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Neil Carden, President of EMEA, Blend

Describe your career to date

 

My career is a somewhat random walk of accumulating skills and scars that have mostly focused on my passion for developing cultures and practices of evidence-led decision-making into complex operating environments. I blend client and supplier side roles together to get the best of both worlds. During that walk, I have moved from financial services to retail to CX to manufacturing, energy, and supply chain and found that data problems are very similar the world over. 

 

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?  

 

The noise around generative artificial intelligence (genAI) has been excellent for getting senior, non-technical people excited about data again; but that means that demand gets ahead of supply and patience is limited. As a result, demand for data engineering, good data management or modelling, and practical implementation skills is outstripping supply. Unless we get into patterns of delivering usable solutions brilliantly and sustainably with excellent governance and a good understanding of how our solutions work in the real world, we run the risk of being seen as unresponsive and blockers (like our friends in IT sometimes are). 

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

  • By constantly exposing them to new situations and challenges.  

  • By training them in technical disciplines but also in the skills required to be effective partners and change agents.  

  • By taking our own medicine and trying to practice what we preach in the operations of our business. By working in partnership with, rather than for, our clients and becoming a trusted advisor in the journey to deliver their vision. 

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

 

We see ourselves as the plumbers and carpenters of AI. We help our clients figure out what can and cannot be done and then build practical solutions. It is all about moving quickly with no regrets, modular architecture and ensuring that solutions are not vendor locked for the future. 

Neil Carden
has been included in:
  • 100 Enablers 2023 (EMEA)
  • 100 Enablers 2024 (EMEA)