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[PODCAST] The crucial challenge in this business is making things simple

Data Stories: Leaders at Work is a weekly podcast hosted by Rahul Jerome, founder of and The Insight Network, co-organised by Audiense. The series captures personal anecdotes and career highlights from some of the most talented and brightest minds in the research and insights industry.
On this episode of the Data Stories: Leaders at Work podcast, Rahul sat down with Noah Roychowdhury, the Global Head of Customer Intelligence at Colt technology services.

While studying economics and history, Noah met his wife, who would go on to pursue a career in academia. For Noah, however, he wanted to find something more rooted in “the every day.” He considered policymaking but ultimately found that it was market research and customer insights where he could find a way to use social science training in an everyday context. He credits his wife for turning him on to market research.

The Power of B2B

At Colt Technology Services, they believe in the power of b2b to connect large businesses to each other. As the Global Head of Customer Intelligence, Noah helps to inform and tailor the customer experience through the use of customer intelligence. Noah talks about occupying a “sweet spot” of customer information—where he collects data but then gets to use that data to improve customer experience.

Becoming an all-rounder: Agency vs Client

Speaking to his experience working on the agency side, Noah recounts the variety of projects he was able to work on, and how that may have played a part in rounding out his expertise. Some may suffer from becoming too deeply institutionalized in one sector, he says, which may hurt people from becoming more well-rounded. And the agency side helps to develop that sense. On the client side, the macro business is consistent, so it may help build stamina and deeper knowledge. The crucial challenge, according to Noah, is how to make things as simple as possible. The actual asset, Noah says, is being able to “walk into a room and boil a complex concept into its smaller parts.” This is incredibly difficult, he says.

Noah shares a bit about a book from one of his favorite authors, Murakami, to point out a similarity between the narrative style and how customer intelligence is harnessed—which mainly is from a plethora of vantage points, all linked together to tell a more complete story of the customer experience.

Mentorship and Mindest

While working at a government consultancy, Noah mentions a former colleague named Wendy, who served as a helpful mentor. Another mentor of his named Matthew played a pivotal role in developing his career acumen, and they remain close friends, today. Noah follows the sport – Cricket religiously. He also talks about the mindsets of popular cricket players and how they’ve helped him sharpen his own thinking habits.

Noah names the pencil as the one tool that he couldn’t do his job without. A great deal of his job grapples with uncertainty, so he recommends chucking the pen mentality in favor of the forgiveness of the pencil. Over the next three to five years, he sees customer intelligence building to the point of a kind of customer “romance”—a fanciful wording, but it underpins a whole worldview around how to tackle customer experience challenges.
If you’re curious, you like gossip, and you’re willing to take a chance— then this is your industry, Noah advises.

The full version of the podcast with Noah Roychowdhury can be listened to, here: