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Let’s Talk: How to leverage big data and AI for business insights

Feeling overwhelmed by data? Struggling to translate information into insights? You’re not alone! But what if there was a way to unlock the hidden potential of your data? 

Join us for this week’s edition of Let’s Talk, where our experts will discuss how big data and AI can transform your business. We’ll delve into how these powerful tools can help you make smarter decisions, predict trends, and stay ahead of the competition.

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Janine Morris, Industry Engagement and Strategy Lead at AvePoint

Janine Morris
Janine Morris, Industry Engagement and Strategy Lead at AvePoint

“The biggest impacts of AI on today’s organisations will likely be the collection, processing and management of data. As we see in the context of Microsoft Copilot, organisations are leveraging AI to harness information already at their disposal to create efficiencies that will transform the way we work.

“In saying that, AI is only as effective as the data and information it is provided with.  So much of the information an organisation stores can’t be actioned or is underutilised because of poor controls and effective management. In order for AI to be effective, organisations will need to establish structured control over data and information throughout its entire lifecycle, from creation to eventual archival or disposal. If not, organisations are going to have major headaches leveraging AI-driven technologies to drive business insights and create efficiencies.”

Brad Kasell, Principal Technology Strategist at Domo Australia

Brad Kasell
Brad Kasell, Principal Technology Strategist at Domo Australia

“We’re a couple of years into Generative AI now and it remains the hottest topic in town. That said, with experience and increasing maturity it’s quickly becoming apparent that AI must move beyond trials and proofs-of-concept, to pay its way in terms of business impact. As data practitioners it’s now our responsibility to prove AI’s value (or not).

“One lesson that’s quickly being (re)learned is the importance of quality data as a foundational component of your AI capability. While the notion of data quality/integrity is not new, fresh AI-driven perspectives quickly reveal gaps and biases that were not apparent before, especially as we now focus on unstructured data. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated your models are, without the right data AI can be a hype-fuelled waste of time.

“As always, the answer lies in boring old business impact and analytical relevance – AI might be fun and cool, but wise heads will focus on quantifiable benefits, not just gee-whiz demos. As those use cases begin to reveal themselves, correspondingly new (or improved) data sources will emerge, demanding ever more governance and operational rigour.

“It’s clear the AI honeymoon is over – it’s time for AI to earn its keep and deliver business impact. Novelty is not enough.”

Inga Latham, Chief Product Officer at Shippit

Inga Latham
Inga Latham, Chief Product Officer at Shippit

“Data and analytics aren’t just embraced by behemoth enterprises these days–the democratisation of data and the spread of machine learning and artificial intelligence in our everyday lives are proof. Businesses – irrespective of their industry or size – who are slow to embrace data-driven decision making, new data tools and new AI-led interaction paradigms are being left behind. Appropriate use of data enables businesses to establish a holistic, real-time view of their operation, using the insights to identify efficiencies and cost savings, improve customer experiences and incentivise loyalty. Take retail, for example, where businesses are contending with softening consumer spending, increasing competition from global brands and rising customer expectations – particularly when it comes to the booming eCommerce delivery market. Through judicious use of machine learning, retailers can, for example, determine where inefficiencies lie in their supply chain, increasing their delivery volumes. Through data and analytics tools like Shippit Insights – a platform that empowers retailers with 250+ actionable data points – retailers can establish a clear and detailed picture of their entire shipping and delivery operation; from cart to doorstep. Ultimately, as economic pressures persist, unit economics are coming into sharper focus for businesses. Data and analytics tools such as Shippit Insights are multipliers. Through big data and AI, businesses can simultaneously identify cost-savings, whilst also improving customer experience and loyalty. Ultimately, this enables businesses to overcome short-term economic challenges without compromising their pursuit of longer-term, sustainable growth.”

Warren Schilpzand, Area Vice President of ANZ and Japan at DataStax

Warren Schilpzand
Warren Schilpzand, Area Vice President of ANZ and Japan at DataStax

“Data, without analysis, is just ones and zeros sitting on a server, while AI is yet another technology that must provide real business outcomes. Combining big data with real-time AI can help you provide the insights you need to innovate and surprise and delight your customers.

“We’re all drowning in data but using AI even the smallest business can turn it into actionable insights. Using AI when a customer has abandoned their cart on your ecommerce site enables you to send them a notification in the moment with a hyper-personalised offer with compelling wording that might convert them from a window shopper into a buyer.

“You can also personalise the experience, combining AI with data about what the customer does, and does not want, what their preferences and tastes are, and then provide them with real-time generated suggestions of other products they might love.

“Taken together, AI and data will supercharge your online commerce, regardless of your size or position in the market.”

