Where in New Zealand can you find a Parliament building that was supposedly designed on the back of a napkin, an airport filled with huge Lord of the Rings figures, and stronger wind than any other city in the world? You guessed it: Wellington. The southern hemisphere’s Windy City has more to offer than just the Beehive, Te Papa and Weta Workshop, though - it’s also home to a number of well-respected analytics firms.
In 1995, Wellington also happened to be home to Victoria University student Paul O’Connor, a statistics-studying geek with a passion for data who decided to start his own analytics company called Datamine. Since then, our headquarters have moved to Auckland, but we still have a presence in Wellington and often have prospective clients ask us who the best analytics companies in New Zealand’s capital are - as you can see, the competition is fierce:
1. Intela AI
As one of Wellington’s leading data science companies, Intela AI is all about using today’s newest technologies to help businesses optimise their relationships with customers, whether through retention, acquisition or just through gaining customer insights. With a heavy focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence, Intela AI works across a number of platforms to help businesses benefit immediately from data science.
In addition to their analytics services, they’re currently beta-testing a new machine learning data-cleaning product called Farrago, according to a recent press release. The first of its kind available online, Farrago is designed to save companies significant time by automatically removing duplicates from databases. Intela AI CEO Asa Cox explains the need for this tool:
“After exploring the problem with organisations of all sizes, it was clear that the pain is felt everywhere and that existing solutions are cumbersome or highly context specific.”
Already in use by a number of Wellington government organisations, Farrago seems set to make a big splash in the machine learning scene.
Another organisation based around employing data science solutions, Harmonic Limited offers a number of services and software to help give businesses insight into their data – they specialise in asset management and decision support.
Before it became Harmonic in 2013, the company was known as MediaLab Ltd. and dealt primarily with research and development - in 2013, Phil Shepard (Harmonic’s CEO) realised the incredible benefits that Kiwi companies could gain from data science and decided to change the name to Harmonic Limited and shift gears towards business analytics.
Led by a number of qualified data science professionals, such as Chief Analytics Officer Dr Lisa Chen (who spoke on a panel at the Stanford Women in Data Science Conference in March 2018), Harmonic’s small team is doing big work in the Wellington and Auckland analytics spheres. They have a number of big name clients, such as Spark NZ, Transpower NZ and Wellington City Council.
Dragonfly is a Wellington-based data science firm that specialises in complex Bayesian statistics (here’s a beginner’s guide in case you’re interested). Founded in 2006, they employ solutions such as spatial modelling, statistical analysis and data visualisation, to name a few.
Dragonfly’s small but qualified team of PhD-wielding data scientists has done some fascinating analytics work with animal population and conservation, most notably regarding the impact of commercial fishing on turtles, albatross and other seabirds. They also did a review for the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection in Queensland concerning koala population using Bayesian statistical modelling, allowing the Department to confidently publish ~20 years of collected data.
Beyond working on projects with a number of NZ government agencies, Dragonfly’s staff also publish their own scientific papers and reports, all of which are available for free on their website.
One of the well-established Business Intelligence firms in Wellington (they’ve been around since 1985), Sysware creates bespoke solutions, such as their Criminal Geo-Profiling and Transport Analysis Systems, in addition to offering businesses general BI support. Don’t be fooled by the slightly dated website – the organisation has been successful enough to establish a presence in Australia (with offices in both Sydney and Melbourne) and is led by a very experienced team.
One of Sysware’s bigger projects was a joint venture with engineering firm Beca back in 2013. The two organisations collaborated to build a tech platform for the New Zealand Transport Agency in order to monitor travel conditions throughout the country, rural and urban conditions alike. In 2013, Sysware also announced its partnership with Informatica AU and NZ to improve the Informatica platform for customers across Australasia. Other significant clients include Woolworths, Transpower and numerous NZ government ministries.
One of the old guard, IT Consultancy Theta was founded in 1995 and has grown to be a major player in New Zealand’s IT and analytics sphere. Some of its primary services are advanced analytics, data visualisation and warehousing, digital development, app development and artificial intelligence.
With offices in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Tauranga, Theta has grown from being a small Auckland-based business to a country-wide consultancy. They’ve also bought a number of smaller companies in the past decade - the Wellington office was sparked by the 2011 acquisition of Prophesy, a Microsoft business intelligence company. Theta has a number of notable clients, including New Zealand Post, Auckland Airport and Genesis Energy.
As you can see, Wellington is home to many world-class data science and analytics companies, all of which are pursuing interesting and innovative new ventures. Whether you’re looking for a specific product, an engaging platform or a new analytics partner, one of these companies is bound to have what you need.
If your business would like to be considered for next year’s review, please let us know. Until then, keep updated with the newest data insights through Datamine’s blog and newsletter, and get in touch with us with any questions you have about data and analytics!