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Exploring the Role of Data and AI in Business: Insights from a Chief Operating Officer

Data and AI in Business

AI has shaken the world and permeated every part of the business landscape. It’s becoming impossible to ignore. But as businesses start adopting AI, issues such as data safety and adherence to legal regulations come up. Since working with AI technology is still new for most businesses, adapting to this landscape presents many questions. 

Natalia Shuliak, the Chief Operating Officer at DoubleCloud, a platform that helps data-driven companies build subsecond analytics on proven open-source technologies like ClickHouse, Kafka, and Airflow, has some answers. 

While I don’t think AI will entirely replace jobs, it’s evident that there are real use cases and practical applications for this new wave of AI.” 

  • Natalia Shuliak, COO at DoubleCloud

This article features highlights from the Data Chats podcast episode with Natalia Shuliak on how organizations can leverage AI, potential issues arising from adoption and navigating data compliance.  

Editor’s note: This conversation has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity. 

 

How do you distinguish between the hype and legitimate advancements in AI, especially with the emergence of technologies like ChatGPT and Bard? 

The key lies in evaluating the use case of AI advancements. For instance, in my personal experience, while I believe in the potential of blockchain, it is still more of a belief than a concrete use case. 

On the other hand, when it comes to Chat GPT, I found real value in its ability to quickly answer questions and provide summaries or ideas for text analysis. Although there are certain tasks where humans may still outperform AI, the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of AI make it a valuable tool. 

While I don’t think AI will entirely replace jobs, it’s evident that there are real use cases and practical applications for this new wave of AI. We are even exploring integrating certain AI capabilities into our products to simplify tasks such as data analysis and provide quick summaries. This demonstrates that the use case for AI is genuine and not just hype. 

 

How do you maintain a competitive edge when you and your competitors have access to technologies like ChatGPT and generative AI?

I believe that the fundamental principles of business remain unchanged. By leveraging smart individuals, implementing effective go-to-market strategies, and cultivating competitive advantages, companies can still outperform their rivals. 

While it’s true that access to AI technologies will become increasingly commonplace, incorporating AI into products will likely become a necessity, much like the ubiquity of computers in the past. As evidenced by Microsoft’s integration of AI into its products, various companies will follow suit in due time. Therefore, the rules of business will persist, with AI serving as a new foundation. The question now becomes: what comes next after all the AI integration? 

 

When adopting generative AI, how do you navigate the complexities of data privacy, GDPR compliance, cybersecurity, and overall data protection while maximizing the benefits of AI?

Recent incidents, like the data breach in Italy, emphasize the importance of data security. It’s crucial to be cautious with sharing sensitive information with ChatGPT or similar technologies, as they can learn and potentially expose it to competitors. This is where General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and data protection come into play.

There’s a fascinating ethical aspect to all of this. The question of who owns the data holds significant weight in today’s world. The future trajectory is uncertain, but compliance will undoubtedly play a role, even as fraud attempts increase. Have you heard about the projections that 90% of LLM use cases will be related to fraud? However, we can hope for countermeasures and efforts to mitigate such risks.

 

Are you concerned about the potential for certain practices or investments to be banned as new technologies like generative AI emerge?

Progress is made one step at a time, and staying updated with trends is important. However, the fundamental principles of business remain constant. If a company offers genuine value and serves a real need, laws can adapt. I don’t believe a single law can completely destroy a business without a genuine use case and a compelling story. It’s uncommon for all competitors to fail due to a law change; it suggests a lack of belief or a business built on hype. That’s my perspective on the matter.

 

What factors are influencing your decision-making process amidst the evolving landscape?

There are two main approaches to consider. The first is the customer-centric approach, similar to Amazon’s approach, where you engage with customers, test hypotheses, and fulfill their needs to drive real growth. 

The second approach involves cutting through the noise and understanding the reality of how people live and the behavior of the economy. By identifying emerging trends and focusing on areas of innovation, such as the current wave of industrial advancements seen in green energy, you can provide real value to companies or build a business around these opportunities. Exploring podcasts like How to Build a Startup can also offer valuable insights on disruptive strategies and finding what comes next.

 

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You’ll learn to: 

  • Focus data projects on business impact: Craft the questions that lead to productive data projects, and provide important context as data is acquired, curated and prepared for analysis. 
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  • Champion data-driven decision making: Break down silos and help make data both accessible and actionable throughout your organization.

Learn More 



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  • Pragmatic Editorial Team

    The Pragmatic Editorial Team comprises a diverse team of writers, researchers, and subject matter experts. We are trained to share Pragmatic Institute’s insights and useful information to guide product, data, and design professionals on their career development journeys. Pragmatic Institute is the global leader in Product, Data, and Design training and certification programs for working professionals. Since 1993, we’ve issued over 250,000 product management and product marketing certifications to professionals at companies around the globe. For questions or inquiries, please contact [email protected].

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