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You don’t need to be the size of LinkedIn to master data

Nicole Isaac

Nicole IsaacAhead of her keynote presentation at the Data Strategy Symposium, LinkedIn’s Nicole Isaac spoke to us about big and small organisations utilising data.

Smaller organisations are better placed to utilise data than large companies, according to Nicole Isaac, Head of Economic Graph Policy Partnerships at LinkedIn.

“Smaller companies can use data and technology in ways bigger companies can’t. On LinkedIn, the majority of our companies are small business enterprises. Of the seven million companies on the platform, more than 80% have less than 200 employees,” said Isaac. “There is a slightly greater level of agility possible for smaller enterprises than bigger companies may not have.

“That’s where using data, open data models, and the power of networking and connections, has incredible merit and value for smaller enterprises. They’re able to leverage those 50 or 60 employees in a way that they may not have otherwise, given the expansion of technology and access.”

Isaac, who heads up global partnerships for LinkedIn’s ambitious project to map the entire worldwide workforce, will present the keynote presentation at the Data Strategy Symposium. She will talk about LinkedIn’s Economic Graph and how it is using aggregated data to provide key insights and information to government and big business allowing them to identify the jobs, skills and employment challenges in any given city or region.

“We’re able to align various segments of data through all the information on our platform, and provide insights that otherwise would not be received or available for policy makers, mayors, governors, educators, workforce development and other officials around the world,” said Isaac.

The end goal is to reduce the skills gap and aid workforce development. “When you think about it, there are a few things that are of greater value than being able to provide for your family and yourself in a way that is meaningful,” said Isaac.

LinkedIn currently has more than 400 million individual users, 30,000 higher education providers and seven million companies. “It is literally greater than the size of the United States population,” said Isaac.

Still, there is some way for the business networking platform to go compared to social networking platforms such as Facebook which had 1.49 billion monthly active users as of June 30, 2015. Facebook best watch its back given LinkedIn’s ultimate goal is to have everyone in the global workforce using the platform, as outlined by LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner in this video:

To achieve the mammoth task, Isaac is working at the highest levels to get buy in. “Our goal is to partner with policy-makers and other stakeholders to figure out the current challenges they may have. Given our capability, whether it’s understanding the skills in demand or in supply, how can we assist them with resolving some of those challenges?”

LinkedIn is also looking at its offering to create a product of value to industries and professions not currently using the platform.

Isaac said: “When Jeff Weiner mentioned getting to a place where every individual in the workforce is on the platform, it is not an intangible goal when you think about where other people are and what information they may have shared because they see the value.”

While Isaac believes smaller organisations are well placed to capitalise on data, she also recognises the opportunity that comes with scale. “I feel incredibly lucky LinkedIn is positioned to impact individuals around the world in this way and that we are absolutely committed to doing so.”

Her advice for achieving LinkedIn size results is this: “The best thing any organisation or individual can do is identify core strengths and values and then maximise that. Leverage it. Ensure you are taking that to the next level.”

In terms of where Australia fits into LinkedIn’s Economic Graph, Isaac said: “Australia is one of our largest markets, in the sense that the overall penetration and representation on the platform is one of the strongest in the world. Australia has a tremendous opportunity for us and we look forward to working with government and other partners to add value given these insights.

“Australia will have incredible lessons for the work we’re doing in other parts of the world. Whether it’s looking generally at the lower rates of unemployment, looking at some of the partnerships across the public and private sectors, or the increase in tech-related skills in Sydney and how that compares to other places, such as Singapore, Toronto, or San Francisco.

“We’re really excited about what’s coming down the pike and using that data to inform some of our approaches elsewhere.”

The Economic Graph is a true example of big data meeting big thinking, with the end result being used for good.

“We’re so excited to be in a place where what we do at our core is help individuals find meaning, find the ability to transform, find the dream of who they are, who they can be, and how to best get there,” said Isaac. “That’s why it’s absolutely an honour to be at a place like LinkedIn because at our core, what we do is connect individuals to opportunities every single second of every day.”

Prior to joining LinkedIn, Isaac worked at the White House acting as a liaison to Congress and an advisor to President Barack Obama. Her presentation, Unlocking the power of the data to connect the world to opportunity – LinkedIn’s Economic Graph will open the Data Strategy Symposium on November 16.

Mark Abay - Content Director, Ashton Media About Mark Abay - Content Director, Ashton Media
Mark is Content Director at Ashton Media. It's his job to create interesting and engaging conference programs that stretch the thinking of our attendees. Mark works closely with our industry advisors to ensure the conference content is aligned with the needs and interests of our audiences.