Highlights from the Inaugural Predict Conference
Written by Cronan McNamara
Predict began with John Elder and Todd Curry explaining tangible examples of predictive analytics in action and transforming services and processes with spectacular results. There are challenges: leadership understanding and buy-in, finding talent and cultural change required to successfully embed predictive analytics in an organisation, but most of all communication and the importance of getting people onside. As Todd Curry said “The answer is not the answer unless your audience agrees with the process.”
We learned how data analytics is at the forefront of the third industrial revolution. We are in a world moving from data denial to data driven. Damien Costello showed how data scientists are about to be cured of The Cassandra Complex and are being taken increasingly seriously.
Sean O’Sullivan described how tech companies are swallowing traditional industries, supplanting them with the combination of data and great applications. In the Founders session, hosted by Sean, we heard from company founders who are disrupting food, pharmaceutical and financial industries, challenging old certainties with the way they source and use data for competitive advantage. These companies are creating new products and changing the way companies think about their markets.
It’s not just high-tech start-ups that are disruptive. Niall McKeown told us about a company that used data to achieve a paradigm shift in a more traditional industry (industrial cleaning products). Niall explained how the company used data to achieve competitive advantage and reinvent itself and ultimately dominated their market.
Cronan McNamara explained Creme Global’s plans to liberate analytics from the specialist world of data scientists in his talk “the democratisation of data analytics”. He showed how Expert Models, a cloud-based platform will make it easier for all kinds of user groups to get value out of data and will join up the three points of a complex triangle – data, data scientists and decision makers.
Following an impressive demonstration of the IBM Watson robot (Newton) by Duncan Anderson, there were words of concern that robots may put us all out of work. The good news is that people still have a place – a panel discussion on Disruption agreed that the combination of computers and people is the way forward.
John Elder talked about the Economist article ‘’How Science Goes Wrong’’ and how many scientific studies in the literature have flawed data analysis at their core. He made perhaps the most inspiring observation of the day – data scientists are in the position to help them to get it right!
The exhibition floor was lively and fun as attendees networked with a range of innovative companies and organisations.
On the third day, Insight hosted a workshop: “Towards a Magna Carta for Data” and John Elder gave a master class on Predictive Analytics. Creme Global hosted a Health Analytics Workshop delivered by Cian O’ Mahony, Head of Expert Modelling and Statistics and Sandrine Pigat, Head of Food and Nutrition at Creme Global.
The Health Analytics workshop focused on a broad range of areas including chemical food safety, cosmetics, personal care products, microbiology, nutrition, and how to predict health outcomes within all of these domains. The workshop participants were given an overview of the different data sets and analysis techniques that can be used in health analytics, and were guided through a set of worked examples in these different areas. Case studies were also conducted using some of Creme Global’s software applications demonstrating the issues, challenges and data driven solutions to current health related questions.
Over 350 professionals in data and analytics attended the inaugural Predict conference at the RDS, Dublin. Run over three days with presentations, panel discussions, exhibitions and hands-on workshops, the Predict conference brought together key players in business, government and research to share learnings and insights and to discuss what data modelling and predictive analytics mean for decision making in the data age.
The Predict conference will publish an eBook on proceedings and will provide access to presentation slides and videos to attendees. There will be a revision webinar on the 21st October 2015 and Predict will return in 2016!