Meet the Teckheads: James McNeill, Director of Data Practice

Tecknuovo
Sep 18, 2022
  • 4 min read

In this Q&A series, we’re introducing you to the Tecknuovo team who make it all happen at our London Bridge HQ. This week we spoke to James McNeill, our Director of Data Practice.

What is your role at Tecknuovo, and how would you describe it in two or three sentences?

I lead the data and analytics practice here at Tecknuovo, and I’m here to help our customers solve their challenges with data. Working with the rest of Tecknuovo, we bring experienced data experts to bear on our customers’ data-related challenges.

What’s the most interesting development you’ve seen in your field in the last few years?

It’s been very exciting to watch the rise of Machine Learning (ML). Not in terms of replacing humans with robots, but rather of how we use data and analytics to make humans’ work even more effective. I’m particularly interested in predictive analytics — using what happened in the past to predict the future will give us both better decision making and better-supported people.

What are you most excited about in your field in the coming years?

Again, this comes back to better decision making: I’m very excited about data and analytics’ potential to massively improve healthcare by looking for patterns to detect early signs of disease. It’s not only about diagnosis, but very much about prevention, which is by far the most efficient way of improving people’s lives through healthcare.

What made you gravitate towards a career in tech?

I fell into it after I responded to an advert in a paper looking for trainee developers at a gas utility company. I got offered the job, and joined a small group of peers to start training on writing software. This was in the late 80s, so you can imagine how much the industry has changed since then. Luckily for me, this has led to a huge variety in roles throughout my career.

How does your role sit within the fabric of Tecknuovo, and why is it important?

Data is critical to Tecknuovo continuing to grow and delight our customers and prospects. It will let us build processes that remain sustainable as we continue to scale and grow, and it will let us increase our own capabilities too.

On the customer side, more and more companies are realising the value they could release by tapping into all the data at their disposal. This applies across sectors and use cases, which makes my role a critical support for both our customers and teams.

How do you make a difference to customers in your role?

Primarily by showing them that we truly understand their challenges and can empathise with them. We engage with our customers because they need our help, and the better we can understand them, the better we can support them.

How would you describe your leadership style?

Leadership for me is more about working with others as equals than about directing them. I recoil from the “shouting style” you sometimes see in leadership, and strive to create an environment where everyone can be successful. The best way to empower your team is to give them the space and confidence to do what they’re good at.

If you could re-write your job title in your own words, what would it be?

Slayer of Data Zombies.

What excites you most about your job?

Working with our team, talking about customers’ challenges, helping them solve problems, and forming bonds. I would choose face-to-face time over Teams calls any day.

What’s your favourite inspirational (or non-inspirational) quote?

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” – Mark Twain

What’s a surprising fact very few people know about you?

My dad was very into DYI, so when I was younger, I wanted to be a carpenter. I wasn’t very good though — I’d spent hours with a lump of wood trying to make it into something to no avail!

Favourite film?

The Godfather.

Guilty pleasure?

Red wine — my favourites are Burgundies and Super Tuscans.

To discover more about how we deliver for our customers, head to What we do.

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