In the ever-evolving technology landscape, data analytics and data strategy continue to play a larger role in economics and business models. Director of the Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence at the University of St. Thomas, Dr. Manjeet Rege, co-hosts the "All Things Data" podcast with adjunct professor and Innovation Fellow Dan Yarmoluk. The podcast provides insight into the significance of data science as it relates to business models, business economics and delivery systems. Through informative conversation with leading data scientists, business model experts, technologists and futurists, Rege and Yarmoluk discuss how to utilize, harness, and deploy data science, data-driven strategies, and enable digital transformations.
Rege and Yarmoluk spoke with Sam Dawes on middle market manufacturers and the challenges that they face as they attempt to attract and retain top talent. Dawes is a digital transformation expert who works with manufacturers to design and implement digital transformations that help to improve operational excellence. In 2016, he was recognized by Consulting Magazine as a "Rising Star of the Profession" (35 under 35) for Excellent Client Service. Here are some highlights from their conversation.
Q. How do you educate your clients on the potential of data technology?
A. What’s really interesting about middle market manufacturing is that they haven’t had to grapple with technology, especially cutting-edge technology in an IT sense, in a data sense, really in their history. Many of them are founder-owned, founder-led, family-owned, family-led organizations who have really good products have a high focus on their customers and are really passionate about creating a family environment that they serve right in their local community. They’ve been able to have highly successful businesses without necessarily having to solve for things like automation and solve for things like data science.
Q. How do you promote data technology to manufacturing clients who may be resistant to changing practices?
A. Everybody comes from such a tactile world in manufacturing. Like if you can’t see it, it’s not real. So really figuring out how to humanize and make approachable these concepts is typically the hardest bridge to cross.
Q. What do you think is missing from the conversation between middle market manufacturers and digital technology experts?
A. “You can’t go into a middle market manufacturer and say OK we’re going to do this AI or this machine learning project for you or we’re going to digitally transform your business. Those big kind of buzzword statements just don’t resonate, they don’t make sense. They’re a little arcane.”
Listen to their conversation here: