Harry Clarke, Avinode’s Senior Commercial Analyst, relocated from London this past January to join the Avinode team at our headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden. Here he breaks down the glories that await more data-driven approaches to decision-making and gives us some insight into Avinode’s data-related projects, such as the revamp of our Business IQ webshop.
Hey Harry! So what lured you to Avinode and this position of Senior Commercial Analyst?
With Avinode, you’ve got aviation on the one side -- which is a really fascinating industry -- and then you’ve got tech on the other side, which is always on the forefront. So you’ve got one company which has got both of those interesting things, and combine them together so you’ve got key interest plus drive and modernity. And then when you actually meet the people here, it becomes clear that it’s a good place to be.
You worked for easyJet before. What experience and expertise are you bringing in from that role?
Avinode strives to be a data-driven organization -- to use data to make decisions. I’ve come from a place where you have so much data it’s ridiculous. Think of how much data you have in an airline. So having a lot of data doesn’t phase me, which is good, but you have to analyze it.
How are you going to be working with data in this position?
The first thing we’re doing is moving to a new platform and making sure we’ve got the data we want and it’s set up and organized so we’ve got one source of the truth. We moved over to Power BI so that we can interact with our data easily all the time, and the best thing - anyone in the company can do it. As a salesperson, you can pull a report, see trends and identify where you can improve things. In the long term we can start thinking more about data science and doing some cool stuff with that.
Like what kind of cool stuff?
For example we could use machine learning to make a better search engine on Avinode or some smart revenue management tools. I’ve seen at my last job how you can use data science to really make a tangible benefit. So we can definitely apply some of that here. But that’s the future.
What does the “commercial” part of Commercial Analyst imply?
So, the commercial part is supporting the teams in reaching their revenue targets. That is, making sure they have the right reporting so they can see what they’re doing. That’s kind of day to day, but then when it comes to projects, providing analytical support to make the best commercial decisions. So for example if you were changing your business model you’d want to analyze your data. Rather than saying we should do this based on gut-feel, we can look at the evidence - the data - to see what it's suggesting us to do.
You’re taking the lead on the overhaul of Business IQ, can you tell me about what you’re doing there?
So one thing we can explore in the future is more, better, more insightful reporting through the webshop. We see a lot of potential particularly around providing pricing reports. We can aggregate all the pricing information that we get, and we can see trends in the market about how people are pricing certain routes or in certain countries. Then members could easily consult a Business IQ report to make informed decision about what jet they should buy, or how they should price their aircraft.
Alright, enough data and business! What do you do in your leisure time?
Explore my new home! It’s exciting when you move to a new country. In England, when you go swimming, you go to the pool, but in Sweden you go to a lake or the ocean. So I’ve really gotten into wild swimming. The accessibility to the outdoors in Gothenburg is so good, which you don’t have when you live in England because it’s just very busy. I’ve gotten lucky because I’ve been here full time this winter when it was snowy and icy. I was able to take off cross country skiing and ice skating on lakes. All really cool stuff that you can’t do in England!