In 2019, we won’t see more a significant increase in the number data scientists. Instead, we’ll see people who don’t strictly work with data incorporate elements of data science into their existing job roles. Recently, JPMorgan Chase announced that it is putting hundreds of new investment bankers and asset managers through mandatory coding lessons.
Not only that, but current employees would also be upskilled to meet the requirements of an evolving technology landscape. Data scientists have generally been viewed as ‘those nerdy guys in the corner who work with math or data’. That’s no longer the case. Increasingly, we’ll see job descriptions requiring some degree of familiarity and proficiency in data science techniques; indeed, in the future we expect a wide variety of jobs to require employees to write or at least understand code in order to find valuable data and actionable insights. So forget learning Mandarin or Spanish; learn a digital language instead.
AI is the new email
AI is definitely here to stay, but the hype train hasn’t reached its destination yet. It’s very clear that AI is having a profound impact on the world today. Whether it’s being used to improve healthcare, security, or pour better beers, it’s changing the way we do business. However, we’re still very much within the ‘hype cycle’. The c-suite know it’s relevant, but they’re still to make AI a strategic priority – instead, they are adopting it cautiously, on a case-by-case basis. For example, AI’s main use right now is mostly with chatbots, cognitive servicing and doing complex calculations at extreme scale.
What’s so fascinating about this is that people are more likely to engage with the result of AI (and becoming familiar and comfortable with such tools) in their personal rather than their professional lives. In this way, it’s very similar to how email gained in popularity, first as a consumer tool and only later as the main communications platform for business.
In 3-5 years’ time, we’ll start to see AI taking over business models and being incorporated into organisations’ overarching business strategies, but this will only come once the general public have accepted the technology – for example, in customer service chatbots or consumer products like Google Home. Once this acceptance becomes widespread, we’ll see the real beginnings of a business AI boom.
Data regulation upheaval
There’s no doubt GDPR has had a substantial impact. Within the first few days of the legislation formally coming into effect, some of the biggest blue-chips were coming under fire for being non-compliant, most recently the Marriot hotels data breach. Companies are struggling to get to grips with the new rules, and they leave a lot of grey. It’s like going to school, sitting an exam and there being no correct answer and no guidance on how to prepare or mitigate sanctions. One of the most significant unintended consequences of GDPR is that companies are now extremely fearful about using personal data – even though this caution threatens to stymie data-led initiatives that are so important to developing new products, services and business strategies.
This fearfulness is a real shame, as it’s delaying progress that would ultimately benefit businesses and their customers. In 2019, we hope that organisations will become braver, and understand that the GDPR need not limit their ambitions to use consumer data to make better decisions. Being brave and showing explicitly respect for customer data privacy, will generate trust between brands and customers and will positively impact customer loyalty and brand value.
The cloud goes enterprise size
In recent years we’ve come to associate the use of cloud applications with trendy start-ups working out of coworking spaces and coffee shops. Now the capabilities of cloud working are being truly leveraged by large global corporations.
But cloud is not the end goal, just the means to achieving an acceleration of business strategy and agility. In 2019, we will see enterprises reach for the cloud as they adapt to a digital-first world that demand real-time action and interaction with data.
The race is on for companies to dominate the cloud scene. Could we see a race to own the B2B data transaction, in the same way as Amazon has taken over the consumer ecommerce landscape? In the past few years the likes of Google have worked hard to be front of mind for businesses’ cloud needs and time will tell if they can convert their big consumer base into enterprise size accounts.
Article written by Steven Noels, CTO and co-founder of NGDATA.