How is your organisation using data and analytics to support the corporate vision and purpose?
Capgemini’s mission statement is “unleashing human energy through technology for an inclusive and sustainable future” with data and analytics as the driving force. Besides our contributions to the science and the technology that underpins AI, we believe in putting people at the centre of the AI revolution. This is through the deployment of ethical, human-centred, and sustainable AI technologies. It is also by educating and upskilling people to own these technologies and shape the future of their industries and professions.
2020 was a year like no other - how did it impact on your planned activities and what unplanned ones did you have to introduce?
Deploying data transformations brings together large teams with diverse profiles (scientists, engineers, designers). Ensuring that such a diverse group of people works together seamlessly is challenging in a full remote setting. I was impressed by how quickly my teams adapted by adjusting our delivery rituals and relying on technology to maintain the synergies crucial to the success of our projects.
We had to adapt our offers to focus on mitigating the health and logistical effects of the pandemic and on preparing the recovery. To this end, we had to deal with the many challenges that the pandemic era data pose by tapping into new and unconventional data.
Looking forward to 2021, what are your expectations for data and analytics within your organisation?
In 2021, we will be continuing to support our clients to reinvent themselves by accelerating their transformations, being more digital and nimbler, and focusing on purpose. I expect the year to be full of breakthroughs with data and analytics enabling numerous technologies, such as 5G, green hydrogen and gene editing, unleash a sustainable and responsible growth.
Is data for good part of your personal or business agenda for 2021? If so, what form will it take?
In the past ten years, AI technologies have become more pervasive and more powerful. I will continue to contribute to this progress by publishing research papers and patents, deploying AI solutions and teaching machine learning. However, with AI inventions making their way from research labs to the real-world with record speed, my personal and business agenda for 2021 is to play a major role in steering a responsible deployment and use of AI.
What has been your path to power?
I started my career as an academic at Imperial College London, where I spent ten years. In addition to engaging in teaching and research, I collaborated extensively with companies such as Microsoft, Technicolor and IBM. Through this dual path, I have learnt to bring together the messy world of data and analytics in business, and the more harmonious world of research.
From optimising energy in telecommunication systems, to helping hospitals provide better care, I translate business challenges to the language of data and algorithms and then back into strategies and technologies.
Since I joined Capgemini, two years ago, I am supporting many clients across Europe to transform their processes and businesses. My teams and I help clients in the public sector, financial services, life sciences and telecommunications define their AI strategy, deploy use cases to transform their businesses and empower their employees to own and shape these transformations.
This combines innovative design thinking and delivery approaches, creative data processing techniques, state of the art technologies and algorithms, and a great emphasis on making our solutions robust, ethical, and centred on the humans that interact with it.
What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?
Ten years ago, I was fortunate to write a book based on my research work on modelling the propagation of epidemics. My expertise in this topic enabled me to contribute first-hand to a number of impactful projects to support governments in deploying strategies and solutions in mitigating the consequences of the current health crisis.
Tell us about a career goal or a purpose for your organisation that you are pursuing?
I believe that we will experience more breakthroughs in the areas of advances analytics in the next decade. My goal is to make these breakthroughs accessible to my clients to make the work of their people more fulfilling, while delivering value. I also believe these breakthroughs will come with many risks to our privacy, jobs and society. My goal is to support academics, governments, regulators, international organisations and companies define a pragmatic journey that fosters innovation and anticipate and address potential risks.
How closely aligned to the business are data and analytics both within your own organisation and at an industry level? What helps to bring the two closer together?
Data and analytics are by now undisputed pillars of the management industry. Any decisions or recommendations we make to clients have to be backed by data. With many industries being disrupted by technology and the digital revolution, bringing more competition and making customers more sophisticated, companies are reinventing themselves.
In this journey into the unknown, data and analytics provide invaluable means of trying new things, measuring their impact, constantly, and iteratively adjusting the trajectory. We can collect many types of data, process and analyse them, predict and simulate multiple strategies…
What is your view on how to develop a data culture in an organisation, building out data literacy and creating a data-first mindset?
People are afraid of the unknown and data and analytics are very alien to many of us. I am in favour of educating people, not just in the use of analytics tools and solutions, but to provide them with the knowledge and intuitions to understand these tools. Having a good data culture is when people in an organisation are empowered and encouraged to identify by themselves the uses of data and analytics that can add value to themselves and their organisation.