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Howard Dresner: Now is Time to Double Down on Data

by | Aug 5, 2020 | Articles

So far, 2020 has been a remarkable year for the development of data-driven analytics and business intelligence.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, analytics software vendors rushed to help organizations involved in the fight against the virus develop resources to inform the public. Now, vendors are working directly with governments and healthcare organizations to come up with tools to help make data-driven decisions related to the spread of the coronavirus. Data has become a key factor for success.

Howard Dresner, founder of Dresner Advisory Services, said now is the time “to double down on data,” and pointed out two major trends of 2020 – cloud migration services and AI features, like natural language processing (NLP).

“Everything is moving to the cloud, and all the vendors support cloud to one degree or another,” Dresner said, as cited by the TechTarget.

While some companies are investing heavily to become cloud-native, others are lagging behind. Although everyone seems to understand the importance of moving to the cloud, some are simply not designed for the cloud, having an old architecture.

Another prominent trend is NLP. Although NLP has been around for decades, due to high maintenance and costs, it stayed a bit in the background. However, now with modern technology constantly getting better, there is a lot more AI and machine learning built into it. As a result, NLP is getting much more mainstream.

“I’ve seen some pretty interesting demos… It’s encouraging, but there’s still lots of work that needs to be done to automate and simplify and generalize the technology. It’s promising,” Dresner said.

AI adoption rates in 2020

Jeff Loucks, executive director of The Center for Technology, Media & Telecommunications at Deloitte, said that 2020 is the year that is going to take the adoption of AI into the enterprise mainstream.

According to Deloitte’s most recent “State of AI in the Enterprise” report, out of 2,737 executives surveyed across nine countries, everyone said they were already using some form of AI in their companies.

Based on the report, 53% of the AI adopters spent more than USD $20 million over the past year on AI-related technology and talent. 71% said they are expecting to increase the spending in the next year.

Almost everyone (93%) said they use cloud-based AI services, adding that companies prefer to buy the services instead of building their own AI capabilities.

“It’s easier to get started,” Loucks said, adding that compared to building a system, cloud services are faster to deploy and generally end up costing less.

What some organizations are doing wrong

Despite the importance of data, many organizations are still trying to do what they tried in the past, but with better effort. What is even worse, some are reacting to the pandemic without using the benefits of data.

This can lead to overreactions, such as unnecessarily reducing workforce without truly understanding the details of why they are laying off workers, who should stay and who should go, and not knowing when they should be hiring workers back.

That is why to avoid these reckless actions, knowing the details of a business and understanding current trends in one’s market, business ought to be using data.

Not all companies are going to survive in the post-COVID-19 world. Those who will, however, need to embrace data.  At the end of the day, in data we should trust in the times of trouble.

“If you have data, it speaks truth, as opposed to the last five people you spoke to or your own biases. Data always challenges those, and we’re always collecting data, and that’s a great way to learn,” – Dresner said.


AI | analytics
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