In this weekly feature, Prof Johan Steyn writes about a world-class AI company that originated in SA
By Johan Steyn, 17 October 2022
Data is being generated at a quick rate by technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things smart devices. Yet this data is of little use until it is correctly utilised, which is why the tech industry has been on the search for data analysis experts.
In terms of the number of positions offered by technology companies over the past two years, machine learning, data science, data engineering and data visualisation have eclipsed more traditional requirements for engineering, customer assistance, marketing, public relations and administration.
The Joburg Centre for Software Engineering together with the Institute of Information Technology Professionals SA, in their 2021 ICT skills survey, highlighted the dire need for AI, machine learning and data science engineers in SA. In the same year MICT SETA, in an effort to address these shortages, announced 11 fourth industrial revolution future skills qualifications.
Some local companies are working hard to bridge the gap between increasing business demands for data scientists and the ever-growing skills gap. Foremost among these is Elucidate.Ai. Operating through offices in Africa, Europe and the US, it has created a Corporate Data Science Accelerator Programme.
“Most organisations suffer from data silos, a lack of understanding of best practices for an internal data science function. Unlike the large, sexy tech companies, they are unable to attract enough of the right talent at affordable rates,” says the company’s founder, Marom Mishan, an AI technologist with experience in implementing data strategies and machine learning models in multiple enterprises across four continents.
“As an organisation, how do you become data-driven? Etching data and AI into the DNA of your employees’ way of working is an immense challenge. We help our customers achieve that milestone.”
Mishan explained how the firm collaborates with its clients in shaping and executing this programme, from initial assessment to providing training and executing AI-use cases along the way. “What makes our programme so unique is the combination of learning methods and practical application,” he said.
Typically a two-year programme, the data science accelerator leads a company from data science mediocrity to establishing a cutting-edge data science capability. “We help executives define their data strategy to maximise value from their data while aiding in the sourcing and hiring of suitable staff members.”
Marom explained how his company offers early benefits realisation due to its unique approach, as it works fast. “We use our client’s data and our AI platform to empower you to see a future your competitors can’t see. Our experience with clients on four continents, reaching more than 120-million users, allows us to understand our clients’ unique geographical and demographical business challenges.”
Local business leaders, already hard-pressed to find talent in the AI and data space, should work with specialist providers such as Elucidate.Ai to fast-track them on the journey to becoming a data-led enterprise.
• Steyn is on the faculty at Woxsen University, a research fellow at Stellenbosch University and the founder of AIforBusiness.net