Business Leader Interview: Stuart Strachan of IHS Markit
IHS Markit employs over 5,000 analysts and experts who deliver valuable content and data to industries as diverse as finance, energy, and transportation. Stuart Strachan, Vice President of Maritime & Trade, reveals where the newly-merged operation expects growth to come from, and why being different is the key to customer success.
Tell us what you do at IHS Markit.
I lead a business unit called Maritime & Trade, a team of around 250 people that delivers data, analytics, editorial products, and events covering international trade and the global shipping industry. We serve customers in transportation, government, financial sectors, and across a range of commodity and merchandise industries.
How do you ensure that the analytics and research content you provide are future-proofed against the currently unpredictable economic climate? Is it sector-dependent?
IHS Markit has more than 5,000 analysts, data scientists, financial experts, and industry specialists worldwide across a range of industry sectors, giving us a huge capacity to interpret data and translate it to deliver the expertise, knowledge, and solutions that our customers can use to make more informed decisions. Our team members and analytical software tools continually monitor the markets and businesses they serve to ensure that all information and analysis is up to date, often on a real-time basis. This ensures that our customers have the latest information and analysis available. The information could be both market-sector specific as well as cross-market, allowing us to help our customers understand the influences of other markets and world actions on their business or operations.
What do you view as the main areas of focus for IHS Markit in 2017?
IHS Markit has some of the deepest sources of information, analytics, and expertise to help our customers make decisions within the industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. Our capabilities support customers in a whole range of areas, including energy, chemical, financial services, automotive, maritime, aerospace, defence and security, technology, media & telecommunications, digital and web solutions, and engineering and product design. As you can imagine, our focus in each of these areas in 2017 is different depending on the broad range of industries and wide range of customer needs we support.
Whether you’re better quality, lower priced, or unique in some other way, it’s critical that customers can see what makes you different.
What specific achievements have you been particularly proud of over the past 12-18 months?
The business unit I lead doubled in size both in terms of revenue and team members two years ago as a result of two acquisitions we made, and I am incredibly proud of the work done across my whole team to bring us together and create something truly unique in our sector. In addition, the merger of IHS and Markit in 2016 was one of the most significant achievements for the company as a whole and has engaged everyone in the business in creating a new organisation with new opportunities for growth.
Which channels present the biggest opportunities for IHS Markit over the next few years?
The diversity of the business and markets served by IHS Markit has created significant opportunities for us. We are seeing increasing growth in the transportation and financial services markets, and expect to see a rebound in the energy and chemical industries over the coming months, which have faced some challenging times recently.
If you could give one piece of advice to other businesses who serve professional audiences, what would it be?
Put your customer front and centre of every decision you make. Ensure that you understand your customer extremely well and that, in turn, customers understand the differentiated value your products and services can provide. In every industry now, customers face choices of providers of data, analytics, or more traditional media. Whether you’re better quality, lower-priced, or unique in some other way, it’s critical that customers can see what makes you different, and more importantly, that they value that difference when it comes to making their choices of content provider. It’s irrelevant how well you understand what value you can bring if your customer does not.
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