AITech interview with Magnus Cormack, Director of Data Science and Engineering, DMI

Magnus Cormack talks about the perquisites to build a digital transformation strategy for businesses, giving a sneak peek into the top technology trends for 2022.

1. Can you give us a brief of your career before DMI?

I graduated with a degree in Econometrics from the University of Melbourne, Australia and began my career in financial services. I moved to Europe in 2002 and started my own analytics consultancy. We were helping businesses to understand how better to use their data – a theme which continues through my career to this day. In 2005, I was part of a much larger technology consultancy, Electronic Data Systems, again focusing on using data to improve corporate decision making. In the 2010s I went through several start-ups and consultancies with varying degrees of success, but I learned about the importance of not thinking about data in isolation. It must be considered in the context of transformation, UX, and software development as well as data science and engineering. And that is what we have here at DMI.

2. Could you venture about your role at DMI?

My role at DMI is about helping clients solve their data challenges and improve their organisational data maturity. As such, I lead our Data Science, Data Architecture & Engineering teams. I often joke that we start conversations with a client to talk about Artificial Intelligence and end up selling data engineering as the client comes to realise the importance of building a strong foundation first.    

3. Which industries do you mainly cater to?

Automotive, Financial Services, Government, Pharmaceutical and Media would account for most of our current footprint.

4. Could you give us a sneak peek into your CRM platform services?

Most of DMI’s CRM capability is with our Accelerated Solutions group, however all successful CRM projects need some UX and strategy, as well as data architecture and engineering. Therefore, my group is usually involved to ensure the data pipelines and foundations that underpin CRM, are robust. Also, our data scientists are working on some advanced recommendation engine development and turning the data generated into a CRM profile enrichment signal, allowing marketing teams to target their known users very specifically.

5. Which pain points do your customers approach you with?

I would say that most conversations start less with a specific pain point, and more with a frustration that many people feel: they know that they have plenty of data but feel they’re not doing enough with it. They want to do something but get a bit lost as to what to do. Very often we end up discussing a project to overhaul their data backbone (their foundations) as a first step to enable them to become a data leader in their industry.

6. What are the perquisites to build a digital transformation strategy for businesses?

Great question! I would say the perquisite is to have a clearly articulated ambition about the expected outcome. Next you need to have a strong idea about how your current processes need to change or how people (such as customers) need to change their behaviour.

As digital transformation is people focused (rather than technology focused) you need to focus on the change you want to enable.
That then enables you to consider the Data Analytics, UX, App Dev required (preferably all three in unison) to support the change.

Finally, measurement. If your first attempt doesn’t deliver the change you expected, you need to have established measurement strategy to understand why not.

Technology is only the vehicle by which companies achieve their goals. In other words, digitally transforming your business doesn’t start with servers, tools, and applications, although those things will play a role. Instead, it starts with people and builds upon adoption, experience and enablement. A transformed organization empowers the business to be an intelligent consumer of technology to fulfil its purpose — the why of the organization.  

7. Can you elaborate on your cybersecurity offerings?

DMI takes a proactive approach to incident response and recovery by providing offerings that range from responsive and comprehensive scanning, monitoring and analysis capabilities from single system assessments to full, multi-network, enterprise security operations centers. We apply proven processes, tools and world-class expertise to contain, analyse, mitigate and recover from a cybersecurity incident. We build resilience into our solutions to ensure business operations continue without disruption and ensure full restoration of data and systems impacted by an incident. We capture and document lessons learned to drive continuous enhancements in the organization’s cybersecurity program to protect against similar future incidents.

8. What according to you are the top technology trends for 2022?

I think that there is greater awareness of the true meaning of terms such as machine learning versus artificial intelligence and the role that they are able to play in augmenting decision-making processes. There is still perhaps some gap between the ambition and budgets, but the conversations are very exciting and inspiring.

What this means in terms of a technology trend is that we’re seeing a great maturity in the way businesses think about data and technology. There are fewer one off ‘hero projects’ based in AI just for the sake of doing an AI project. Now there is a greater connection between the desired outcome and a well-developed solution. AI therefore is only designed into the solution when the outcome calls for it.

This is similar to what we saw ten years ago in Big Data. There was a period when it was a buzzword, and companies wanted to be ‘doing Big Data’ without really understanding what Big Data meant or why they wanted to use those concepts in practice.

In time the market matured, and clients started asking for solutions to challenges that called for data from many sources, including unstructured and semi-structured data. At that point, ‘Big Data’ became part of the solution, rather than the purpose. Today, we don’t talk very much about Big Data as these concepts are now ubiquitous in almost every project.

We are seeing the same thing in AI, where there are fewer requests for an ‘AI’ project, and more requests for a solution that may well call for a version of AI (and Big Data for that matter).

9. For the 7th consequent year, DMI has been recognized as a Leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Managed Mobility Services. Can you brief us more about it?

DMI doesn’t take the cookie cutter approach when determining mobile solutions for clients. We are customer-obsessed and believe in always providing flexibility and transparency in our relationships to deliver unmatched service and security at a lower cost than our clients can achieve on their own. Because of this, DMI has been continuously recognized by industry analysts and has been named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Managed Mobility Services for seven years running. With more than 200 customers in 60 countries, DMI is one of the leading providers in the industry that provides a fully integrated set of mobility services and digital transformation solutions including: Mobile Strategy, Cloud, App Development, IoT and Connected Vehicle, Cybersecurity, Digital Commerce, Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence, CX and Digital Marketing. With over four million devices, (smartphones, tablets, ruggedized devices and field devices) under management, DMI is a one-stop shop for all things mobile – staying up to date on the latest technology, research, and next-gen innovations to enhance our solutions and continue to bring value to our customers today and tomorrow.

10. Where do your passions lie? What do you think defines you as a person?

People – It is important to me that people understand how what they are doing today connects to their ambition for the future, and ensure that they have the correct talent, tools, and environment to support their development to make that future a reality.

Partnership, Integrity, and Trust – I hate to think of projects as one offs. I prefer to think that each project leads to the next and a long-term partnership between DMI and the client over many years. Value through quality – The client must always feel that what was delivered provided excellent value, because it was great and worked better than expected, not necessarily because it was cheap. This realisation of value is what leads to the next project and the one after that.

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Magnus Cormack

Director of Data Science and Engineering, DMI

Magnus Cormack, Director of Data Science and Engineering, DMI
As Director of AI and Analytics at DMI, Magnus Cormack is in charge of the design, implementation and technical governance of client projects, including working on ideation of what is possible, and ROI (how the possible will be monetized to deliver business value). He has a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Melbourne, Australia and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Cambridge.

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