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Control and own your data and AI models: Databricks EMEA CTO, Williamson

Wednesday, 10 April 2024 10:49

DVT, a global custom software development and data engineering company, recently hosted Dael Williamson, the EMEA CTO of Databricks, the data and AI company, as the guest speaker in an Insights Webinar. With the topic, "Shaping the Future with Data & AI," Williamson shared his views on the transformative role of data and AI in modern business.

"The message to the board is quite simple: you need to be able to control and own your models, have faster, more reliable deployment, and be more cost-effective," says Williamson. “By owning the model, you own the IP, and you can know exactly how to explain the model." He adds that it's about ensuring companies participate in and drive the AI revolution forward, with governance and innovation at its core.

Williamson emphasised the essential role of senior management in guiding AI initiatives, noting that attention to control, reliability, and cost-efficiency is crucial for unlocking AI's benefits responsibly. This strategy is fundamental for achieving sustainable growth and a competitive advantage.

“Data without AI is just math; and every enterprise has amazing data. The two together are foundational to innovation. This is how we should be thinking about things," notes Williamson.

He provided guidance for businesses starting their AI journey, underlining the importance of managing data, embracing continuous learning, and fostering innovation.

Williamson highlighted the need for a refined data intelligence platform, "Gone are the days of unwieldy data lakes. Today, precision and scalability in AI applications are key," pointing out operational efficiency challenges.

The webinar also showcased Databricks' dedication to research and development, addressing significant issues like model hallucinations and the importance of transparency and governance. "We aim to equip businesses with AI that's not only powerful but also trustworthy and understandable," said Williamson.

Key takeaways from the webinar include:

  • Data and AI as innovation drivers: Williamson highlighted the pivotal role of data and AI in business innovation, mentioning Databricks' contributions to projects like Apache Spark, Delta Lake and MLflow.
  • The necessity of a data intelligence platform: He discussed the importance of such platforms for effective data management and AI application, emphasising the need for cost-effective scalability.
  • Research and development focus: Williamson shed light on Databricks' efforts to address AI challenges, aiming to provide safer and more effective AI deployment tools.
  • Governance, security, and privacy: With growing AI ethics and privacy concerns, Databricks is enhancing platform governance and security, which is crucial for maintaining trust and compliance.

Lastly, Williamson offered strategic advice for companies embarking on their AI journey, encouraging a focus on data management, education, and the power of experimentation.

“The biggest conversations I've had over the last year have been as companies start to realise the value of the data they hold. The reality is that data is hugely valuable, so how are you utilising that advantage?” concludes Williamson.

DVT announced its strategic partnership with Databricks in 2023, growing a team of certified engineers and specialists. This collaboration aims to meet the demand for integrated Databricks solutions in South Africa and beyond.

For those interested, the webinar is available on DVT's YouTube channel:

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