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Bundaberg Insights Head Reveals Impact of Masterful AI Adoption for Analytics Teams

Ahead of his speaking engagement at CDAO Brisbane, Jimmy Wu, Head of Insights at Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, shares his thoughts with Corinium’s Vanessa Jalleh on how AI is globally reshaping business and how data and analytics professionals can be the force behind driving AI for further business improvements.


As data professionals, Bundaberg Brewed Drinks Head of Insights Jimmy Wu believes we are truly living in exciting times.

“Four years ago, COVID-19 flipped the world up-side-down for many industries. Finance departments can no longer use last year’s data and add a 2%. We truly need to use data to understand why things happen the way they did,” he says.

“Compounding that, in the last few years, we’ve seen extraordinary events such as the highest inflation numbers; these are unprecedented events that both people and modern data haven’t seen before.

“Lots of machine learning models such as price elasticity models have been thrown out the window, because there has not previously been a time when the price of petrol was $2.40 and milk was $5 for the machines to learn from.”

As the data profession is constantly being challenged to decipher what this means and what is next, Wu believes the best approach is to stay on top of our understanding of general business even outside of our data world, then use data to problem-solve.

Game Changer

While AI has been a constant part of the conversation for a long time, Wu highlights that it was only last year that many businesses truly started adopting AI technology as part of their business process.

“An example is a marketing research company that traditionally published market insights and reports, but are now using natural language queries to allow users to ask questions. The model is able to go through a ton of research papers and retrieve the most relevant data and insights from multiple sources,” he says.

This change is trickling down to individual members within an organisation. Rather than ‘Google it’, Wu notes that more and more people are relying on AI to create a foundation of understanding that is much higher than what it would otherwise be.

“However, we still need to have a greater understanding of the technology before mastering the AI toolset,” he says.

“There have been many instances of AI recommended sources that simply don’t exist, or AI generated content based on other AI written content. In real life, we always approach this technology with a lot of caution, and we do a lot of validation. In the future, the best data analytics professionals are the ones who know how best to utilise AI technologies to make their work more efficient and effective.”





The next step in the game is to harness the power of new and upcoming innovations to truly unleash the performance ability of AI.

For Wu, the one innovation to look out for is the AI-powered data analytics solutions to create a big-data environment autonomously.

“I always believed the power of data can be unlocked tenfold when multiple data sources are being combined to form new insights,’ he says.

“For example, if we could understand retail consumer behaviour by looking at their transactional data, combined with unstructured survey data, then overlaid with their social media reactions, and finally using geospacial data to understand their movement, as long this is done in a not-too-creepy way and not at an individual customer level, a very rich level of information can be derived. We can always stay one step ahead, providing services and solutions that customers did not know they needed.”

Currently, this process still requires a lot of time and manual linkages through data engineering teams, but Wu believes AI-powered data analytics solutions through data lake platforms will help us to get there quicker.

Insights and Ideas

When asked about ideas to allow data for business decision-making to thrive, Wu has some valuable suggestions.

The first is to take the initiative and create a data culture.

“The organisation is often blamed for not being data-driven and we struggle to get people on board with data,” he says.

“We often forget that we are the leaders of this field, people look up to us to see what we can create for them. We need to go out of our way to create ways to build and encourage our desired data culture. Sometimes it can start off being as simple as a ‘monthly infographics’ or an ‘hour of power talk show’ inviting anyone along to create excitement within the workplace about data.

“Next is to liberate data. We need to make data accessible whether it’s through self-service mechanisms or other ways. Have some interesting data stories published on intranet sites, stick them on the walls around the office, send regular emails, and other activities that encourage engagement around data.”

Then, Wu says, businesses could engage people with data measurements and incorporate data measurements into people’s KPIs. One of the quickest ways to get people’s engagement on a particular metric that brings value to the business, is to align it within staff’s remuneration and incentive systems.

“Finally, it is critical to influence and engage from the top. Once you have that critical relationship or even sponsorship from the top, all other things including ideas mentioned above become so much easier,” Wu says.

The AI End Game

Wu believes people are critical to the success of the generative AI revolution and that we need to challenge our mindsets and rebuild our skills to deliver mind-blowing data insights with the support of AI.

“Technology is changing so fast in our time. However, one thing that stays constant, is that we are still working with people,” he says.

“Doing business is still dealing with people. The most challenging part of driving data-driven business decisions is still about breaking people’s old habits and challenging their existing culture and way of work, both internally and externally.

“This will require not only strong technical solutions, storytelling abilities and a polished slideshow, but also negotiation skills, influential skills and selling to them the benefits.”


Learn more about data journeys at Bundaberg Brewed Drinks and other Brisbane-based organisations at CDAO Brisbane, taking place 27-28 February. Check out the agenda and register to attend by clicking this link!