VIDEO | Scotiabank VP Data and AI Risk: Data Ethics Is Essential to Our Business Operations

VIDEO | Scotiabank VP Data and AI Risk: Data Ethics Is Essential to Our Business Operations

(US and Canada) Anna Hannem, Vice President of Data and AI Risk at Scotiabank, speaks with Subhash Kari, EVP, and Chief Innovation Officer at Infocepts, in a video interview, about data ethics, putting governance processes in place, cultural awareness and communication, protecting customer trust and incorporating AI while keeping risk in check.

Hannem begins by stating that Scotia Bank has incorporated data ethics into its code of conduct and that it is essential to its business operations. She adds that the bank has launched a course to ensure everyone learns about the implications of data ethics in their everyday business operations and for their customers.

Further, Hannem states that the main focus is on customer data and how to handle it with transparency, respect, and honesty. She affirms that to embed the aspects into organizational culture, various communication and change management efforts have been in place, including roadshows and talking to the highest levels of the organization up to the C-suite.

Moving forward, Hannem states that the organization has a robust governance process that illustrates how each player - technology, analytics, and business - functions. Many organizations consider data ethics a technology problem but she expresses that the ethics part actually sits under the data and analytics function.

Additionally, she emphasizes the importance of investing in cultural awareness and communication. She advocates the need for an ethics code and ESG report to send the right message. Furthermore, Hannem maintains that talking to people one-on-one to personalize the message has led to greater adoption and people feeling valued for getting the best products and services. She reveals that the bank has also developed a tool to assess data ethics to ensure appropriate scrutiny of use cases that impact the customer.

When asked about the progress, Hannem reckons it has been about two years since the start of setting up the data ethics program.

Year one included laying the groundwork: Understanding data ethics, defining the scope, identifying parties involved, and designing a program.

Year two was focused on execution: Emphasizing the need for a change management procedure through communication, road shows, education, and training.

Next, she highlights the value of customer trust for the organization. Hannem continues that without it, the relationship between the customer and the organization is severed. Her team aims to proactively protect customer trust.

Speaking on the impact of AI, Hannem considers it to be as impactful as the World Wide Web (www). However, she says that while it offers opportunities for automation, productivity, and better work-life balance, it does come with risks. She believes that regulations and policies have yet to catch up with the speed of this technology, so it is necessary to create safe guardrails so that the technology does not cause unintentional or malicious harm. At the same time, examining the data used to feed AI to keep bias in check is crucial.

In conclusion, Hannem suggests organizations balance innovation with compliance to ensure that AI is used within the organizational risk appetite and for the good of everyone.

CDO magazine appreciates Anna Hannem for sharing her insights and data journey with our global community.

See more from Anna Hannem

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