CDO Magazine Toronto CDO Forum Explores Key Trends in Enterprise Data and Analytics

CDO Magazine Toronto CDO Forum Explores Key Trends in Enterprise Data and Analytics

Dozens of Toronto area data executives gathered at the CDO Magazine Toronto CDO Forum Lunch hosted by Sun Life January 24 to hear from an expert panel of their peers.

Speakers David Atkinson, Sun Life VP, Data & Analytics; Rupinder Dhillon, Sobeys VP, Enterprise Data Office; and Dimitrije Jankovic, Sanofi Global VP, Head of Data & AI Strategy; with moderator Chandreyee Chakravarty, ModelOp Strategic Accounts Executive, shared their insights and valuable perspectives on the "Trends Most Impacting Enterprise Data & Analytics in 2024."

Emphasizing the importance of events like this Toronto CDO Forum Lunch, CDO Magazine Founder and Publisher Steve Wanamaker says, "In a world where data is a strategic asset, it is crucial for CDOs and other data executives to come together, exchange insights, and learn from one another what will shape the future of data and analytics. The Toronto CDO Forum provides a unique platform for fostering collaboration and staying ahead in this dynamic landscape."

Slideshow - Click to enlarge

“It was a pleasure to host the Toronto CDO Forum at our Sun Life office,” says Atkinson. It is a great way to build a community and connect with a diverse group of local data leaders. I enjoy hearing insights from my peers across the industry and how they are tackling common issues and challenges.”

Toronto CDO Forum Organizing Committee member Della Shea, isCDO Executive Director, shares her takeaways from the three panel speakers:

David Atkinson, Sun Life Vice President, Data and Analytics

  • There is a lot of conversation about generative AI and a lot of potential, but it also comes with risks. Sun Life is taking a practical approach to leveraging the technology by looking at where it will make the most impactful difference for employees and operations.

  • The team involves the control functions from the get-go to be part of creating development plans vs. being an afterthought.

  • Using KPIs to track and measure ROI on use cases like average customer contact center call time.

Rupinder Dhillon, Sobeys VP, Enterprise Data Office

  • Generative AI is not a strategy. The business strategy is still the strategy, and AI is a tool. Sobeys is taking the approach of how AI fits into business and IT strategies vs. being an independent strategy, while ensuring the necessary education and governance is in place.

  • Approach to use cases is defining what they want to do and then figure out how. AI is just one tool that would be appropriate to yield results for use cases like space optimization and personalization.

  • Given they are not quite sure where regulations are going in AI, they are not waiting to put in place things like Ethical Design principles. It is common sense to do your best and do the right thing to not lose customer trust.

Dimitrije Jankovic, Sanofi Global VP, Head of Data and AI Strategy

  • Sanofi has embraced AI and GenAI at the top with public support and endorsement from the CEO. They look for business processes that can be fully transformed. Use cases are determined by senior leaders through organized design thinking sessions made up of teams of people who do not typically interact with each other. 

  • They look for problems and areas where digital transformation would have the greatest impact. An example of how AI has transformed processes includes writing clinical reports – the turnaround time has gone from 17 weeks to 2 weeks.

  • Sanofi establishes data standards that are agnostic to regulations as regulations change. The Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer brings their perspective on what needs to be enabled.

Highlighting their key takeaways from the panel discussion are Toronto CDO Forum Organizing Committee members Owen Tak, BMW Financial Services Canada Manager, Business Intelligence & Data Management, and Aida Tahiri, York University Adjunct Professor:

  • Safely leveraging AI involves ensuring legal compliance with data protection laws, establishing ethical guidelines for fairness and transparency, and providing employee training on ethical AI use. Integrating these considerations helps align AI practices with regulations and ethical standards for responsible deployment within organizations.

