In late 2008, Dr. Usama Fayyad was leaving Yahoo! where he had just finished building the world’s top Data Team, delivered value in excess of $800M in data-driven targeting revenue (including creating and making mainstream the new area of Behavioral Targeting of on-line ads – Behavioral Targeting alone drove $400M of additional revenues for Yahoo!) and built Yahoo! Research Labs into the industry’s top applied research group focused on the new sciences around digital life.
Microsoft was calling him back, and Steve Ballmer (then Microsoft CEO) and Satya Nadella (then Head of Microsoft’s Online Division) asked him to return to Seattle and re-join Microsoft. While he decided to leave Silicon Valley and relocate to Seattle, Usama was not ready to rejoin Microsoft. So he agreed with Microsoft to do a two month strategic consulting project to help diagnose the weaknesses in Microsoft’s on-line data assets and recommend a data strategy as well as prescribe solutions. What started as a temporary assignment working with Micosoft turned into a set of major projects and later major engagement with Verizon Wireless, AT&T and many other large enterprises. Many team members from Yahoo! decided to join Usama and within a year of its founding Open Insights had a team of over 20 professionals that were the top in the world in creating Data Strategy, designing the right Data Architecture, leveraging the nascent Big Data platforms, creating systems and solutions to deliver value from Data quickly, as well as leveraging data monetization and data-drieven marketing.
In 2013, Usama took a brief time-off from Open Insights to move to London and to serve as the first Global Chief Data Officer and Group Managing Director at Barclays Bank, PLC. This gave him exposure into what it takes to make Data an Asset in a global 325-year-old financial institution. In 2016, shortly after departing his executive role at Barclays, Usama re-joined Open Insights with projects including large banks and a major assignment with MTN, Africa’s largest telco with 230M subscribers in 22 countries – where he took on the interim role of Chief Technnology and Operations Officer for the newly formed MTN2.0. Open Insights played a pivotal role in accelerating the launch of this new division to help MTN diversify its reveniue sources into Mobile Financial Services and commercialize the concept of Data-as-a-Service.
Today, Open Insights operates across the world, with current operations in the United States, India, South Africa, Chile, United Kingdom, Middle East and Europe. Our team or Principal Managing Directors includes top experts in Analytics and Insights (led by Hongpei Zhang), top experts in BigData Technology and Data Integration (led by Faizan Chaudhary), top experts in the activation of Data to drive customer retention, loyalty, and smart marketing and optimization (led by Alok Agrawal), and a team of expert data scientists and applied machine learning experts (led by Antonio Diaz).