Interviews

Big Data Belfast Speaker Profile: Paul Brooke on digital transformation

  •  - By Analytics Engines

    With this year’s Big Data Belfast conference just around the corner, the team at Analytics Engines is profiling some of the event's most notable speakers.

    Don’t leave digital transformation to the techies, urges Paul Brook, director of data analytics and AI at DELL Technologies. “We urge people not to think that it's the technology in and of itself that is transformative - that is just a tool for the organisational idea that you have… it's your idea that has the value,” he says.

    Revving up for what promises to be a galvanising session at Big Data Belfast, Paul says it’s too easy to believe that digital transformation means plunging into a world of maths or science. “Digital transformation is really about whatever it is that you do really well. Apply something that is in the digital world to that or apply your expertise to the digital world and you will typically find out very quickly what it is that you’re going to be able to transform,” he says.

    That approach ranges from McLaren Racing whose advanced materials research is helping Birmingham Children’s Hospital to develop cutting-edge heart valves through to cattle farming in India. And there’s a lesson in that for DELL customers - “I spend a lot of time saying don’t just look in your own industry - you may that completely unrelated industries have already fixed that problem.”

    Paul’s role lies within the pre-sales element of DELL Technologies working with customers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Much of that work at the moment has to do with how computers see data - and can be adapted to all sorts of industries, such as food retailers.

    “If your machine and your AI can recognise a bad pattern, they can save a lot in just simple quality control,” Paul says. “I’d argue that at the moment that’s consuming my guys’ time up the most - that kind of working with a big retailer and using cameras to turn over certain products in the freshness of fresh food in their chiller cabinets, and also linking to energy consumption.”

    His book, ‘The Life of AI’, came out last year and many of his predictions are coming true much more quickly than expected. “This time last year I was sitting around thinking I will probably be having this sort of conversation with a small number of large organisations,” he says.

    “I was in Scotland talking to an entrepreneur who's just using AI to potentially take the financial industry and give it the sort of shape that it’s not had since we invented double-entry bookkeeping and is not possible at this sort of scale without AI. The adoption rates are way quicker than I expected,” he says.

    And he insists AI is there not just to automate but is delivering fundamental value to some of the most traditional businesses as well as creating new businesses. “I’m a big fan of the human in the loop. We need more people to get involved and engaged. This is not something that folks should step back and leave it to the techies - this involves everyone, so get involved.”

    Paul Brook will be speaking at #BDB19 which takes place on Thursday October 24 at the ICC Waterfront. To book tickets visit www.bigdatabelfast.com. Listen to Paul’s full interview on the Analytics Engines’ podcast ‘Insights: Perspectives From The World Of Data’

    Follow @BigDataBelfast and @AnalyticsEng on Twitter for more information.

    Presented by Analytics Engines and supported by headline sponsor Ernst & Young (EY), supporting sponsors Dell, CME Group, Allstate Northern Ireland, SmashFly, SpotX and Altra Executives and industry sponsors Invest Northern Ireland and Signifyd, the event promises to provide insight into emerging trends and issues in data and business analytics.

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