Alpesh presented “Be Digital or Die” on at the IE’s Predictive Analytics Innovation Summit in London, 11th May, 2016.

panoramic event pic


I presented at this summit in the company of some really excellent speakers.  A number, of whom were Data Scientists, provided some really interesting insight into the use cases of data within their businesses.  It proved that there were great practical examples of the application of big data to real business challenges and strategies.

Redone Boumghar from the European Space Agency (ESA) talked about some deep statistical analysis used by them to solve difficult problems, two key points being:

  • Data and analytics are integral to the way ESA functions. It’s not being retrospectively implemented
  • Large volumes of data exist, but the value is in analytics and discovering not only the right algorithms that will work, but that it requires human creativity.

Simply Business, a digital insurance broker, were also interesting.

They used Agile to release 60 changes per day to the their platform. This is a fantastic example of digital transformation in action, or in their case, a digital business from day 1! They have been around for 10+ years and so of course have experienced problems along their journey, but overall they’ve found a good niche:

  • They’ve embedded data and analytics into their business, through a trial and error journey
  • Decisions are increasingly made with analytics, rather than solely with human intuition
  • Their agile process lets them make up to 60 changes per day to their system

Umran Rafi presented a great process and story from a Solution Architect’s perspective.

This resonated closely with the approach that we take here at Fintricity and gave good insight into the challenges many experience, specifically:

  • A holistic approach to defining a data strategy and that a firm needs one to be able to transform their business
  • Formalised architecture thinking and process to help drive toward business-focussed outcomes

One key quote from Imran’s presentation stood out: “‘Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast’ (Ed Dening). If you don’t combine business and cultural change with technology transformation, then your initiative will most likely fail!”

Throughout the event I spoke with many speakers and senior execs throughout the day about their experience and challenges with big data and predictive analytics.

Here are a handful of key points covered within my own talk:

  • The use of data and analytics within traditional businesses is still early.  Large enterprises are still grappling with the Business-IT relationship. The business increasingly knows that data is valuable, but not being served by IT to it’s full capacity.
  • Natively savvy digital businesses, like Uber, Facebook, Airbnb and others, see data and analytics as the fuel that drives their business. They don’t think about data separately but as a natural part of how they work.
  • Using Agile (Scrum, Kanban) in a business context, rather than only a development context helps reduce the risk of delivering data projects and provides tangible outcomes sooner. It also enables the ability to prove to the business that there is value in data.
  • Simplifying how the business thinks about data will help senior executives better understand how they could leverage data and analytics. One of my favourite slides is shown below:


Big Data Layered Approach - Fintricity

In summary, there is still a long way to go, but it’s great to see that business units within large enterprises are waking up and putting data on the board agenda.

Here is a copy of my ‘Be Digital or Die’, presented on Day 2 of the event:


This blog has been verified by Rise: Rdae0452b098ddc2e51686b28aacc0db1