Why Is Data Science High on Corporate Agenda?

This article explores why AI is and should be an area of increased corporate focus

Robin John
Jan 10 · 3 min read
Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

What drives the corporate agenda? The simplest answer is share price, which is largely driven by earnings per share which in turn is driven by revenues and costs. Data Science is increasingly proving to be highly effective at both uplifting revenues and managing costs. Hence the significant focus on data science at the corporate level. The proof is in the pudding:

Twenty-two percent of McKinsey’s The State of AI in 2020 survey respondents say that more than 5 percent of their organizations’ enterprise-wide earnings in 2019 was attributable to their use of AI

Analyzing corporate pivots — Internet, Mobile, Cloud, and AI

The Internet brought down transaction costs, enabled companies to sell more (through additional channels), and reduced costs through tech interventions.

Mobile was a similar pivot that unlocked new revenue streams fuelled by customer intelligence and accelerated the growth of e-commerce further.

Cloud was largely a cost-out play. It helped reduce capital (upfront) investments in IT that became redundant too soon, enabled companies to move these costs to opex (recurring expenses), and at the same time become more agile.

Artificial Intelligence is another pivot in the same vein — the key impact is a drop in cost of predictions as explained by economists Agarwal, Gans and Goldfarb. A lot of activities in enterprises are based on predictions — many of them could be turbocharged using AI to increase revenues and reduce costs. For example, improved predictions could help B2B companies identify and nurture promising deals upfront and increase revenues. Predictive maintenance could help reduce customer issues for industrial goods companies and hence optimize associated costs.

What is different with AI?

When done right, AI creates a moat that gives a company a strong competitive advantage against competitors. A unique combination of people, process, technology, and data helps the winners make their resources act faster and better to result in better ROI.

AI’s key differentiator as a technology is its “learnability”. Competitive advantage arising from AI increases and the moat keeps growing as the algorithms learn better. And consequently, it becomes very hard to play catch-up with a leader.

AI is a technology that can enable you to surpass your competitor and eventually take an insurmountable lead according to Forbes

Major pivots and their impacts (Source: Author)

The corporate AI imperative

AI’s unique value proposition makes it imperative for corporates to act now and act fast. Its an all-in game requiring a centralized push for data gathering, collaboration between erstwhile silos, AI tooling, and rewiring the firm to act based on AI-enabled insights. It is hard work but rewards are high enough.

Big Tech companies and consumer internet companies have already demonstrated the power of AI. However, AI’s potential is not limited to Big Tech, although its enablement will be based on frameworks from Big Tech. I have written about the potential of data in enterprises here. There is a clear case for vertical AI, at least in the near future, to power enterprises. That’s where, powered by tooling from Big-tech, the enterprises of today have to fight a high stake battle.

In a nutshell…

Proven ability to generate revenue uplift and manage costs make investment in AI a non-negotiable for enterprises. It is an intangible asset diffused in the organization across people, process, technology, and data; hard to acquire and replicate, and offers a clear competitive advantage for winners that grow with time. Winning in AI is less like running a sprint and more like running a marathon. And if you are not embarrassed by your first AI MVP, you are too late.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Join The Startup’s +793K followers.

Sign up for Top 10 Stories

By The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Subscribe to receive The Startup's top 10 most read stories — delivered straight into your inbox, once a week. Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +793K followers.

Robin John

Written by

Data Scientist | Strategist | Management Consultant | Coder

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +793K followers.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store