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At the core of successful AI lies quality data

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Globally, the world is abuzz around Artificial Intelligence (AI). At the very core of AI lies data – and data of course is what really drives me.

A recent survey has found that there is an increasing agreement among executives that ‘AI and big data initiatives are becoming closely intertwined’, where the report shows 76.5% of executives agree that ‘the proliferation and greater availability of data is empowering AI and cognitive initiatives within their organisations’.

Given the close link suggested between data and AI, I have found myself looking more broadly into this AI hype and – keeping in mind my most recent blog post that touched on the subject on if there is a right time to hire a CDO – I started thinking about the role AI may play in this critical business decision.

Access to massive amounts of meaningful, quality data can allow a business to drive successful AI outputs, as the data itself is used to ‘feed’ AI processes. What is key here, however, is the quality of the data. This appears to be a common thread when talking about successful Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics initiatives.

To ensure the quality of an organisation’s data, decision makers are fast realising the need to hire a dedicated expert focused on the data available and sorting through what is good and what should be treated as suspect. This is the skill and role of a data scientist. Therefore, the rise of data science is what is driving the ability to introduce AI successfully into business.

However, quality data science skills are not easy to come by, and retain. This is a very niche field that is still emerging globally and often comes with a hefty price tag. So, taking all of this into account, is it viable to consider the CDO role in achieving some form of data science and with that, the possibility of AI implementation for businesses wanting to explore the AI trend?

Sustained data science requires solid governance structures, effective architecture and data engineering processes to all be in place. These components fit into the role and value a CDO should bring to an organisation – and bearing this in mind leads me to believe that perhaps investing in the CDO role can assist in kick starting an AI journey.

The alternative – the case of not being able to source or sustain the data science role – means ignoring AI, which could carry substantial potential lost opportunity costs for any business seeking to be competitive in this digital age. It will be interesting to watch how the AI trend continues to grow and how data will empower this progress.

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