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Jason Foster

Jason Foster, Chief Executive Officer, Cynozure

Describe your career to date

 

My career in data has been an evolving journey. It started with a vocational degree at university, where I explored the intersection of design, systems, and technology in business. I then worked as a Business Analyst and Project Manager, focusing on technology and data solutions for marketing, operational research, retail store operations, contact centre management, and more. Later, I moved into a consulting role in a niche data firm, where I advised organisations across sectors on how to use metrics to run and manage their business and build business intelligence solutions. In 2013, while leading data transformation at M&S, I felt the need for an authentic, human-to-human relationship-based company that focused on supporting organisations to achieve their data potential. So, I left the comfort of the corporate world and set out to build that business. I recognised the company needed to be a business with heart that acted and behaved differently from the traditional players in the space. That company became Cynozure. It took four months to land Cynozure’s first customer, soon after came the second. Since then, Cynozure has been named in Times’ 100 fastest growing companies in 2022 and 2023 which is a reflection of the brilliant team, customers, and industry that we serve. Throughout my career, I have really tried to be champion and steward for the positive use of data. 

What challenges do you see for data in the year ahead that will have an impact on your clients and on the industry as a whole?  

 

As artificial intelligence (AI) has gone mainstream, it poses both threats and opportunities to the data profession and strategies. The opportunities come in the pace in which businesses can now use data and model driven technologies to deliver benefit and improve an organisation. Data becomes a differentiating factor, a USP, for an organisation when plugged into generative AI (genAI) solutions. The threat is that there is likely to be a jockeying of position for leadership in AI – the CTO, CIO, CMO, CDO and those in transformation and innovation – all vying to deliver. The CDO needs to step forward quickly if they are to take a lead. 

How are you developing the data literacy of a) your own organisation and b) your clients? 

 

Through our CLEAR framework, we support clients to build a more robust understanding, strategy and approach to developing a data-guided culture. The E in our CLEAR framework stands for education and it is about equipping people across the organisation with the mindset, skills, and tools they need to use data and insights to help make decisions. Internally, we learn by doing and iterating – constantly using data to guide our decisions and putting data in the hands of the team to set strategy, run the operations, and drive growth. 

How are you preparing your organisation and your clients for AI adoption and change management? 

 

We are quickly becoming an AI-first organisation by applying AI tools into many of the things we do as an organisation; from supporting our meetings, to generating copy, to checking and testing our code, and bouncing ideas around with an external party. It is saving us time, effort, and making us more agile. For clients, through our AI Springboard suite of services, we are helping to educate and get alignment at the Board level, developing a response and strategies to AI and getting hands on with building and implementing AI solutions. 

Jason Foster
Jason Foster
has been included in:
  • 100 Enablers 2020 (EMEA)
  • 100 Enablers 2021 (EMEA)
  • 100 Enablers 2024 (EMEA)
  • 100 Influencers 2022 (EMEA)
  • 100 Influencers 2023 (EMEA)