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Sherin Mathew, chief executive officer and founder, AI Tech North

Sherin Mathew, chief executive officer and founder, AI Tech North

How is your organisation using data and analytics to support the corporate vision and purpose?

 

As the founder of AI Tech North and Innovation Exchange, I am proud that our purpose has always been to make the revolutionary world of data and AI accessible to the wider business community.

 

We directly impact corporate AI and data strategies by empowering leaders who attend our events and offering a range of deep-dive sessions held by more than 60 industry experts every year.

 

Our mission is to share insights, lessons, success stories and strategies on how technologists, professionals and businesses can incorporate ethical AI and advance their tech journey.

 

2020 was a year like no other - how did it impact on your planned activities and what unplanned ones did you have to introduce?

 

I went with the approach that being challenged is inevitable, but being defeated is not an option! As a knowledge-sharing events business, we adapted quickly when faced with the current restrictions and introduced a digital channel for our knowledge platform “Innovation Exchange”.

 

We have worked tirelessly to sustain the AI ecosystem throughout the pandemic by delivering several fringe events in digital format in the lead up to the AI summit, including AI and fintech, AI and ethics, and digital innovation. We successfully partnered with global corporate brands such as Microsoft, IBM, UST-Global, Accenture, World Economic Forum, Office of AI and more to share their insights and knowledge.

 

Our events have critically helped corporate businesses and organisations stay connected the past year and we can confidently say we have been a driving force for digital transformation.

 

Looking forward to 2021, what are your expectations for data and analytics within your organisation?

 

Data and analytics will certainly be the foundation of 2021’s digital transformation and will catalyse intelligent empowerment.

 

Data and AI have never been so crucial for any business, hence we are democratising data and AI-driven strategies to help overcome challenges and will be running a series of targeted events.

 

Responsible and accountable use of data in any innovative organisation is pivotal. Therefore, we are also launching an accountable innovation framework called public intelligence to offer a practical solution.

 

Is data for good part of your personal or business agenda for 2021? If so, what form will it take?

 

Personally, data of yesterday gives information for today, information of today is intelligence for tomorrow.

 

Data takes a pivotal form to provide a foundation for intelligent empowerment and digital transformation. Data-driven insights are invaluable, therefore, ensuring ethical usage of data to build a beneficial solution is a crucial responsibility for any organisation processing data. We strongly evangelise the ethical use of data and intelligence across our events and have published a detailed article on AI and data ethics best practices and considerations.

 

What has been your path to power?

 

I graduated first class with distinction in engineering and secured a position within an IT company before I started my final year. My IT career began with BT in India. After intense training for two years, I was offered a position in a data project with Telefónica O2 UK.

 

My journey began as a developer, and then I became a business intelligence specialist for a telematics company, followed by a project and business intelligence manager. This led to me working on many projects for Microsoft consultancies, and then to a global scale AI and analytics practice for IBM Global Business Services until early 2020.

 

Data and AI have been the motivation and inspiration for my journey so far. IT has been part of my DNA, which enticed me to start my own platform to share my knowledge with the wider community. AI Tech North was established in 2018 and is one of the largest knowledge platforms in the North and is under development to become a global brand.

 

What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?

 

Deciding to start an AI community singlehandedly in 2017 against all the odds of being in the North and the uncertainty and bad press about AI. I launched AI Tech North in early 2018 with the purpose to democratise data and AI technology. We have run over 100 sessions, reaching over 10,000 technologists, leaders, and enthusiasts over the past couple of years.

 

Its special because it truly aligns to my values to be courageous and creative. It’s a way to turn my passion into my purpose to give back to the community my skills and knowledge acquired over the years.

 

Tell us about a career goal or a purpose for your organisation that you are pursuing?

 

My vision is to make the world a better place and protect future generations with accountable and ethical use of technology. My goal is to provide a platform for positive knowledge sharing, to exchange innovation and to create a sustainable future for the wider world by building beneficial solutions.

 

As an entrepreneur my is to goal to continue successfully scaling my projects:

  • AI community to bridge technology gaps – Ai Tech North;

  • Free global knowledge platform– Innovation Exchange;

  • Influence future policies through a practical, accountable innovation framework – Public Intelligence;

  • Analytics platform for sustainable living – (to be announced later in 2021).

 

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?

 

I have been fortunate enough to witness a range of maturities across industries and global demographics. Working with Microsoft and IBM consultancies, I saw global brands spending tens of millions on their analytics platforms. It was evident that data is the new oil, and AI was the new Ferrari GT!

 

While also managing the community in the North, we brought SMEs together with leading industry experts and global thought leaders to democratise data and AI technologies and encourage them to share new strategies and their success stories.

 

I have hosted large AI conferences, summits and workshops and created all of our knowledge base of content. We are passionate about assisting businesses with AI-readiness and actively work with start-ups and SMEs, helping them to achieve their data and AI goals, to accelerate their development, and provide a welcoming platform to bridge the gap.

 

Our mission is aligned to breaking down barriers and bringing awareness to the beneficial use of data. We truly embrace an ethical approach to build trustworthy and people-centric intelligent innovations, with our internal mantra being AI for people, AI for good.

 

What is your view on how to develop a data culture in an organisation, building out data literacy and creating a data-first mindset?

  • Drive - as the analytics and AI lead for IBM GBS in 2018, I led and aligned teams to explore the possibilities of data;

  • Data citizenship – I showcased with low-code technology that time-to-insights can be quickly achieved;

  • Democratise – I leveraged my Microsoft partnership to bring quality training and support to the entire global team (US, Europe and Asia);

  • Discover – I carried a 360-degree discovery exercise to understand department-level data maturity and how we can build to the next level up;

  • Discuss - technology is easy, it’s the culture that’s challenging. So, I created a regular comms and engaging forum.
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