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Sabina Shaikh
17 Jan 2023

As the year winds down, this is a good time to assess personal resolutions you have for the new year and, as a data leader, it’s also an opportunity to take a fresh look at your data and AI strategy. Following a volatile year in the market, you can get ahead of your 2023 plans and see where your organization can improve processes, bring on new tools, and set goals that make sense for your team.

For the second year in a row, Databricks recently partnered with MIT Technology Review Insights to survey 600 CIOs, CTOs, and CDOs from large enterprises. The key result: CxOs and boards recognize that their organizations’ ability to generate actionable insights from data, often in real-time, is of the highest strategic importance. All respondents agreed that companies must view AI adoption as mission critical in order to succeed. But without effective data strategies, businesses miss massive opportunities to better understand their customers, offer high-value products, and streamline operations.

With such a significant link between effective AI strategies and strong data, not using the right AI tools or neglecting to leverage AI in the most effective ways can foil even the best-laid data plans. Here are four resolutions to make your data strategy pay off this year.

1. Reassess your data architecture

Most executives (72 percent) say that data, both fragmented and with poor quality, is likely to be the biggest issue when aspiring to achieve AI goals. The only way to better prepare for these challenges is to invest in a flexible data and computing architecture, like a lakehouse, that embraces open standards and can scale to meet the changing needs of the business. By creating a lakehouse, a company gives every employee the ability to access and employ data and artificial intelligence to make better business decisions. Many organizations that implement a lakehouse as their key data strategy are seeing lightning-speed data insights with horizontally scalable data-engineering pipelines. Walgreens specifically shared that a lakehouse enabled smarter algorithms and generated new types of reporting that help people understand the supply chain and store labor and productivity, patient vaccine scheduling, and prescription pickup processes.

2. Build your tech stack in the multi-cloud

Many data and technology leaders believe it’s not enough to think about the cloud in the singular sense — instead, they think about building a multi-cloud environment. As the adoption of cloud-based technology grows, many look for solutions that can move across major clouds (such as those from AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud). In our survey, 78 percent of executives agreed that a multi-cloud approach ensures the most flexible foundation possible for AI development. It offers organizations easy integrations when bringing on new solutions or businesses that use other cloud providers, flexibility to run workloads anywhere, and the assurance that they can comply with regulations down the road. Organizations that adopt a multi-cloud approach can also create new revenue opportunities and enhance customer experiences.

“Without effective data strategies, businesses miss massive opportunities to better understand their customers, offer high-value products, and streamline operations.”

3. Invest in low/no code

Low- and no-code approaches are opening new pathways to innovation and lowering the barrier to entry for people who want to get quick insights from their data. Given how competitive it is to find the right tech talent in today’s hiring market, low- and no-code tools are key to relieving some of the pressure on data teams, empowering less technical teams to build models – even with just a basic understanding of machine learning. No-code platforms make it possible to leverage AI without hiring expensive developers and data scientists, which means smaller businesses can more easily harness its power. Columbia Sportwear embraced this resolution and has seen more business units using the platform in a self-service manner that was not possible before. This has sped up the time for insights for all groups.

4. Embrace opensource AI and open standards

Open-source data lakehouses are quickly becoming the standard for how the most innovative companies handle their data and AI. It prevents teams from building tricky solutions in-house from scratch, which eats up resources. In our survey, 50 percent of respondents said that open-source standards and open-data formats were at the top of their dream tech stack list. Open source usually comes at little to no cost and, more importantly, it’s tried and true — it’s a community effort, and solutions have been adopted and vetted by many, which equates to fewer headaches for your IT team down the road. On top of this, the commitment to open data standards fuels the open-source community, which helps create a large talent pool of data experts who are better equipped to move use cases to production. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with your new year’s resolutions – especially the hard ones. Organizations must continue to stay inspired when they think about their data strategy. Our survey showed that a smart data strategy will ultimately provide better data value.

Stay the course to be prepared for a happy new year!



Invest in a flexible data and computing architecture, like a lakehouse.


A multi-cloud approach ensures the most flexible possible foundation for AI development.


Leverage AI without hiring expensive developers and data scientists.


Take advantage of an open-source community and talent pool.

Interesting read?

Capgemini’s Innovation publication, