Data Innovation Summit turns five next March. Along the way, we have had fantastic speakers unselfishly sharing their knowledge on stage with their peers. Without them, this journey would be impossible.
This interview is part of an interview series dedicated to humanising Data and AI innovation and celebrating speakers who have presented at the Data Innovation Summit. The emphasis lies on the Data/AI people/practitioners, their professional journey and their stories.
Data and AI Innovators are not afraid of failures because they know they lead to lessons learned and experience gained in data and analytics. But foremost, they are adamant in their drive and vision to transform outdated business models by proving what data can do.
Amer Mohammed, a speaker at the Data Innovation Summit 2019, is one such Data Innovator with a strong impetus to lead companies on the data road and prepare them for the digital economy.
Hyperight: Hi Amer, we are glad to have you with us today and have the chance to catch up. You were a speaker at Data Innovation Summit 2019. To refresh our memories and introduce yourself to our readers, please tell us a bit about yourself and the company you are coming from.
Amer Mohammed: Hi, nice to be here. My Name is Amer Mohammed and today I am the CDO for Coop Sweden AB but during my presentation, I was the CDO for CapGemini Scandinavia. I am mostly known for the exceptional work we did at Stena Line, Europe’s largest ferry operator. That work got a lot of attention in media because “people” said it could not be transformed from being a dry and old-fashioned organization to the AI powerhouse it is today. I think it’s the only ferry operator in the shipping industry that employs a Head of AI and they have the largest data science team in the industry.
Hyperight: Next year we are celebrating our 5th anniversary. A lot has changed with data and advanced analytics during these 5 years. From your point of view, where do we see the biggest changes and advancements we have had?
Amer Mohammed: The biggest changes in the “AI and data” space I have seen in the past 5 years, from a commercial point of view, is in computer vision and conversational. I am sure that if you ask a really smart data scientist they will answer differently but from a point of view of technological advancements that will change how we do business and offer better experiences, I would say vision and conversational technologies.
Hyperight: Amer, in your 2019 presentation you talked about the autonomous business as the end game of digitalisation. Almost a year after, what’s the landscape like regarding digitalisation and achieving autonomy in the business? Are we heading in the right direction?
Amer Mohammed: Yeah most definitely, I would say I was a little ahead of the curve back then, but looking at all the advancements in the data science space, we are definitely going to see more and more autonomy in day to day operations. This is a good thing because we as companies and brands need to focus way more on the experience than we do today. And autonomy releases resources so that you can shift focus.
Virtual assistants will be as natural to have in your “head” as a phone is in your hand today.
Hyperight: Probably you’ve gone through some changes on a professional level yourself. Could you share how your career path has advanced during these 5 years?
Amer Mohammed: I have been very lucky in terms of career. I have a strong technical background before I joined my first “real job” as Head of Innovation for Stena Line I was basically a programmer and an architect building solutions and platforms in my own, Venture Capital funded, startups. Having crashed 3 of them and sold 2, I got the attention of Stena Line and the Stena Group. Using a naive and tech-savvy approach has allowed me to change how things are done. Instead of spending 8 months discussing certain issues I simply use my technological background to build it and test it out before we even have a “pre-study” meeting. This has allowed me to move incredibly fast as well as showcasing the things I talk about instead of talking about them on a powerpoint slide. After my successful journey at Stena Line, I got a job as the CDO for CapGemini briefly before I got the great honour of being the new CDO for Coop Sweden AB heading the new Digital Unit that was created last summer 2019. It is incredibly honouring as Coop is a well known and loved brand.
Hyperight: We know that you love to talk about chatbots. You stated that in 7 year’s time all communication between the business and its customers will be carried out through a virtual assistant. But what’s your outlook for the next decade, where do you see virtual assistants in 2030?
Amer Mohammed: Virtual assistants will be as natural to have in your “head” as a phone is in your hand today. I think the movie “Her” with Joaquin Phoenix is a pretty close representation of how life will be in the year 2030.