How’s the appetite for Marks & Spencer’s food demand forecasts? John Bensalhia finds out from its data science chief, Callum Staff
Hungry for more information about Marks & Spencer’s food data science initiative? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
Heading up the company’s data science function is Callum Staff, who joined in April 2018 to set the team up. “We’re still relatively new, but we’ve grown pretty rapidly, which is great, because to me it’s a really good sign the business sees the benefits.”
Prior to M&S, Callum studied engineering at university, and then was a Civil Servant for four years, starting off on the Fast Stream Graduate Programme at the Food Standards Agency. Callum then moved to the Department of Education, where he set up a data science team there.
“For me, there are three things you need to make sure are in place before you get a data team in, and three things you need to get right to make sure the team is valuable once it’s in place,” says Callum.
“For a good environment to set a team up in, it’s data (having the datasets available for analysis to be done on), projects (making sure the questions that the organisation wants answered are best done through a data science approach), and culture (having the support mechanisms and exploratory approach to problem solving that means data science will flourish).”