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Kayvaun Rowshankish, Senior Partner, QuantumBlack, AI by McKinsey

Describe your career to date

After a 15-year career helping banks, telcos, and startups transform their use of data, I joined McKinsey. Since then, I have become instrumental in guiding Fortune 500 businesses to recognize data as a strategic asset. 

While working with clients, I have honed the ability to help hire the right Chief Data Officer and then mentor them. I have also supported many CEOs and other C-suite in correcting data transformations and maximizing value from data. I have helped countless businesses across financial services, telecommunications, public sector, and technology to build their organization and data stack, driving over $10 billion of impact. 

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?  

The world continues to face a tough economic climate, however there are exciting innovations that will unlock significant value across industries, including generative AI (genAI), digital twins, and more. Innovation is often the product of demanding times. With these innovations there come opportunities and challenges for data professionals. GenAI brings into play masses of unstructured data that has been untapped, the governance that will have to be mobilized to handle this and the additional disciplines of data quality, embedding, and more will stretch already stretched data organizations. 

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

My role involves growing the strategic business knowledge and acumen of our high-end data engineers and practitioners. Developing their skills through training, creating opportunities for them to help solve business issues through AI, and to make a significant impact for their clients and greater society.  

I present use cases on building broader engineering ecosystems to develop the literacy of our clients alongside hosting around 100 client-facing academies tailored for all levels of knowledge and seniority. In these academies, we adapt our sessions using techniques like gamification and phishing tests to build a clients’ understanding of data and AI and deliver lasting results. 

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

To prepare our organization and clients for AI adoption and change management, we focus on three key areas:  

1. Strategy and impact: We help clients quantify the potential value of AI by identifying high-impact use cases and customizing strategies for specific needs, then we create awareness and enthusiasm across leadership to drive support. 

2. Capability building and blockers: We address blockers to scaling like data access, quality, curation, and risk, while aligning tech stacks, operating models, and talent for seamless scaling. 

3. Adoption and change management: We create awareness, enthusiasm, and leadership commitment regarding what it will take, while developing practitioner capabilities. By educating the workforce on AI’s benefits and risks, we ensure holistic adoption. For every dollar spent on technology, we emphasize investing equally in change management. 

Kayvaun Rowshankish
has been included in:
  • 100 Enablers 2023 (USA)
  • 100 Enablers 2024 (USA)