lecture Theatre (G.02)

Why Big Data is a Big Deal: It's not just about how much data we have,
but what we can do with it

Discussion led by Michael Whitelegge
Marks and Spencer, Senior Insight Manager

You are invited to the latest event in the 2014 On Your Marks Networking Series - bringing business and higher education together at the University of Leeds.

In today’s global economy data is produced and collected at an unprecedented rate, but what is that data and how can it be used by businesses to inform their vision for the future? Michael Whitelegge, Marks & Spencer Senior Insight Manager,  joins us to talk about M&S’ Big Data strategy, outlining how consumer data can help a business understand the different needs of its customers and how developments in data creation and technology, like internet retailing and social media, impact the M&S journey and vision.

Professor Mark Birkin will host the event, and offer an introduction to the Commercial Data Research Centre (CDRC), a £5m Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded project at the University. A national resource in partnership with University College London and supported by leading retailers including M&S, the CDRC will make data much more accessible for academics so they can carry out research that could shape the world around us. At Leeds, this data analysis will span a wide range of topics, from controlling the spread of epidemics to improving the transport system, to mapping consumer trends and tracing relationships between shopping habits and health.

Event Format

11:45am - Registration and refreshments

12:00am - Welcome: Professor Mark Birkin, Spatial Analysis and Policy, School of Geography

                 Keynote: Michael Whitelegge, Senior Insight Manager at Marks & Spencer13:00pm - Refreshments and networking reception

14:00pm - Close

About the speakers

Michael Whitelegge

Michael Whitelegge M&SMichael Whitelegge is a Senior Insight Manager within the M&S Information Management Leadership team. His main area of responsibility is data solutions within Marks & Spencer’s Customer Insight Unit. He is responsible for ensuring the implementation and continuous development of a robust suite of analytical systems, processes and data used to understand customer behaviour.

The Customer Insight Unit has the remit of providing the M&S business with actionable customer insight based on a blend of analytical processes and research based information.

During his time at M&S, Michael has been responsible for developing and implementing an Analytical Data Warehouse, a multi-terabyte data repository and associated analytical toolset. In recent months, he has been part of the team implementing the M&S Big Data strategy.

Following his Geography BSc and Masters in Geographic Information Systems at the University of Leicester, he has held previous roles over the last 20 years in different consultancy companies covering natural resources, transportation, oil and telecommunications.

Mark Birkin

Mark BirkinMark Birkin is Professor of Spatial Analysis and Policy in the School of Geography at the University of Leeds. He is currently Director of TALISMAN, the GeoSpatial Data and Simulation node of the National Centre for Research Methods, and together with Professor Paul Longley (UCL) he directs the Consumer Data Research Centre. He also has strategic responsibility for the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics.

As a geographer, Mark has a personal interest in the ways that Big Data can provide new and revealing ways into patterns of consumption, personal mobility, and retail and service utilisation within cities and regions. He has a commitment to practical and policy applications of academic research within both government and commercial organisations. His career includes nine years as the Research Director of GMAP Limited, working with clients such as Ford Motor Company, HBoS, Exxon, GlaxoSmithKline and Asda-Walmart.

Admission is free*, but places are limited. Please email onyourmarks@leeds.ac.uk to register.

*Please note that cancellations within 48 hours of the event will incur a £25 charge per delegate to cover costs. You may nominate an alternative delegate to attend without incurring any additional charges. All substitute delegates should be confirmed in writing to onyourmarks@leeds.ac.uk

Non-attendance of registered delegates on the day will incur the same £25 charge to cover costs.

Read more about: