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Alan Grogan, Global Lead For Intelligent Data Platforms, Avanade

Describe your career to date

 

My career started on the Barclays graduate programme. Amid the 2008 financial crisis, I was asked by RBS to play a pivotal role in its turnaround. Given the uncertainties of the times, I was given a lot of advice against making the move, but my heart told me that I would regret not at least trying to help turnaround the critical situation at RBS and across the UK. I left RBS to gain experience in the start-up market after an enjoyable 18 months; I then made a long-planned move into consulting with Atos. My successes there led to an opportunity to join IBM Global Business Services as its UK and Ireland executive for data platforms, advanced analytics, and Industry 4.0 and IoT. Eventually wanting a more diversified, stretching, and global role, I joined Avanade where I now work between as the Global Lead for Intelligent Data Platforms, and the Accenture Global Lead for Microsoft Data. The team across both these roles is significant, the Avanade Intelligent Data Platform team alone is over 10,000 experts covering Data Strategy, Data Visualisation, Data Management, Data Engineering, VizOps, Data Architecture, Platform engineering, and Solution Architecture. The financial, commercial, people, and customer aspects of my role are the core to the enjoyment I have in my role. Every day is not just different, but also full of learning and making decisions that very tangibly make a difference in the real world for people and communities. 

What challenges do you see for data in the year ahead that will have an impact on your clients and on the industry as a whole?  

 

Our research shows nearly all (94%) organisations are increasing digital investments due to generative artificial intelligence (AI), but inconsistencies emerge when it comes to how those digital investments are being prioritised to scale AI responsibly. Having the right focus on delivering the modern data foundation (for AI) can, for some, be a real challenge because of the organisational agenda to enable AI for quick productivity gains or competitive advantage. Generative AI, as with all technology investments, will only bring value if you truly understand why you are using it and how important it is to be built on a solid data foundation. 

How are you developing the data literacy of a) your own organisation and b) your clients?

 

Avanade is the most certified Microsoft partner in the world. Beyond Microsoft, we have the world’s largest population of Azure Databricks consultants. A few secrets of our success include significant investment in externally recognised certifications, funding external individual professional accolades, and fiercely but fairly benchmarking our performance versus our competitors. We encourage our staff to ensure they have the very latest qualifications and are privileged to be regularly invited to test and undertake beta-certifications, before the actual qualification is made available to the wider market. That way, we are ready and prepared to help our clients from day one. 

How are you preparing your organisation and your clients for AI adoption and change management? 

 

As a professional services firm that has a significant specialisation in AI and change management, we began our journey a long time ago. Since Microsoft first launched a series of services in preview with OpenAI back in early 2021, Avanade has been at the forefront of experimenting and collaborating with Microsoft on GPT. We continue to make significant investments to ensure our organisation and our clients responsibly use AI to meet their ambitions. For example, we offer many free, and paid, AI maturity assessments to our clients to prepare them for upcoming AI-driven reinvention programmes they plan to complete. 

Alan Grogan
has been included in:
  • 100 Enablers 2019 (EMEA)
  • 100 Enablers 2020 (EMEA)
  • 100 Enablers 2021 (EMEA)
  • 100 Enablers 2022 (EMEA)
  • 100 Enablers 2023 (EMEA)
  • 100 Enablers 2024 (EMEA)