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Simply Do Ideas

How does a business get smarter? Cardiff University helped Simply Do Ideas to get better insights from their data, leading to crucial business change

Cardiff-based Simply Do Ideas are a small software company with big dreams. They focus on the concept of crowdsourcing solutions to strategic business challenges.

Working with clients to identify their key issues and challenges, Simply Do Ideas fire challenges out to both internal employees and external organisations, sourcing solutions to drive transformational change and the development of new products, processes, and services. Essentially, they help their clients access innovative solutions to build a better business.

As you can imagine, Simply Do Ideas have a lot of data! And, as their Head of Research and Development, John Barker, recounts: “We do a lot around the front-end of our platform, around engagement and getting people onto the platform, but do more with our existing data to provide a better service for our customers.  We knew that we needed to build on our expertise with the support that could help us on our process of discovery.”

Simply Do Ideas’ Chief Technology Officer, Will Webberley, was awarded his PhD from the School of Computer Science & Informatics at Cardiff University. He was eager to initiate a collaboration with the DIA, who provided the company with additional support as Will commented; “The collaboration enabled us to build on our existing skill set and make the most of customer data.”

So, what was it that Simply Do Ideas needed help with? As John elaborates: “After carrying out market research into our competitors I realised we could do more. We found that providing bespoke reports to our clients took up valuable staff time and could be automated. We had data which we knew we could turn into something more valuable for ourselves and for our customers if we could apply the latest cutting-edge data science.”

Following up on an ad from the Welsh Government, the team at Simply Do Ideas knew that the DIA could offer the support needed to make better use of their data.

During the seven month project, the data science team were able to take the unstructured data collected from responses to challenges and surveys posted by the company’s clients and turn it into intelligent, sorted and sifted information by utilising automated methods, natural language processing and artificial intelligence. This has allowed Simply Do Ideas to offer their clients much more advanced business intelligence, presenting insightful data in a visually interesting and meaningful way, using features like sunburst diagrams and word clouds.

John reports: “I’m now pleased to say we are at a place where we are using artificially intelligent processing and related technologies to ensure that our clients are getting access to real-time, top quality reporting. They’ll now be able to make actionable business decisions immediately, explore data at a much deeper level and be able to engage with insightful data in a fun, stimulating way.”

Describing what this solution looks like in real terms, John describes how their “clients will be able to access things like viable health and wellbeing solutions for their employees, and discover previously inaccessible insight into the nuances of their workforce or external networks. They’ll understand different themes across their business and different pockets of activity, providing transparency and highly advanced business-intelligence. And this can lead them to developing and implementing better products, processes, and services, allowing them to thrive within the innovation ecosystem, and leading them to business success”.

Now at a pivotal point in their journey, John elaborates: “The impact of working with the DIA has been massive for us. In the shorter term we’ve developed critical capabilities in terms of data-processing, artificial intelligence and data-visualisation, but in the longer term our eyes have been opened to the world of data science and the impact it can have for us, both internally and for our hugely valued clients.

And what’s more it’s paved the way for future research and development work with Cardiff University as we look to further develop our data science capabilities, and collaborate with Cardiff Business School on national funding opportunities.”

He adds: “We are always on the lookout for graduates to employ and regularly use Cardiff Uni to recruit tech talent. We find that the calibre of their computer science graduates is exceptional – they are well-rounded people with superb computer programming skills.”

With nothing but praise for the DIA team, John says that “they are absolutely tremendous; we were really impressed. They were super professional, listened to our needs, delivered on time, and have set us on an exciting journey, where we can truly say ‘sayonara’ to our competition!

I would say to other SMEs thinking about engaging with the DIA, ‘you’re not only going to get first class technical/ academic support but also superb business support, delivered on time and to the quality desired’. I highly recommend!”

Well, it’s certainly an exciting time for Simply Do Ideas, as the DIA have not only opened the door for them, but also fast-tracked them on their journey. And there’s really no limit to how wide this net of success can be cast, as Simply Do Ideas’ success invariably means success for their clients, as they equip them with the tools to innovate and improve. It seems the sky’s the limit and Cardiff University wishes them every success and looks forward to our continuing relationship.