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Masters of AI Recap

Written by Liam Wilson
19/11/19 - 09:38

Last week I was given an amazing opportunity to speak at an AI event – Masters of AI - organised by one of the UK’s most exciting AI/SaaS businesses – Peak.

My Director Gordon & I travelled down to London for the night and were treated to a superb evening from an incredibly engaged audience and some excellent speakers … and me.

To kick off the show we had Beth, CRO of Peak who talked through her top tips for getting buy in across the business when it comes to implementing AI projects. Beth specifically focused on how Peak have helped their client Speedy Hire embrace AI – educating key people across the business and critically, having buy in from the C-Suite.

My biggest take away from Beth’s advice for companies looking to adopt AI? If something sounds super cool and fancy – probably don’t do it. Walk away. Focus on small wins first!

We then had Sam Wilson – no relation! – Solutions Architecture Director of Bruntwood speaking about how they have managed to implement AI across various areas of the Bruntwood business and the challenges he’s faced along the way.

A couple of the key things I learned from Sam’s talk was that it can be hard to fix a mess. Their old CRM was customised so heavily that everyone had their own way of doing things and they were losing valuable hours spending time on leads/prospects which weren’t ever going to convert.

Using AI they managed to score leads very accurately and allowed the salesforce to focus their efforts in the right place. Which meant more conversions. Which in real money, means – well more money.

Lastly, they’ve also brought in a fairly simple way of reducing bias in their recruitment efforts -they use a tool to take out anything which hints at gender allowing them to progress people through their process with as little bias as possible.

Rather than any super sophisticated way to get the staff on board with some of these changes – they simply let the results speak for themselves. If you are a sales person who gets better qualified leads and therefore more likely to close a deal – why would you resist?!

For some unbeknown reason – it was then my turn to essentially ‘close the show’ – but importantly, not to ruin the show!

I chose to talk through how I’ve seen both our client and candidates expectations change around AI, the demand for these skills and where I think it’s going in the very near future.

To summarise – demand has surged beyond recognition; unfortunately that also means expectations have risen a lot as well; not everyone needs to hire a Data Scientist; there is no AI skills gap, but there is a pretty large knowledge gap; the Chief Data Officer will be a key hire in almost all teams going forward and finally, a Consultant with a solid mix of AI and business skills will also likely, be a key component to the successful delivery of AI projects.

This was actually my very first public speaking engagement – outside of my wedding speech and introducing people who are way smarter than me at MancML / ScotML and with only two days to put something together, I feel it went OK!

We’re always looking to add value outside of day to day recruiting, so if you are interested in me or one of the team speaking at an event you run, or want some help putting together a recruitment process – please do get in touch on 0131 510 / liam.wilson@cathcartassociates.com