Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies are driving unprecedented advances in productivity in every industry, and the data-driven decisions these technologies enable unlock major growth opportunities.
In Workday’s recent C-Suite Global AI Indicator Report, 98% of CEOs surveyed said they would instantly benefit from AI implementation. One of the executives featured in the report is Ajay Sabhlok, CIO and chief data officer (CDO) at Rubrik Inc., a Workday customer. He predicts that “AI and ML will become an outside advisor that is with you all the time.”
At the recent Workday Rising conference in San Francisco, Bob Evans, founder of Cloud Wars and co-founder of Acceleration Economy, sat down with Ajay in the Workday Podcast studio to discuss how business leaders should manage data for real-time insights. During their discussion, Ajay defined the importance of data-driven insights, the role of the CIO and CDO in extracting and implementing them, and the influence that AI and ML technologies have on this critical business strategy.
Capitalizing on Generative AI
Bob began the discussion by asking Ajay to frame Rubrik’s approach to generative AI — by far the most significant AI advancement in recent years and one with the capacity to revolutionize how businesses turn real-time data insights into actions. Ajay explained the capability of generative AI to expand the reach of a company’s data ecosystem by drawing on knowledge from outside sources while enabling companies to address new challenges.
However, he also urged caution, advising companies to identify their core business objectives and go after the low-hanging fruit, such as productivity and efficiency, to avoid the potential negative impacts of generative AI, such as content loss and security breaches.
Taking this approach, said Ajay, is a good way to create a foundation for emerging business cases and integrate the technology in innovative ways. He later explained how, with generative AI, people need to first imagine what is possible, and then construct that journey using the technology.
So, how does a company address data management and the proliferation of AI and ML technologies to achieve real-time insights? Company culture plays a significant role, particularly the relationship between the CDO and CIO.
Working From the Same Playbook
“A company requires data-driven insights, and unless you can pivot over to becoming data-driven, you will always be missing out on timely insights to make key business decisions,” explained Ajay. “At Rubrik, we pivoted to becoming data-driven four years ago, and it’s been day and night since then.
“It’s completely opened our eyes to every part of business operations. It has started shining a light on all the issues that we had, be that pipeline generation or data quality or financial health, and it actually started to give people some great ideas and we’ve seen those ideas get implemented. They’ve become actionable.”
Ajay explained how CIOs and CDOs need to work closely to achieve a data-driven culture and how, from his joint roles as CIO and CDO, he’s in an optimal position to see and realize the benefits of this partnership.
“It was beneficial that I wore the two hats because I was able to influence both sides of this world and make sure we can seamlessly solve problems,” said Ajay.
Ultimately, he explained that businesses need the right technology to get reliable, trustworthy data. In his experience as a CDO, data engineers frequently escalate issues affected by upstream processes. As a CIO, it’s his job to prioritize both sides, but the focus on data is so essential that the CDO and the CIO must be joined at the hip.