Leah Rankin, Chief Product Officer at SiteMinder

Leah Rankin
Leah Rankin, Chief Product Officer at SiteMinder

“Big data not only allows businesses to better understand their customers’ behaviours and industry trends, but to gain operational efficiencies. However, capturing meaningful insights from big data can be overwhelming, not to mention time-consuming. By leveraging AI to automate the analysis of such vast information, businesses can quickly uncover patterns and correlations that they were not previously able to. Ultimately, this means greater speed-to-market and more informed decision-making that truly meets customer and business needs.

“This capability is no more valuable than to industries still running their operations manually, with either pen & paper or spreadsheets. A good example of this is the hotel industry, which will benefit from having access to these insights and predictive analytics at the same speed at which the broader travel industry is moving. Hotels can now use these technologies to optimise their pricing and other revenue-generating strategies. Importantly, they can now prepare for seasonal fluctuations and any economic climate. On the day-to-day, they can increase their productivity and cut their operational costs, while also focusing on higher-value work instead of tedious, labour-intensive tasks. In this way, big data and AI have leveled the playing field for small businesses, which is welcome news for many industries such as hotels that have typically lagged in the adoption of modern technology.”

Jarom Chung, Vice President of Product at Lucid Software

Jarom Chung
Jarom Chung, Vice President of Product at Lucid Software

“To thrive in today’s data-rich landscape, AI has emerged as a powerful analysis tool that is able to surface a treasure trove of valuable insights in seconds. Beyond its analytics and generative capabilities, AI’s ability to power collaboration and also visual collaboration is often overlooked.

“The key to a collaborative workforce lies in the human-AI partnership. We now live in a world where we can brainstorm with AI and use it to instantly summarise complex information and documents (with tools such as Lucid’s Microsoft 365 Copilot integration) or generate complex diagrams such as flowcharts by entering a prompt.  AI has the power to expand our ideas and give teams time back to focus on impactful work.  The future of work is not just about automation or data, but about fostering a collaborative environment with AI as a powerful assistant. Despite its potential, Lucid’s data shows  3 out of 10 employees have not received training on how to collaborate in the modern workplace. To realise the productivity and efficiency gains of using AI in the workplace, business leaders must first prioritise training to effectively build modern workplace collaboration skills.”

Joyce Gordon, Head of Generative AI at Amperity

Joyce Gordon
Joyce Gordon, Head of Generative AI at Amperity

“One element to powering an effective AI strategy is a unified customer data foundation. The tricky part is that accurately unifying customer data is hard due to its scale and complexity — most consumers have at least two email addresses, have moved over eleven times in their lifetimes and use an average of five channels (or if they are millennials or Gen Z, it’s actually twelve channels).

“Many familiar approaches to unifying customer data are rules-based and use deterministic/fuzzy matching, but these methods are rigid and break down when data doesn’t match perfectly. This, in turn, creates an inaccurate customer profile that can actually miss a huge portion of a customer’s lifetime history with the brand and not account for recent purchases or changes of contact information.

“A better way to build a unified data foundation actually involves using AI models (a different flavour of AI than generative AI for marketing) to find the connections between data points to tell if they belong to the same person with the same nuance and flexibility of a human but at massive scale.

“When your customer data tools can use AI to unify every touchpoint in the customer journey from first interaction to last purchase and beyond (loyalty, email, website data, etc…), the result is a comprehensive customer profile that tells you who your customers are and how they interact with your brand.”

Josh Kanner, Sr. Director of Product and Strategy, Construction Intelligence Cloud at Oracle

Josh Kanner
Josh Kanner, Sr. Director of Product and Strategy, Construction Intelligence Cloud at Oracle

“As applications for AI continue to rise across many industries, many companies are looking at this new technology and dreaming up ways they can put it to work for them in helping them accomplish their objectives. For example, in the construction industry and building leaders hope to use AI systems to help them monitor the safety on their sites, automate the creation of draft schedules, and even help locate equipment on the job site.

“However, before construction teams can fully reap the benefits of big data and AI, they need to ensure that data is flowing —securely!— between their work sites and their offices. That means having current photos and reports to pull information from, as well as ensuring any sensors or other collection devices are up-to-date, online, and accurate.

“Once a good system is in place to collect the data, the applications of how businesses can leverage AI and predictive intelligence systems are practically endless. For instance, an AI- powered assistant could identify potentially problematic weather, automatically trigger a drone or robotic scan of the worksite and notify site personnel of any equipment or technology that needs to be moved before a storm arrives. But it all begins with reliable, accurate, and secure data.”

John Deeb, ANZ Country Manager at Workato

John Deeb
John Deeb, ANZ Country Manager at Workato

“This year we have observed the vast advantages AI has demonstrated and the extent to which businesses are leveraging it in various processes. One of the best use cases of AI is its ability to leverage big data and break it down into quantifiable business insights. Tech companies across Australia should be utilising AI to break down their insights or risk losing out to competitors who are far ahead of the curve. In fact, in our 2024 Automation Index, we identified that generative AI is skyrocketing by 400 per cent in business processes.

