Using AI to clean business data, create insights, says Accenture honcho

More businesses are finding it difficult to trust the quality of existing user information and are looking to use artificial intelligence to clean up large pools of data to make business sense. For instance, when Swedish media group Bonnier AB faced challenges in adhering to GDPR (the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation) for its 180 companies, a solution developed by Accenture brought together its diverse data sources — largely processed manually — and used machine learning and artificial intelligence for faster compliance. Bonnier later found insights that created business opportunities too.

Businesses are now eyeing a data strategy independent of IT strategy and get “actionable insight”, said Sanjeeb Vohra, Group Technology Officer and Global Data Business Lead at Accenture, in an interview with ET. This, according to him, has made the technology services leader take a different approach to solving business problems by “putting artificial intelligence to data and not data into the AI”.

Vohra also said there have been cases of AI solutions, or bots, build using business data and fail. This has proved that the existing data was “incomplete”.

“Businesses want to generate actionable insight, but they are not able to trust the quality — that is one of the top challenges big companies are facing. We have changed the way of engaging with the client because the problems are not usual, every client comes with a new context, (so) we have to co-create...,” Vohra said.

Accenture has been investing heavily in its innovation hub in Bengaluru during the past three years to use AI for making sense of data and clean large sets of user information, he said.

“We have a big strategy on talent growth in data, as this is a hyper growth area for us globally. We will do this organically in India (we are already there in terms of skilling our talent) and in markets where we require certain complementary talent, we will go with inorganic growth,” Vohra said.

For campus hires, Accenture has a “strong boot camp” to train people upfront to make them jobs ready for the transformational work it focuses on.

Accenture takes people in the data strategy and architecture segment (one of the four broad segments) through its Data Master Architect programme, which has been co-created with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to equip people with the right skills, he said.