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Papinder Dosanjh, head of data science, machine learning and AI, ASOS

Papinder Dosanjh

Path to power

I started my career in a start-up, specialising in geolocation solutions for media, retail and telecoms clients, before joining Dunnhumby. In my time there, I helped high-profile consumer packaged goods companies use shopper data to build relevant category, trading and shopper marketing strategies. As senior product manager I was also responsible for developing a personalisation capability for a major supermarket across its ecommerce, loyalty and CRM functions.

 

I then decided to move on to Accenture to build experience of different industry verticals. My role covered global digital transformation initiatives, including the delivery of cloud-based big data platforms and digital messaging capabilities. Transformation was also a theme at my next job in business strategy at TUI, where my focus was on defining the global “one” analytics strategy for the executive board and championing the creation of an analytics centre of excellence.

 

At ASOS, I’m responsible for executing the business and technology transformation behind our “AI everywhere” strategy. We’re working to embed AI and machine learning across all areas of our customer experience, and also to support the optimisation of back-end functions through data, supported by our in-house data scientists, big data and software engineering teams.

 

What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?

Most recently, I would call out our partnership with Microsoft and ASOS’ position as beta partner for Azure Machine Learning. For 18 months, my team has been working directly with the Microsoft product labs team to develop a machine learning platform that meets the need of our ASOS scientists and engineers. I was very proud to see this partnership recognised at the Microsoft Vision Keynote by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

 

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

For me, it’s not really a single person but rather the entire ASOS AI team. Their talent, ambition and drive to build high-performing data products for the business pushes me to be at my best, and I’m always inspired by their ability to rally when the chips are down and bring their A game to work every day. I’m grateful to be surrounded by such a brave and authentic team.

 

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

This year, I expect to see the emergence of practical industry guidance on explaining how AI algorithms make decisions. ASOS has been participating with the Information Commissioner’s Office and The Turing Institute on an industry-wide consultation on this topic.

 

Across the industry, the focus on talent will also continue. The number of people with AI expertise is growing, but that hasn’t necessarily translated into the same number of people having real-world skills and experience. I think that’s set to change in the next five years as more people gain experience. Fortunately, ASOS is a great place for talented people to get hands-on experience with scalable machine learning applications that solve business problems, so we hope to be a big part of that shift.

 

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