“When businesses efficiently adopt AI to leverage big data, businesses are able to save time and improve their team’s productivity by empowering them with all the information available using a single user interface. When businesses implement intelligent automation tools to automate their processes, they experience increased speed, efficiency and the ability to operate continuously. Despite how AI is defined, modern business tools are becoming more versatile, dynamic, and responsive, providing significant benefits to adopting businesses to drive insights with AI. Furthermore, with AI implemented in business process, you become aware of the significant insights within your business and the bottlenecks that need to be resolved.”

Andrew Rossington, Chief Product Officer at Teletrac Navman

Andrew Rossington
Andrew Rossington, Chief Product Officer at Teletrac Navman

“Small businesses, from florists to electricians, aged care providers and IT support teams, all rely on data to optimise the routes they’re travelling and understand where they’re supposed to be, when delivering goods to their clients.

“At Teletrac Navman, our TN360 telematics system and fleet management platform takes data from the vehicle and the driver’s in-cab device, including smart dashcams, to turn into actionable insights for the business and its fleet managers. As a small business owner, you need to know where your vehicles are at all times and, if a new job comes in, you can quickly allocate it to the driver who’s in the best position to do so efficiently. And by using our telematics, there’s the added bonus of improved driver and public safety outcomes, a reduction in fuel usage, and less wear and tear on the vehicle.

“With TN360, streams of data become something managers can use, presented in an easy-to-understand format that allows them to act when it’s needed – as well as reward drivers for a great on-road performance.”

Dr. Laura Rusu, CEO and Founder at LENSELL

Dr. Laura Rusu
Dr. Laura Rusu, CEO and Founder at LENSELL

“As a business in Fintech, we’re well-versed in the power of big data and AI. We’ve leveraged these tools extensively on Diversiview to analyse and optimise investment portfolios, leading to increased expected returns for our users. This experience has opened our eyes to the broader applications of AI and big data within our business.

“Traditional methods like Google Analytics and keyword research offer valuable insights into our audience. By analysing large datasets including website traffic, social media engagement, and search terms, we can identify patterns and emerging opportunities that we can use in our marketing strategy. We further monitor year-over-year (YoY) change to maintain sustainable growth and trend in a positive direction.

“With so much data readily available, we can predict with greater accuracy what resonates most with our target audience. AI and large language models (LLMs) allow us to tailor content strategies for different audience segments, ensuring our message is relevant and engaging.

“AI isn’t a replacement for traditional analytics methods, it’s a tool that enhances them. By leveraging big data and AI, we gain a deeper understanding of our audience, optimise content strategies, and ultimately strive to provide exceptional value to our users.”

Vandana Kumar, Technical Project Manager at Megantic

Vandana Kumar
Vandana Kumar, Technical Project Manager at Megantic

“Businesses have access to more data than ever before. However, turning this data into actionable insights and implementing effective strategies can be a complex and overwhelming process.

“Focusing on a specific outcome helps you deliver value quickly and excites people about the opportunity. This approach leads you to unexpected places. You may target a particular outcome and organize a data set to achieve it. It takes you to unexpected places, leading you to pursue new outcomes you didn’t anticipate. You need to be agile and flexible in your thinking. If you start with one outcome and achieve it, you’ll be surprised where it leads you next.

“Imagine an e-commerce store looking to enhance its marketing strategy and improve customer engagement. By analysing customer purchase history, browsing behaviour, and demographic data, the store can segment its customer base and personalise marketing campaigns based on individual preferences and interests. Additionally, by integrating data analytics into its order fulfilment process, the store can optimise inventory management, reduce shipping times, and enhance the overall shopping experience for customers.

“All this can be utilised by AI-powered tools to:

  • Segment sales history to identify patterns and trends.
  • Predict product demand by analysing historical sales data.
  • Help automate inventory management.
  • Train your AI to analyze customer data to identify behaviours and patterns that indicate churn, such as purchase frequency and product usage.

“Harness the power of AI for your business and transform big data into actionable insights!”

Jay Jennings, General Manager of Digital at LUSH

Jay Jennings
Jay Jennings, General Manager of Digital at LUSH

“At Lush, we believe it’s important to find the right balance between harnessing the power of data and AI to improve customer experience, and ensuring that we maintain our commitment to transparency and respect for customer data. As modern users grow increasingly savvy about how their data is used by businesses, so too are we seeing an increase in concern about privacy and the potential for leaks or unethical practices.

“Our approach to data focuses on clean, consensual, first party data that aims to improve experiences without compromising trust. Insights are a byproduct. AI is of course a powerful analytical tool, but it’s important to us that models are trained on data that is bound by the same principles. By fostering trust through ethical data practices, we build stronger, more enduring relationships with our customers.”

