Founder and Managing Director of Merit Data and Technology, Con Conlon, talked in a live panel at this year’s AI Summit. The discussion about Enabling Agile Innovation in the Digitisation of Products:

  • Robert Chilvers – Data Director at Kaluza
  • Graeme Tester – AI Commerical Lead, EMEA at Omdia
  • Susara van den Heever – Program Director at IBM Data Science Elite
  • Alex Cesar – Group Chief Technology Officer at Kantar

In the video below, Con Conlon and Susara van den Heever discuss the identification of technologies and initiatives to help accelerate innovation in the wake of 2020 and how technology leaders can to leverage next-generation APIs, ML algorithms and more to accelerate their businesses in the wake of a new data-driven post-Covid society.

For the full panel discussion, click here.

Transcription: Adopting Digitisation of Products for Success

Panel interviewer: Susara, to you in terms of how business leaders are finding innovative ways to rethink customer engagement, can you talk a little bit about that?

Susara: I think the one aspect, it’s maybe not that innovative, what we saw an uptick in during covid is virtual assistance. Those have been out there for a while, but when Covid hit, there were so many more enquiries that our clients received and their staff had to be sent home and that benefit is now staying because the virtual agents deal with basic enquiries and that frees up our people to deal with the more complex enquiries that need that human touch. So we definitely see an increase in virtual assistants and what those assistants can actually do because the innovation ofcourse increases. And in the way of how we, IBM engage. We’ve had a big emphasis of changing part of the culture. We see a lot less patience for Power Points and talking so our motto is show don’t tell.

Con: Thank God

Susara: So I think that’s the big change. I think the world has discovered that we don’t have so much time. We want to use our time really efficiently. I want to see what you can do.

Con: We had a really good ringside seat on a change case study, we do a lot of work with publishers and that’s an industry that took an absolute caning with advertising. Merit helped a lot of publishers to create data products and information products whereas previously they would have had a magazine or a series of magazines in a particular sector, in maritime, construction or fashion.

Getting them to pivot to create data products was a massive change, the fundamental product that they were selling was different, from magazines to an intelligence product.

How you sell it is different. Is your sales team capable of selling it? At Merit we helped to engineer the data production that fed into those products and the front-end to which the audience was consuming that data if it was construction data or shipping data.

The really successful ones, if you look at a lot of the big information businesses now like Emap or Ascential are much more profitable and experiencing more growth. Informa, the people that organised this event, pivoted into events and information products. These are great examples of change and these companies did well to make a 180 degree change at an industry level. It was a process we enjoyed and we were able to use all sorts of interesting tech to get to that destination. Some publishers didn’t and have obviously died a death during Covid.

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