Analytics 2018 in Milan - stage with word cloud

Analytics Experience: Milan hosts innovative thinkers

Analytics Experience 2018 in Milan saw more than 1.900 data enthusiasts gather to explore the latest skills and technologies driving innovation. Organisations across all industries and markets came together to explore the untapped potential of analytics.

From October 22–24, Analytics Experience took place in the MiCo – one of the largest and most futuristic convention centres in Europe. The conference showcased the hottest topics in analytics – AI, machine learning and IoT – with 7.081 mentions of #AnalyticsX on social media channels.

At this year’s event, ‘curiosity’ became one of the buzz words, as delegates explored the importance of finding alternative perspectives and thinking strategies. In today’s turbo-charged world, analytics is redefining innovation: that’s why the future belongs to the explorers, the connectors, the communicators, the visionaries, the leaders and the coders.

UNDERSTAND: Towards the AI of Everything

After an energetic welcome from the moderator Pietro Polidori, the plenary started with SAS Executive Vice President, COO and CTO Oliver Schabenberger. He shared his views on the past, present and future of AI, pointing out that: “the AI boom is an analytics boom”.

He discussed the idea of ‘general thinking machines’ – machines that have the capacity and aptitude of human intelligence. In the future, hardware and software technology with Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) will successfully perform any intellectual task a human can, learning from its mistakes. There are two distinct futures ahead: one in which we continue on the ‘narrow’ AI track we’re currently on, and one in which we reach AGI. Each of these futures brings different opportunities and concerns. AGI will have a strong impact on our lives, the economy and society, raising profound ethical questions.

Schabenberger encourages people to embrace AI conscientiously, reminding us all that what separates machines from humans is compassion and love. If we wrap human qualities around AI, we have an amazing future ahead of us.  

Analytics 2018 in Milan - Schabenberger, Crescenzi and Gillich on stage

AI maturity and adoption

Michele Crescenzi of Accenture and Stephan Gillich of Intel joined the conversation on stage to dive deeper into the insights of a recent global AI survey from SAS, Intel, Accenture, and Forbes Insights. In this panel discussion they covered the state of maturity of AI and the readiness to adopt AI in today’s organisations.

Fabio Sbianchi, CEO of Octo Telematics, presented a real-life analytics application, exploring the role of AI in serving customers better. Oliver Schabenberger ended the session with the conclusion that there are different points of view on AI, from many industries, markets, and areas. AI serves as an enabler in every case.

AI is shaping the future. You have to explore it!
Oliver Schabenberger

EXPLORE: Creating the Future-Fit Organisation Today

Giles Hutchins, pioneering practitioner, keynote speaker and executive coach, explained how to lead organisations through digital revolution. He looks at an organisation as a living system rather than as a machine, allowing it to find its flow or evolutionary potential, to create its future-fitness, to be vibrant and adaptive in this agile age.

Analytics 2018 in Milan - Mary Beth Moore on stage

REALISE: Data4Good. Analytics redefines the world we want to see.

Mary Beth Moore, AI and Language Analytics Strategist at SAS, closed the first day’s plenary session, describing the power of data and analytics in solving everyday problems and social issues. She discussed the importance of allowing everyone to get involved in finding new solutions through analytics, highlighting Wildtrack and GatherIQ. She shared the stage with Daniel Vijlbrief, Pediatrician-Neonatologist at UMC Utrecht (Dutch University Hospital), to explain how big data is saving small babies.

From a hospital in the Netherlands to the wilderness of Namibia we are devoted to creating AI-technology that pushes the limits of what we’re able to do.
Mary Beth Moore.

UNDERSTAND: Creating Customer Value by Forging Meaning

On day two, the plenary session started with Roberto Verganti, Professor of Leadership and Innovation at the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano, who explained his vision for creating customer value in today’s overcrowded economy. Verganti shared his golden rule: don’t give people what they want, but what you think they need.

Innovation is an inside out process. People will never love a product that you do not love. We need critical reflection. Curiosity is about listening, and the driver of creative criticism.
Roberto Verganti

EXPLORE: Wild Knowledge - Expecting the Unexpected

Business Philosopher Anders Indset presented a provocative way of thinking about our lives and businesses. He listed four main forces that are driving change in our society: globalization, technology, women and wild knowledge. Indset’s gripping monologue held advice for business leaders: be interested and ask questions; start to listen and interact with the people around you; take your time thinking and try to change your perspective. He encouraged the audience to act using data to find unexpected solutions and urged everyone to remember: “You are the leaders of change, but also curators of compassion”.

Analytics 2018 in Milan - Randy Guard on stage

REALISE: Unlocking the potential of analytics

Randy Guard, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at SAS hosted a customer panel featuring Filippo de Vita, from Vodafone Italy and Nick Carrel of Shop Direct. The panel looked at how their companies overcome technology challenges and unleash the value of huge volumes of data through analytics and AI to create new commercial offerings and enhance customer relationships.

Beyond these inspirational keynotes, Analytics Experience 2018 hosted 62 breakout sessions, four hands-on workshops and seven training courses, providing attendees with practical takeaways and a better understanding of the most critical issues and emerging trends in analytics. International market leaders, such as Raiffeisenlandesbank, Banca d’Italia, Société Générale, Cisco, Scandinavian Airlines, INTERAMERICAN insurance, Enerjisa, UMC Utrecht and SciSports shared their real-world experiences applying analytics to everyday business, exploring the new frontiers of AI, data mining and deep learning technologies.

Analytics 2018 in Milan - escape room

Innovation Hub: interactive activities and Data Science Escape Rooms

At the Innovation Hub, the heart of the conference, attendees participated in interactive activities, watched SAS demos, saw 12 different Super Demos and met SAS experts and partners.

Attendees also had the opportunity to solve big problems in two Data Science Escape Rooms. In teams of four people, they tried to stop a cyberattack on data center ‘Two Flags’; or to rescue young animals from poachers in ‘Datalake National Park’, using SAS software. These escape rooms offered a perfect example of how innovation, technology, human intelligence and fun can come together to achieve success.

Redefining the future

Looking back, it has been another great Analytics Experience, with new insights and inspiration on how to redefine the future. We would like to thank our partners Accenture, Deloitte, Capgemini, Cisco, IBM and Intel, for sponsoring the event.

Keep on following the conversation about #AnalyticsX on social media.

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