Mapping and activating data is a critical process of connecting and combining sources of data to better understand your teams, customers, processes and business units. Like most digital processes, the key to getting the most out of your data is good organisational efforts to structure your team and business to efficiently identify learnings. In this roundtable debate, the speakers discuss this and more: activating data, transferring data from the edge and monetization.
With Jon Bernstein moderating, the speakers of this roundtable debate include:
- Paul Scott-Murphy, CTO, WANdisco
- Andrei Adler, Head of Engineering and Data, Cancer Research UK
- Sabah Carter, CDITO, Financial Services Compensation Scheme
- Kshitij Kumar, CDO, OneFootball
- Andreas Galatoulas, Data Science Director, AECOM
- Michael Zimmer, CDO & Head of AI/ML, Zurich Germany
- Danielle Haugedal, Head of Strategy, Governance and Performance (Digital Technology and Data), Co-op
Activating data challenges
Kicking off the debate, moderator Jon Bernstein asked the speakers if there were any challenges standing in the way of activating data.
“I would usually say people really because technology has moved but people are still quite focused on their existing processes’ way of working”, said AECOM’s Data Science Director, Andreas Galatoulas. This, he argued, is where he would focus his efforts in 2023 when it comes to data activation and mapping.
In agreement with Andreas, CDO of OneFootball – KK – believes that data is a people problem, rather than a technology problem. KK admitted that it could be a culture problem too, however, it comes down to the people. When it comes to the activating data aspect, he outlined that you have to have the right education, attitude and culture to execute this efficiently. KK admitted that activating data has become “much harder”.
When asked if technology leaders need to distinguish between people and culture, KK stated that the two are related yet different. “Culture is how you think about the data and how you think about technology”, he said. Offering an example, KK discussed how he deals with people directly at OneFootball. “We know a lot about the people… Those people trust us with that data”, he explained. With that, he pointed out how culture is also about understanding how to manage that trust.
At Cancer Research UK, Head of Engineering and Data Andrei Adler stated that they have some technology challenges. However, he believes “It’s mostly in the process and how people collaborate around the data we need to make a step change”. Andrei noted that it is difficult to coordinate and get any change enacted as each team has their own priorities. In response to this, he thinks that these “silos” should be broken. “What we’re actually trying to do is introduce a product mindset where we have a cross functional product team”, he said. With this in place, they can get together and collaborate on the same goals and objectives.
AI, ML and activating data
Jon asked CDITO of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, Sabah Carter, if she is looking to adopt AI and ML now or in the future.
Before answering this, Sabah talked about the unstructured data challenge technology leaders are experiencing. “The challenge that we have is that we’re not in control and we need to process this data very quickly”, she said. This is where technology like AI and ML come in according to Sabah. She believes it can help them understand and search through these challenges. Her organisation has currently adopted these advanced aspects and has helped them progress with important projects.
Through AI capabilities, Sabah highlighted that it has reduced the claim-handling time by 60 percent overall. This has allowed her organisation to make much faster decisions and produce a better outcome for customers.
Paul recognised that the rest of the group touched on important aspects around the challenges of activating data. CTO at WANdisco, Paul Scott-Murphy stated that: “Significant business outcomes that can be the result of innovation around AI”. He wants to overcome the challenges associated with innovation. Paul’s objective is to identify new opportunities and new business models that are surrounding data. As a result, he believes this can lead to the creation of “vast opportunities for all organisations with regards to activating data”.
Another challenge Paul believes all technology leaders are faced with is shifting an organisation’s mode of operation.
Data trends and hypes
“The biggest challenge at the moment that I see is data and AI is a hot topic”, said Michael. CDO & Head of AI/ML at Zurich Germany, Michael Zimmer argued that there are solutions and hypes all over the place. In meetings, Michael has been told that he needs a fabric, lake or a mesh. He noted that the one thing they never discuss is having good governance to progress the business. “Many people think ‘there is a nice fancy word and we need to build it in our company’”, he explained. Michael advised the speakers not to jump onto new trends and “hypes”. He believes they should listen to their business teams and take responsibility for their data quality. Combining these functions and joining this “passion for data” will help solve all kinds of AI problems according to Michael.
“At Co-op, we’ve just merged our data function with our digital and technology functions”, said Co-op’s Head of Strategy, Governance and Performance, Danielle Haugedal. She agreed with the idea that creating cross functional teams is vital. “It’s really important for the teams to understand where to take the product next and to get that vital insight”, she stated. One common occurrence she has witnessed over the years is when funding big programs, when the organisation needs to cut costs, the first thing they cut is data. Danielle also pointed out that in the past when signing contracts with partners, data was regarded as an afterthought.
This roundtable was recorded at The Studio and made in partnership with WANdisco. To find out more about The Studio, click here.