Houda Koussa, general manager/owner of Archers in the United Arab Emirates, found it comforting to learn that the cultural challenges of moving to a Big Data-focused media company are common across the globe.

“That makes me feel at ease, like I’m not the only one going through the fight where I’m coming from,” Koussa explained at the Big Data for Media Conference in New York City in 2016. 

Learning about the “baby steps media companies used to get their Big Data strategies where they are today was helpful. Also, learning about what kind of organisational structures media companies were putting in place helped her plan Archers’ strategy.

“When we’re putting the Big Data project in our group now, we were confused. Do we put it under the research department? Under the media? Do we have the head of data science in charge? Are the researchers in charge? What is interesting is ... News Corp has a different approach than Hearst, and Hearst has a different approach than Bloomberg. And they all work as long as you understand your key strategic objectives.

Another key takeaway was learning how to sell Big Data projects to management, which starts by identifying “quick wins.

Archer is new to Big Data: “We have 64 sources of data that work in silos, and ... ever since we were founded 25 years back, we just work as a typical research department. We have some syndicated research from here and we have some primary research that we conduct. It’s only recently that we managed to put a strategy in place for Big Data.

Archers has done its homework, Koussa said, identifying different sources available and key initiatives that should be worked out, as well as quick wins that will have a good impact on the business.

“Now we are at a stage where we are starting to build our Big Data architecture, the Big Data warehouse, and trying to bring all the sources into one place.

Big Data for Media Week 2017 is happening this week! Check INMA.org for coverage from London.