Posted on December 8, 2017 by staff

Ex-Marine says ‘make data your secret weapon’


A former Royal Marines intelligence officer is using his experience from helping Special Forces connect data to their missions in his new tech business.

Graham Hogg was inspired to launch his digital platform Connectworxs from his time as an intelligence specialist stationed in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and the Arabian Gulf.

The company was established 18 months ago and has already attracted well-known clients including the likes of Royal Mail, GE, Dyson and Goldman Sachs.

Drawing upon a 15-year career in big data – beginning as a Royal Marines intelligence officer stationed in Afghanistan, Hogg strongly believes that fostering a data-driven culture throughout all aspects of a daily business is the way forward.

“It’s all about asking better questions,” he tells BusinessCloud. “If your teams in your organisation can ask better questions to data, you are going to be successful.”

During his military career Hogg’s job was to help frontline Special Forces teams connect data to their missions.

He says the incentive was all about building understanding so they can innovate and adapt around a complex situation.

“I then went into business and realised that organisations are really struggling with this,” he said.

“Companies have lots of data and an advanced skillset but they’re struggling to connect it to frontline decisions.

“We wanted to build a software solution that teams can start using to close the gap between every day projects and business decisions and data – and it’s all about asking better questions.

“Some of our clients just don’t know where to start because they’re compiling so much data but many of them are struggling to scale that cultural or behavioural change across their organisations.”

Hogg says it’s all about shifting behaviour in teams across businesses and about the quality of interaction between them.

“If you think about the cognitive diversity in a meeting, where you might have a data scientist, a member of the marketing team, a new graduate and a business leader – the way they work with data together is of critical importance.

“Unfortunately, a lot of data specialists come into organisations and they speak a different language.

“There are all these kinds of semantic gaps between data teams and business teams and if organisations can really close those language gaps and find common tools to use then they’re going to be much more effective.”

Connectworxs, which operates from offices in London and New York, was established 18 months ago and has already grown to a team of more than 30.

“I’ve gone from leading 36 Marines to about 36 software developers and designers, so it’s a bit of an interesting career change,” Hogg told BusinessCloud.

“I lead the growth side of things and my business partner Toby Hunt, who is our chief product officer, is building out the product team.

“We’re very excited about continuing to grow with our UK and US clients, 2018 is very much about those two markets. But because Connectworxs is such a scalable product we’re also quite interested in global expansion in a few years from now.”