In March 2020, businesses in the UK were forced to pack up their office operations and shift to full-time remove working. This can be particularly difficult for data science teams working on highly complex projects. Our technology enabled a busy data science team in one of the world’s largest media companies, transition to effective remote-working.
One of the world’s largest media companies, serving some of the biggest names in advertising across 106 markets worldwide.
In March 2020, the company’s data science team – like thousands of others in the UK – was forced to pack up its office operations and shift to full-time remote working.
Six months earlier, the company had invested in Faculty Platform to help its data science team create highly complex modelling solutions that optimise the cost and effectiveness of digital ads.
With dozens of data science projects already in full swing, the data science team could hardly afford to slow its pace while working from home. It was clear that an extended period of remote working would be an intense stress-test for its new software.
Faculty Platform – already a key pillar in the data science team’s day-to-day work – quickly became vital for keeping key processes running smoothly.
Onboarding new users remotely can be a significant challenge for data science teams, largely due to the difficulty of setting up initial environments for data scientists working from laptops. New data scientists usually need to work with colleagues to manually identify the team’s preferred components and build environments themselves.
However, with Faculty Platform, the company’s new hires found that they could load the exact specifications used by their colleagues via a shared environment and begin contributing to projects straight away. By offering a central store of curated environments maintained by the company, Faculty Platform allows the company’s data scientists to easily build organisational knowledge on team best practices and common problems. For instance, the customer created sample templates for creating web applications that integrated with their data sources, allowing new data scientists to quickly get started building data-driven dashboards.
The Platform was designed to integrate tightly with the company’s wider IT infrastructure, centralising several complex processes in one interface. Where each data scientist previously completed jobs in a way that suited their personal preference – using their preferred pieces of software – data scientists now default to using Faculty Platform for most of these jobs. As a result, data science teams can now share and implement ‘best practice’ processes with one another, without needing to adapt the process to fit each data scientist’s personal infrastructure. This is particularly important when data scientists are working remotely and need to transfer information as clearly and efficiently as possible.
Without the opportunity to work side-by-side, demonstrate techniques, and easily take control of computers and screens, the company was aware that it could be difficult for senior data scientists to debug issues with code created by more junior team members. However, the team found that Faculty Platform allowed senior data scientists to easily view the problematic code indicated by a colleague, set up the right environment to run that code, find the credentials for accessing data, and quickly spot and resolve issues.
Over the last few weeks, Faculty Platform has been a driving force behind the company’s smooth transition to remote working, with one executive at the company describing the platform as a ‘lifesaver’ when working from home.