Emilio Gazis, Global Chief Operating Officer at Altis Consulting

Emilio Gazis
Emilio Gazis, Global Chief Operating Officer at Altis Consulting

“It seems everyone now wants to leap into AI to get more value from data, and, overall, that’s a good thing – there is certainly plenty of value to be extracted. Our experience, however, is that not everyone is immediately ready to make that leap.

“If you’re going to be making business-changing decisions informed by data, it’s vital that you build on a solid foundation. You can’t take shortcuts. The information you are basing decisions and modelling on has to be complete, accurate, and measuring the right things, otherwise, its value can be significantly compromised. At Altis, we’ve developed accelerators and frameworks that can significantly speed up this fundamental process and help clients get value from data faster.

“Once you have a good foundation, you also need to ask the right questions of the data. This can also be challenging if you are starting from scratch. That’s why I’d recommend that you partner with an organisation like Altis, which has more than 25 years of hands-on experience in data and AI. We have helped many large organisations and government agencies use data to see their business differently.”

Konstantin Klyagin, Founder of Redwerk

Konstantin Klyagin
Konstantin Klyagin, Founder of Redwerk

“E-commerce platforms were among the first ones to tap into the potential of big data powered by AI. Every click, search, or purchase leaves a digital footprint we can analyze. That’s how AI-driven product recommendations became a must-have functionality of online stores. Indeed, collecting and analyzing big data is a key to deeper customer understanding, market trends, and operational efficiency.

“But the big data and AI duo goes far beyond suggesting the next pair of shoes. Take fintech companies, for example. They can use AI to sift through a customer’s financial history, spending habits, and creditworthiness in real time, getting immediate insights about the customer and generating a personalized loan offer within minutes. AI algorithms can also help predict potential fraud.

“Getting business insights with the help of AI isn’t just for big corporations anymore. As data collection and AI capabilities continue to evolve, SMBs get access to readily available yet very powerful AI data analytics tools. For example, we at Redwerk continuously test-drive AI tools for business development, including those that can analyze LinkedIn profiles and posts of prospective customers. This increases our chances of reaching out to the right people.”

Alex Newman, Country Manager ANZ at Informatica

Alex Newman
Alex Newman, Country Manager ANZ at Informatica

“Today, many organisations are realising that everyone is ready for GenAI, but their data is not. It’s also no surprise that data management can remain a bottleneck for many, with a recent survey revealing 58% of global Chief Data Officers reporting they need five or more data management tools to manage their data estates. As organisations drown in data, yet starve for trusted insights, this is no longer a sustainable approach to win in business.

“To deliver real value, GenAI needs organisational data to provide differentiated customer value and understand business contexts. The ability to seamlessly navigate complex data ecosystems is no longer nice-to-have, but a necessity. Organisations today need holistic, accurate, protectedand accessible data to get AI that is trusted, accurate, responsible and widely adopted.

“New innovations such as CLAIRE GPT uses GenAI to help manage data and bring the power of data to more users, including line-of-business users. Acting as a smart assistant, it leverages large language models to deliver chat interfaces, making it easier for stakeholders to automate complex data workflows. This can help organisations become more productive, makes data management tasks simpler and drives better business decision making.”

Andrew Gunnis, Founder and Managing Director of GPTStrategic

Andrew Gunnis
Andrew Gunnis, Founder and Managing Director of GPTStrategic

“They’re an emerging technology and are only presently on the radar of early adopters. But AI agents will undoubtedly play an increasingly central role in processing vast amounts of structured and unstructured data and preparing it for analysis. AI agents and chatbots are sometimes confused, but agents are far more sophisticated and powerful. They can do things chatbots can’t, such as analyse historical data to predict future trends.

“AI agents are already helping some of the more innovative Australian businesses gain insights from data that would otherwise be too complex or voluminous to wrangle. While you probably haven’t heard anything about organisations leveraging AI agents to generate actionable insights yet, you can expect to over the next 6-12 months.”

Paul Nguyen, Founder and Director of Creative Culture HQ

Paul Nguyen
Paul Nguyen, Founder and Director of Creative Culture HQ

“I encourage businesses to forget limitations in favour of leveraging every tool at their disposal. Big data and AI can absolutely seem daunting at first, but this technology can and are transforming how businesses gain insights. It’s similar to the way the World Wide Web transformed businesses in the ’90s.

“As a digital marketing agency owner, I see these technologies as powerful tools to unlock deep consumer behavior and market trends. We analyse data patterns to craft laser-focused campaigns that resonate with our clients’ target audiences and drive behaviour change.

“I would encourage all business leaders to embrace the data age. A data-driven approach skyrockets engagement, conversion rates, and fuels informed decisions that allow businesses to unlock their full potential and keep ahead of the curve.”

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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