MATTHEW HALL — ANALYSE THATWednesday, April 07, 2021
Some people shudder when they hear the word coding, and others are not sure how to explain data analytics. But for Matthew Hall, his cool and calm demeanour masks how passionate and knowledgeable he is as he explains the ins and outs of software development. During an interview with Digital Life, the advanced analytics specialist gives details on the escapades that brought him to a career dedicated to computer science. Although wearing the hat of an app developer, he explains that his passion lies with data science which gives him an opportunity to “drive business strategy” by using data to determine customers' needs.
With both a bachelor's and master's degree in computer science, Hall has collaborated with a few companies to create various applications that enhance customer experience. However, he believes a lot more can be done to improve application services, hence his career path to advanced analytics specialist.
“Apps are really for customers to interface in a way that is easy and convenient for them. But at the same time you always have to provide quality service and data helps you to [do that],” he says. He believes one question that should always be asked when building an app is “what's next?”. Hall's view is that by understanding customer sentiments and observing how products are performing, the changes needed to improve these products will be evident.
In addition to apps created through collaboration with enterprises, Hall is creating his own to assist motor vehicle owners. At the same time, in keeping with his belief that there is more to application development after creation, he is now providing his data analytics skill to National Commercial Bank. “Data analysis is a small subset of the data science area. If we look at data analytics it's really trying to understand, based on what has happened historically, based on data you would have, what happened [and] why,” he shares. “But when we start looking on additional levels, additional steps, we have to look at 'can we predict something, can we prescribe action based on what we were able to predict'. So that's where data science comes in, using artificial intelligence called machine learning.”
Hall stresses that the digital transformation of companies requires more than changes to business systems.
“We also have to change the mindset of people because digital transformation doesn't work if people [don't buy] into it,” he explains. He also notes the importance of engaging employees. He believes digital transformation is an inevitable process for companies and, post-COVID-19, they should not revert to the analogue processes previously used. Hall thinks Jamaica is adapting to doing things digitally but not fast enough to compete internationally.
In another indication of his preference for data use, he points to the e-commerce sector and urges faster adoption by businesses and consumers of online payment options. “There is a segment of customers that still can't settle payments in Jamaica. Maybe we do a bank transfer or something like that, but if we [are] thinking globally you really want to open it up in such a way that persons can use their credit card, debit and prepaid cards,” he shares. “Those things are coming out faster and faster [in] different economies.”
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