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Kabir Sohal, head of analytics and insight EMEA, Adobe

Kabir Sohal

Path to power

My career began as a graduate consultant at SAS Institute, where my motivation and inspiration for data and analytics began. I quickly learned that organisations were largely dependent on the data they have, and that organisations which invested in and leveraged their data intelligently, saw a positive correlation with their financial performance and gave them a competitive edge. I was given the opportunity to upskill myself using the latest analytical software, which would complement my existing mathematical skills gained at university.

 

I then moved on to work within the mobile telco sector. It was here where I used my skills to help marketing teams be more intelligent with the data they have, by segmenting their customer data based on behavioural, usage, financial and demographic characteristics so that they can be more deliberate in their marketing efforts from an acquisition and retention perspective.

 

My remit at Adobe is to influence commercial strategies for acquisition (and subsequent impact) on churn and retention. I constantly look for new ways to keep myself challenged and look to ensure that organisations embed a culture of data-driven decisions.

 

What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?

While I was working in the telco sector, I built an algorithm which predicted where customers lived and worked (specific to postcode area) using a “timeboxing” methodology. Customers who did not have a mobile phone contract did not have to disclose their address, which meant if there was a specific cell site tower which was going to be down due to maintenance for a period of time, we were able to communicate this to the customers it was most relevant to. This was just one of the many uses for this algorithm.

 

Who is your role model or the person you look to for inspiration?

My father, who is now a retired teacher has pushed me to try everything in life and not to back down to anything that comes as a challenge. I studied mathematics under him, and he played a significant role in me achieving As in all my mathematical modules at university.

 

Did 2019 turn out the way you expected? If not, in what ways was it different?

Taking on a new role within the digital media e-commerce team has been both rewarding and challenging. Not only focusing on the significant growing number digital visitors Adobe attracts, but the growth of mobile app impressions and downloads across unexpected market areas has exceeded my expectations. This, coupled with the upcoming releases of new products such as Photoshop for iPad and Photoshop Camera, gives me confidence that there is a solid foundation laid for serious business acceleration in 2020.

 

What do you expect 2020 to be like for the data and analytics industry?

Hyper Automation: Organisations will be accelerating their manual processes by adding more sophisticated AI process-based automation. I expect that we will see a positive shift in organisations looking to speed up their tactical decision making, freeing more time up for strategic initiatives

 

Multi Experience: With 5G, we will see faster growth in commerce on mobile and therefore I believe organisations will have to accelerate and ensure that they are delivering a first-class multi-platform experience.

 

Transparency and Security: Data security and privacy will be of paramount importance to enterprises. Incidents like the Equifax data breach or the Cambridge Analytica scandal are lessons about what can happen if a company adopts an unethical approach to handling data.

 

Data and technology are changing business, the economy and society – what do you see as the biggest opportunity emerging from this?

Healthcare: The opportunity to enable AI to help predict and prevent diseases will be the biggest factor in the global population buying into a data driven world.

 

Unleashing creativity: Technology is now enabling people who would never consider themselves to be traditionally creative, now to have the tools to seamlessly create art – either through photo, video or web design.

 

Education: The opportunity for higher education to become an on-demand service will revolutionise the education industry. The opportunity to learn what you want, when you want it, could make traditional courses redundant.

 

What is the biggest tech challenge your clients face in ensuring data is at the heart of their digital transformation strategy?

As data explodes, organisations must find a way to store this data (including unstructured data) and generate insights in a timely fashion. But not all enterprises fully appreciate that this transformation is being driven by the customer, not the business. Customers now expect relevant content in real-time across an array of devices and the customer journey dictates the strategy. Moving to cloud based solutions enables agility and helps to meet customer demands more quickly.

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