  • Educating executives on AI and managing expectations is crucial for successful integration. Begin by providing a clear understanding of AI capabilities and limitations. Showcase real-world use cases and potential benefits while addressing the complexities and uncertainties involved. By establishing realistic expectations, promoting ongoing education, and emphasizing the collaborative nature of AI, we can ensure executives make informed decisions and effectively lead AI initiatives within organizations.

  • Connecting enterprise strategy and objectives with all business areas and personal objectives to ensure alignment on priorities and deliverables. A holistic approach on deliverables using AI has driven a holistic view of technology and platforms to be used thus ensuring enterprise integration.

  • Connecting the success of the AI initiatives (the shiny stuff) with the need for clean and qualitative data (the dull day-to-day work) is something all CDO's are trying to seize to escalate data management practices down to business area owners and educate the business.

For Tahiri, events with the Toronto CDO Forum community are “always good to start new conversations and keep the knowledge-sharing going between data executives. There is always a reinforcement of what everyone is doing right, or new ideas and approaches are shared among leaders.”

Qahir Rajwani, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan Director, Data Science & Analytics Solutions, adds his takeaways:

  • Focus on AI has led to investment in data governance and shown importance of how bad data could lead to gaps in use cases.

  • LLMs can help identify when policies are inconsistent which means updating knowledge documents. It is important to embrace this technology and know that it won't solve other operational issues but help find opportunities elsewhere.

  • GenAI is a bit overhyped, and it is important to have realistic expectations tied to  business outcomes.

Summarizing his experience, Joe Greenwood, Mastercard VP Global Data Strategy - Data & Analytic Services, says, “It was very helpful to hear from others how they too are thoughtfully trying to get AI and Gen AI to prove value while designing governance from the start. There were lots of learnings similar to what we are going through and some interesting bits on what the speakers made work.”

Leaders attending the CDO Magazine Toronto CDO Forum Lunch included:

Stephanie Anagnostou, Sun Life Business Analyst, Data Governance; Eman Abo Alya, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan Data Science & Analytics Solutions Analyst; David Atkinson, Sun Life Vice President, Data and Analytics; Denish Bhavsar, McCain Foods Director, Global Data Governance; Mihaela Capra, Sun Life AVP, Global Finance Data & Analytics; Paul Childerhouse, EDM Council Canadian & U.S Advocate; Rex Davis, Royal Bank of Canada CDO; Rupinder Dhillon, Sobeys VP Enterprise Data Office; Dilan Goonetilleke, Sun Life Director, Data Governance- Finance; Joe Greenwood, Mastercard VP Global Data Strategy - Data & Analytic Services; Dimitrije Jankovic, Sanofi Global Director | Data Program Director & Member of Data Leadership Team; Jessica Jolly, Recursion Global Head, Data Strategy & Informatics; Hardayal Kalla, Canada Life AVP - Data Enablement and Governance; Pranav Kapoor Sun Life AVP Audit, Digital, Data Analytics & IT Advisory; Mitu Mann, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Director, Enterprise Data Governance; Manoja Manoharan, Interac Corp. Director, Data Strategy & Business Intelligence; Eric Morrow, Bank of Montreal Managing Director, Data Science & AI; Anu Oladele, Flexiti VP, Data Engineering; Jainna Patel, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan Senior Business Intelligence Analyst; Qahir Rajwani, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan Director Data Science and Analytics Solutions; Amir Sepasi Manulife AVP for Advanced Analytics; Vidit Shah, Sun Life Data Governance Analyst; Della Shea, isCDO Executive Director; Ferial Sheybani, Colliers International VP, Head of Technology and Data; Jonathan Shver, Apotex Inc. Associate Director, Enterprise Advanced Analytics; Aida Tahiri, York University Adjunct Professor; Alex Tait, Bank of Montreal US Chief Data and Analytics Officer; Owen Tak, BMW Financial Services Canada Manager, Business Intelligence & Data Management; Risa Weverman Riber, Investment Management Corporation of Ontario Senior Manager, Data Management.

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