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Ansar Kassim, Head of Analytics and Insights, Verizon

Describe your career to date

I started my career as a Technology Consultant in India and quickly rose through the ranks as a Project Head and Onsite Delivery Head with added responsibilities of Business Transformation Consultant and Solutions Architect. I then joined another consulting firm as the Global Head of a Business Unit, with end-to-end responsibilities including sales, delivery, quality, and P&L.

At Verizon, I held multiple roles across Technology, Mobile, Digital Marketing, Finance and Data. In 2018, I joined as the Head of Consumer Analytics and was promoted to the Head of Analytics & Insights at Verizon, where he currently leads a team of up to 150 data analysts and data scientists.

I earned an MBA from University of Warwick, UK, and my Doctorate from Temple University, Philadelphia, US.

Data literacy is a key enabler of the value and impact from data. How are you approaching this within your organization?

Data literacy is a key enabler of business value. Most people who need to make a business decision are non-technical. Our approach is to:

1.     Make data assets easily accessible to business users who need that data.

2.     Simplify the complexity of advanced analytics, make advanced analytics accessible to business users through tools and train business users to the tools.

Our team at Verizon deployed a self-service system that allowed end users to directly interact with data without the help of SQL, eliminating more than 95% of the static KPI reports and 80% of dashboards. This solution was rolled out organization-wide successfully.

We developed automated and interactive simulation and planning tools that leveraged the historical relationship between multiple drivers to generate granular outcomes and forecasts. These tools simulate multiple scenarios generation business cases with full-blown financials for a quicker end-to-end decision process.

The impact of this was:

1.     Adoption: 20,000 users with over 3,000 daily unique active employees across our toolset.

2.     Efficient planning cycles: There has been an 80% reduction in turnaround time through automated forecasts.

3.     Improved accuracy: Forecast accuracy improved significantly when compared to legacy methods.

4.     Investment analysis: Our toolset can quickly identify and test win-win-win solutions.

5.     Eliminated silos: The tool allows data from disparate sources to be assimilated for AI.

What role do you play in building and delivering conventional artificial intelligence solutions, including machine learning models? Are you also involved in your organization’s adoption of generative AI? 

We develop forecasting models, simulation models and optimization models. These models are used in finance, marketing, and sales. We are working towards making business intel, diagnostic explanations, and output of our artificial intelligence (AI) models available through interactive natural language solutions powered by generative AI.

 

Have you set out a vision for data? If so, what is it aiming for and does it embrace the whole organization or just the data function? 

As Dr Mike Schmoker said, “things get done only if the data we gather can inform and inspire those in a position to make a difference.” My vision is to bring business knowledge and data knowledge together, so data is in the hands of people with business knowledge who can make a difference. We approach this using a two ponged method:

·       Democratize data assets to business users. This includes democratizing all data assets including data products, AI solutions, generative AI platforms and more. When business users can use trustworthy data assets, true business value occurs.

·       Bring business knowledge to data professionals. To make a true difference with data, data teams cannot be only technologists. They need to have a deep understanding of the business. We give a lot of emphasis for our data professionals to understand the business to the extent that we dedicate significant time to disseminate business knowledge within the data team.

Our vision is to empower business users with the power of data assets and to empower data professionals with the power of business knowledge.

Ansar Kassim
has been included in:
  • 100 Brands 2023 (USA)
  • 100 Brands 2024 (USA)