LatentView’s Ninth Analytics Roundtable, New York (Apr 27, 2018)

Reshaping business with AI & ML

Excerpts from LatentView’s Ninth Analytics Roundtable at New York

AI in beauty: the Revlon success story

Rahul Mehrotra, SVP, Strategic Initiatives, Revlon & Elizabeth Arden

In his keynote address, Rahul Mehrotra, spoke about leveraging the power of AI and ML to truly transform the beauty business. If companies want to win in the highly competitive beauty business, it is imperative to be able to catch trends that will define their customers and tap that opportunity. Rahul talked about how even traditionally creative processes like product development in beauty can benefit from scalable AI/ML by providing beauty experts a sense of consumer trends and preferences. In a world of rapidly changing consumer preferences, native digital competitors and massive amounts of data, a man-machine combination (right talent and AI) can be a source of competitive advantage for brands. While deploying AI solutions, it’s critical to ensure adoption. Rahul ended his interesting keynote by stressing the importance of building custom solutions that fit an organization’s processes and driving bottom-up as well as top-down change.

Forging digital transformation through analytics

Participants: Stacy Gordon – Chief Product Officer, HelloFresh, Peter Harrison – Global Head of Marketing Insights, CIGNA, Samir Mehta – Chief Data Officer, VertivCo
Moderator: Shalabh, Director, CPG Practice, LatentView Analytics

In this panel discussion, CXOs discussed how they have embedded analytics in the DNA of the organizations to transform processes, adopting a multi-disciplinary approach and use data and analytics as a core strategic capability within a larger digital business strategy. Here are a few key takeaways:

Kicking off the discussion, Stacy Gordon – Chief Product Officer, HelloFresh, said that theirs is an analytically-driven company. HelloFresh uses analytics as a differentiator in every aspect of its product development – recipe development, ratings from recipes, feedback from consumers to improve its product and thereby customer experience. Adding to that Samir Mehta – Chief Data Officer, VertivCo said that a key component for VertivCo is to get its data in order for higher order analytics. Master Data Management is extremely critical and that is the focus of the company as without good data, analytics is of no use. Peter Harrison – Global Head of Marketing Insights, CIGNA spoke about needing to look at big data and small data together: one area where Cigna has been doing this is they used a survey of 600 people to create data segments (small data) and then create a matchkey to map this to the clinical trial data. Therefore, attitudinal data is now mapped to trial data and can be much more powerful in driving analytics.

Talking about an inside-out change, Samir said that VertivCo, is now engaged in an initiative to transform its data infrastructure. They have embarked on moving data to the cloud and centralization of data is key to ensure everyone has the same version of data to do analytics. Stacy built upon this to say that we should centralize data, standardize metrics and localize decision-making. Peter concluded the session by mentioning that if he were in PepsiCo again, he will stop spending all his money on market share data (from traditional companies like Nielsen) and look at creating end-user measurement systems for CPG companies. He feels that it is important to improve the last mile connectivity to the user and the money used on market share could be well spent on systems that track users, gets them to opt-in for a reward and then share their data on consumption.

Disrupting businesses through AI & ML

Panelists:  Neeraj Arora, Head of Customer Analytics & Consumer Science, AIG, Alain Biem, Head of Data Science, Standard & Poors, Rajat Minocha, Director, Business Planning & Strategy, Microsoft, Victor Martinez, Lead Data Scientist, State Street, Bill Stevenson, AVP, Metlife
Moderator: Kevin Sieck, Director – Digital | Marketing Analytics & Innovation, LatentView Analytics

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to be the catalyst of business transformation and disruption in today’s digital economy and this transformation is ushering in a new era of how companies run their operations and engage with customers. Our second round of panelists shared best practices of how leading organizations are harnessing the power of AI to propel their digital transformation journey. Here are a few highlights:

Rajat Minocha, Director, Business Planning & Strategy, Microsoft spoke about how AI is a mechanism by which one can understand the user better and help/simplify the things that they would do normally. Chipping in, Neeraj Arora, Head of Customer, Analytics & Consumer Science, AIG, said that firms like Facebook and Google have made AI and ML the buzz of the town. He spoke about analytics being a simple part of the puzzle but change management being 90% of the problem in an AI-driven solution. Being able to step back, look at the end goal and then see if analytics is really needed or useful is as important before just developing analytics with no end goal in sight.

From an AI perspective, Voice is the current range – while in Search, this cannibalizes the current share, this is becoming more important and there are important use cases such as the ability to do voice analysis to detect whether the person is telling the truth or a lie while making a claim. According to Alain Biem, Head of Data Science, Standard & Poors, in their company, AI is being extensively used in call-center applications and also for important calls and briefings with the CEO and investors with AI in voice being used in a big way.

One aspect that the panelists touched upon was the disruption that AI will bring and the people aspect. This is the same feeling people had when computers became a household thing and people felt that computers would take jobs away and we have now learnt to live with computers. In the same fashion, we will learn to live with robots, machines etc. Another hypothesis was – if you don’t use AI to improve your process, someone else will and the companies that are built on traditional models will not exist in the future (unless they reinvent themselves).

While being disruptive, AI will bring efficiency and will be useful in the long run to us.  Man + Machine will be the most powerful combination and not just machines or just humans. In a sense, AI is not going to replace a role but modify a role that will exist. It will take away the mundane processes and increase efficiency, which in turn will lower cost and allow people to think and work on more strategic things than they are doing today.