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  • Robin Patra, Director of Innovation – Data, Analytics, and AI, ARCO Construction

Robin Patra, Director of Innovation – Data, Analytics, and AI, ARCO Construction

Describe your career to date

My 20-year career has been marked by leadership across data, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI), driving transformative change across diverse industries. During my tenure at Cisco, my supply chain revolution saw the tech giant achieve Gartner’s number one ranking, receiving the Forrester and Solvan award for digital transformation.

My strategic acumen and innovative approach to integrating data and AI into core operations revolutionized Cisco’s supply chain management, setting new benchmarks.

At Rabobank Australia, I orchestrated a comprehensive digital overhaul, propelling the bank into novel domains like veterinary management and animal husbandry, redefining agricultural finance. This successful diversification underscored my ability to identify emerging opportunities and leverage cutting-edge technologies to drive growth.

At BlackRock, I spearheaded the development of the Finance Cloud offering at Snowflake. This industry-changing innovation sparked a wave of specialized cloud solutions, solidifying BlackRock’s position as a leader in data-driven asset management.

Currently, as ARCO Construction’s Head of Data and Innovation, I am on a mission to combat losses faced by contractors due to poor data management. My real-time data platform promises to improve construction processes, integrating modern tools and AI to empower industry stakeholders with unprecedented efficiency and insights. 

How are you developing the data literacy of your organization, including the skills of your data teams and of your business stakeholders?

 

Data transformation transcends mere technological shifts; it necessitates a profound cultural overhaul, a fundamental shift in organizational operations, and mindset. It is an art form, seamlessly integrating data, insights, and tools into existing processes or pioneering new ones. This transformative journey impacts individuals, reshaping how they work, think, and operate.

To catalyze data literacy within ARCO Construction, I spearheaded a strategic framework laser-focused on driving impactful outcomes.

1.     Assessment and needs analysis: Conduct comprehensive assessments of data literacy levels across the organization. Utilize tools to gauge proficiency among data teams and business stakeholders, identifying specific areas for improvement such as data interpretation and analytics comprehension to drive bottom line optimization.

2.     Tailored training and development programs: Develop bespoke training modules addressing identified needs. Craft role-specific courses, including introductory sessions on data visualization for stakeholders and advanced workshops on machine learning for data teams, augmented with interactive elements and real-world case studies.

3.     Hands-on learning and practical experience: Facilitate hands-on learning through projects and collaborative initiatives. Launch data challenges promoting cross-functional collaboration, where teams tackle business problems using analytics. Such endeavors nurture a culture of interdisciplinary learning and skill development.

4.     Continuous feedback and evaluation: Establish feedback mechanisms to gauge the effectiveness of initiatives. Regularly monitor progress, gathering insights to refine strategies. Metrics such as engagement levels, performance enhancements, and data-driven decision-making serve as vital indicators of success.

5.     Promotion of a data-driven culture: Foster a culture that champions data literacy. Share success stories internally, highlighting the impact of data-driven decisions. Recognize individuals and teams demonstrating exemplary skills, inspiring emulation and participation across the organization. Implementing this framework empowers ARCO Construction with enhanced data literacy, fueling informed decision-making, innovation, and competitiveness in the construction landscape.

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? 

As the Head of Data and Innovation at ARCO Construction, I play a pivotal role in pioneering the adoption of cutting-edge artificial intelligence solutions, including machine learning models and generative AI (genAI).

I am leading a comprehensive data strategy framework for building and delivering AI solutions tailored to ARCO’s unique challenges. Through rigorous data collection and preprocessing, my team develops robust machine learning models capable of optimizing construction processes, resource allocation, schedule management and risk mitigation. These models leverage advanced algorithms and techniques to extract valuable insights from vast datasets, enabling data-driven decision-making and streamlining operations.

Recognizing the disruptive potential of genAI, I have taken a proactive stance in exploring its applications within ARCO. My team collaborates closely with industry experts, business functions like ARCO internal customer success and support group, finance and legal groups, and technology partners to assess the feasibility and impact of integrating genAI capabilities. My aim is to optimize the legal, finance, customer support, and HR operational efficiency by 30% before the end of 2025.

My initiatives are guided by a relentless focus on delivering tangible and measurable outcomes. The team continuously evaluates the performance and impact of deployed AI solutions, iterating and refining models to optimize results. By aligning AI initiatives with ARCO’s strategic goals, I am ensuring that the adoption of emerging technologies directly contributes to increased efficiency, cost savings, and enhanced project delivery.

 

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?

 

I have embarked on a transformative journey, setting forth a visionary and all-encompassing approach to data. My vision is about instilling a culture of data-driven excellence throughout the entire organization, from the construction site to the boardroom.

I understand that the construction industry has long struggled with inefficiencies and missed opportunities due to a lack of data-driven insights. To tackle this head-on, I champion the development of a robust data infrastructure that seamlessly integrates information from diverse sources, including project management tools, IoT sensors, and external data feeds. This centralized data ecosystem serves as the bedrock for cutting-edge analytics, machine learning models, and data visualization tools, offering real-time visibility into project performance, resource utilization, and risk factors. By democratizing access to these insights, my vision empowers stakeholders at all levels to make informed decisions that optimize project delivery, mitigate risks, and drive cost efficiencies.

I am leveraging data and AI to revolutionize every phase of the construction process, from design to planning and execution. Through genAI and advanced modeling techniques, the team is streamlining the creation of detailed blueprints, simulations, and project timelines, enabling more accurate forecasting and proactive risk mitigation.

Robin Patra
has been included in:
  • 100 Brands 2024 (USA)