Burberry employees graduate from Britain’s first in-house Data Academy with Decoded

Burberry was the first British retailer to run a pioneering two-year data upskilling program alongside Decoded, taking the opportunity to invest in our employees by enabling them to take the course alongside their day jobs.

The pandemic has accelerated changes in customer behaviour and historical data is less reliable in mapping present or near-future retail patterns. Upskilling our employees to make sure they can apply cutting edge data skills and techniques to tackle these challenges is crucial for our business. We are extremely proud of their success with this program.

Over the past 18 months, Burberry’s first Data Academy graduates learned some of the most prized skills in business, graduating with recognised advanced analytics qualifications. This gave employees the opportunity to learn cutting-edge data science techniques such as machine learning, data visualisation and coding in the programming language Python.

Mark McClennon, Chief Information Officer at Burberry, said: “I’m very proud of our employees who have successfully graduated from our first Data Academy. It’s important that we continue to offer people the opportunity to grow in their roles and develop new skills. Partnering with Decoded to help us build our Data Academy has been instrumental to keep upgrading data skills in line with the changing shift in consumer patterns.”

Kathryn Parsons, CEO at Decoded, said: “Burberry’s investment in the lifelong learning of its people is truly pioneering. Data skills have never been more critical to the future of retail. Machine learning and advanced analytics have the potential to make the way we do business exponentially faster, stronger and better. Burberry understands the importance of this and are getting ahead of the game. By building data skills in-house they are sending a powerful message about their commitment to future ways of working. Decoded is proud to be working with such an iconic British brand.”

Audrey Lowenstein-La Deda, Customer Data Steward at Burberry and recent graduate from the Data Academy, said: “Taking part in the Data Academy helped me expand my career opportunities. It has opened my eyes to new opportunities. By giving me the space to think outside the box, the program provided me with key practical tools which I can now apply to my role. For instance, I am able to leverage complex coding and forecasting models to systemise and automate GDPR processes of customer records”.

Vineet Bhalla, Head of IT Transformation at Burberry, said: “The Data Academy is an innovative way of developing our teams with business-critical data skills. Running the program has demonstrated the value that a data-driven approach brings across the IT department, teams can now apply their expertise to key areas like security, master data management and user adoption. Now that we are expanding the program beyond IT, we’re looking forward to seeing the impact future programs will have across Burberry as a whole.”

Building on the success of the 2020 Data Academy’s success, we will be running a second course in 2021, expanding the program across different departments.

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