Artelligence 2021: Align your data strategy with your business goals

Last updated on September 13, 2021 at 04.47 pm

Having a data strategy is not going to make much of a difference to an organisation unless it is aligned with that company’s business strategy, experts underlined.

Speaking at the Artelligence 2021 forum, industry experts highlighted how having a solid data strategy that compliments an organisation’s long-term goals will provide a steady stream of revenue.

“Your data and AI strategy has to be mapped with your business strategy,” said Utpal Chakraborty, head of Artificial Intelligence, YES Bank, India. “As a CIO, you need to have your own vision with a strategy that encompasses the goals of the organisation. Look at 360 degree data capturing and hyper personalisation for your customers. We need to understand that because of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a huge focus on rendering your services on digital channels. AI is going to help you a lot in this way.”

Faisal Ali, group chief information officer at Gargash Group, however, cautioned organisations about the business environment in which they are operating. The bulk of the businesses in the UAE are SMEs, he said, and often times they can’t afford the expenses that come with adopting an extensive data strategy like the ones that large corporations are utilising. Instead, he urged businesses to adopt a more “microscopic approach” to AI and data.

“Scale plays a very big role, but so does re-utilisation,” he said. “Take, for example, a restaurant that looks at their point of sale (POS) to review orders. You don’t need big data analysts to determine what dishes are popular and when. Using a simple algorithm that is built and provided to them as a service is enough. They will be able to identify a trend such as which dishes and ingredients are popular with customers during a certain period. The owner can then go to the chef and tell them to create a dish with those ingredients for the next season.”

This, he said, is the beauty of re-usable digital assets. “Provide them as a service to the businesses at large, and to the SMEs at large; let them plug it into their environment, and come up with their own intelligent data-driven AI.”

Lareb Poonawala, CIO/IT director Saudi Arabia, Procter and Gamble, had a similar approach where she talked about the importance of being in touch with what consumers are looking for at a given moment in time. Looking at the trends that have accelerated in the post-Covid-19 world, she identified and highlighted personalisation and customisation.

“Consumers today are inadvertently giving us so much data,” she said. “As a result of this, we have realised that they don’t want run of the mill solutions anymore. They expect us to know them and do something about that. Keeping this in mind, we are looking at mass yet targeted marketing, where we want to leverage the first and second-party data that we are getting from our customers to catch them at the right time and with the right product.”

She also cautioned businesses to be aware about the demographics in the market. “You have to know who is a millennial, who is ready to start a family, who is focused on their career, who might need a new washing machine; create a consumer ID to do one-to-one marketing. For retailers, we are urging to build smart baskets at an individual store level that takes into account their previous sales, what their neighbourhood stores are buying, and what is the size of the basket at that particular store.”

Rohma Sadaqat I am a reporter and sub-editor on the Business desk at Khaleej Times. I mainly cover and write articles on the UAE's retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.Originally from Lahore, I have been living in the UAE for more than 20 years. I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Journalism, and a double minor in History and International Studies from the American University of Sharjah.If you see me out and about on assignment in Dubai, feel free to stop me, say hello, and we can chat about the latest kitten videos on YouTube.