Chief Technology Officer at FactGem
Tell us about your role at FactGem and the team/technology you handle.
I am the Co-Founder and CTO of FactGem, a data analytics company. Because we are a lean startup, and I have experience in this area, I also manage our Sales division. From a technology standpoint, we are very focused on developing technology that allows users to manage the data necessary to run the business without having to involve those who we traditionally think of as “IT people.”
What are your predictions on the state of AI/ML analytics for Marketing and Sales in 2018-2020?
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence is already a major factor in Marketing & Sales. Go ahead and use any major search engine to search for a high dollar value product — then look at your Facebook page, your customized Google search results page, etc. You will see targeted ads based on your recent searches almost immediately. The media is full of anecdotal stories about this type of interaction.
This type of advertising will continue — and likely — become more aggressive, using Machine Learning and AI to recommend products that are related to items you’ve looked at online, similar to how recommendation engines currently work for shopping sites.
How do you scout for AI-centric automation technologies? How could AI push the ceiling in the technology space for Business Intelligence?
I think we are at a very interesting inflection point for AI and BI. Traditionally, BI has been about providing business leaders with visually accessible information that is often — but not always — interactive. BI has been focused on taking the existing information and essentially, summarizing it as an easily digestible graph or chart. That ability was initially transformational and remains important in today’s organizations. However, AI can be used to go beyond just showing what happened to allow for a predictive display of what is likely to happen in the near future.
How do you see trends in Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Methodology driving further improving sales growth?
Predictive technologies, typically driven by AI/ML, are going to be the future for the modern business. They are going to allow business to go beyond the current state of the art, where we make decisions based on our limited understanding of past data. We will be able to use AI and ML to do a much more exhaustive analysis of the data and extrapolate future trends, as well as provide proactive options that the management can take to positively affect the business.
How do you prepare for the disruptions in the industry?
Disruption isn’t, by definition, something that you can prepare for. It is something that happens to you. I think the best you can do is to try being the one doing the disrupting. The act of pushing the envelope to find completely new ways of approaching business goals puts your organization in a mindset to accept change. While you may not be the company that disrupts the industry, you will at the very least be more ready to ride that wave.
Which tools and technologies best serve current business goals?
I think that graph models, and graph databases, in particular, are going to be critical for the next 10-20 years.
Tell us more about your technology roadmap for the next two years?
We are going to continue to strongly focus on technology that enables companies to leverage the relationships between important business entities (e.g. customers, products, advertisements, purchases, locations, stores, etc.) in order to quickly make impactful business decisions. This focus will likely include efforts to make the application of Data Science and Machine Learning much more accessible to the end users. Additionally, we are likely to explore new ways of visualizing highly connected data and predictive information that is extracted from that data via ML.
How should businesses unlock the value of their data management platforms for better communication, team performance and Marketing ROI?
I believe that the most fundamental thing a company can do is to commit to a data-driven culture. Business leaders must drive marketing and team performance decisions based on data versus how leaders feel about the situation, or their “gut instinct,” which is all too often the case today. When organizations discover that they do not have all of the data available that they would like for these decisions, they need to commit to concrete steps to acquit that data for future decisions.
Thanks for chatting with us, Clark.
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