Oakland Group


Evolving the next generation of analytics

Parcel2Go is the UK’s leading parcel delivery comparison website

Offering collection and delivery services throughout the UK, Europe, and worldwide.

Operating in such a data-rich environment, Parcel2Go had made solid progress with its foundational data capabilities. Despite these early gains, the leadership team were keen to drive even greater value from their data assets as part of a strategic Value Creation Plan.

With its competitive market position and attractive portfolio of customer solutions, Parcel2Go was in a strong position.

In terms of data, they had developed a data infrastructure and possessed a variety of talented data professionals across various functions.

The starting point – ‘where are we?’

By modern standards, Parcel2Go had already achieved a great deal but was still keen to build on its foundation of past success and look to the future.

Parcel2Go invited Oakland to help chart their next phase of data-driven growth, starting with a comprehensive ‘Data Capability Assessment’ and data strategy roadmapping activity.

Oakland was invited to support the growth journey based on our expertise in combining business process change and operational transformation with proven models for rapid data-driven value creation.

An accurate and independent assessment of current data capability was critical, along with a data roadmap and strategy that would dovetail neatly with strategic goals.

“Parcel2Go needed a partner to look across all aspects of the business, not just data in isolation. They also needed a blend of strategy and execution in the form of ‘Thinkers and Doers’. The right mix of data and process people who understand the business but also strategic thinkers who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and lead.”

Rob Oakland-Director

Executing the Data Capability Assessment (DCA)

Every client is unique, but our DCA process at Parcel2Go followed a familiar Oakland approach:

  • Assessing capabilities required to support current
    and future business/data/technology/regulatory
  • Identifying strengths, gaps and areas of criticality
  • Highlighting immediate risks (and opportunities)
  • Providing a high-level roadmap and a defensible
    case for investment

Despite the impact of Covid and the need for a remote DCA, the Oakland team successfully collaborated with Parcel2Go to deliver a thorough DCA that highlighted key recommendations across:

  • Data and Business Strategy Alignment
  • Data Architecture and Systems
  • People and Capabilities
  • Business Process and Data Governance
  • Capability Delivery Structure/Operating Model

Within a broad set of recommendations, the following areas are excellent examples of where Parcel2Go was committed to innovation and progressive change.

Predicting the future

One of the exciting possibilities we observed was the opportunity to predict and prescribe customer behaviour instead of solely reporting on past events (as is common in most data analytics operations).

With more advanced statistical modelling and data science capabilities, Parcel2Go could provide a step change in predicting customer behaviour with products and services in the future, enabling teams to make smarter decisions across areas such as marketing, customer retention and pricing decisions.

Increasing lifetime value, customer experience, and profit optimisation were essential targets for the Value Creation Plan, so new approaches to analytics would be key drivers.

Parcel2Go had the data – they just needed the right data capabilities to put their data to work in more creative ways

Building a modern (and self-sufficient) data capability

Parcel2Go had been playing many of ‘the right notes’ with their past data skills selection, but now they needed more order and structure around their data teams and capabilities.

In addition to the data science requirement noted earlier, the DCA highlighted the potential benefits from a ‘Hub and Spoke’ delivery model so that central data specialists could devolve subject expertise across all key functions.

The DCA also called for an operating model to clarify the ownership, roles and responsibilities between IT, Data Architecture and Data Analytics.

Importantly, when working with clients, we aim to accelerate self-sufficiency and build internal capabilities that remove the need for longer-term partner ‘lock-in’. We recommended a structured data training and development programme to accelerate independence and develop a capability roadmap to attract, motivate and nurture the right talent.

Our recommendation also highlighted the need for a clearly defined ‘Head of Data’ position to ensure the integrity of company data and its analysis, together with leadership oversight for developing a highly professional and cohesive team.

Data governance and quality for growth

Parcel2Go recognised early in our time together that, far from being an administrative burden, initiatives such as data governance and data quality management would significantly enhance their data and analytics capabilities.

Everyone recognised that building confidence in the reporting and analytics output would be central to unlocking greater value from the data and achieving the aims of the strategic Value Creation Plan set by the board.

Parcel2Go readily agreed that maturing data governance wouldn’t just be a ‘one-off’ tactical fix but a shift in data culture towards a more data literate and ‘data aware’ organisation that would value data as an 

Business and data alignment – the data strategy roadmap

The board had set out a clear mandate for growth in their Value Creation Plan.

To support this key strategic requirement, our DCA recommended the need for the data strategy to align the different strands of existing data capability whilst setting out a new direction for data.

Shaping and communicating the data strategy would become a key task for the incoming data leader.

Creating the foundation for accelerated growth

Parcel2Go accepted the capability assessment findings and began implementing the recommendations, particularly the data strategy and analytics activities.

It soon became apparent that Parcel2Go would benefit from interim data leadership and data science support to help speed up the capability development process and maintain the pace of their data aspirations.

Oakland was able to provide an interim CDO/Head of Data resource along with one of their own senior Data Scientists to deliver an immediate (but shortterm) resolution to the specialist staffing gaps.

Delivering data leadership impact

By using our key staff, Oakland could start to design and implement a cohesive data strategy that leveraged our many years of data and process transformation.

Having delivered multiple data strategy and capability initiatives, our team recognised the need for immediate tactical improvements that
demonstrated value to the business whilst offering solid data foundations for continued strategic growth.

For our interim Head of Data resource, this meant a busy period of finalising and communicating a twelve-month data strategy roadmap whilst developing a data Target Operating Model (TOM) to build momentum in preparation for the arrival of the permanent Head of Data.

Team development began in earnest through mentoring and skills sharing, combined with a detailed training plan that charted the skills development pathway for current and future team members.

Evolving the next generation of analytics capabilities

With Oakland’s new data science resource providing interim support and guidance, the analytics team began to target some ‘quick wins’.

Financial forecasting had relied on a complex array of spreadsheets, making it time-consuming to develop the reports and challenging for users to find critical insights quickly.

Oakland began by automating the financial forecasting models, making it faster and simpler to ‘slice and dice’ the data at the touch of a button.

The increased automation and ease of use immediately benefited the user community, who appreciated a smoother and more accurate decision-making experience.

The next job was to build a customer segmentation model (in PowerBI) that provided deeper insight and decision making across the varied customer profiles in the business.

Better segmentation led to a deeper understanding of customer behaviour, intelligent churn indication and more accurate prediction of future revenue.

What next for Parcel2Go?

Following a successful interim period, the Oakland team delivered substantial gains across multiple data analytics use cases, helping to validate the benefits of data science and predictive modelling.

Oakland contributed to improvements in Parcel2Go’s customer experience and journey through a better understanding of segmentation, customer analytics and buyer habits.

The interim Oakland data leader helped to expand and develop the data team whilst successfully running the process of hiring a leadership replacement before smoothly handing over the continued rollout and communication of the data strategy roadmap.

Most importantly, Parcel2Go now has clarity on what’s required to sustain data-driven growth in the business through highly skilled teams, modern data infrastructure, robust data governance and clearly defined business processes.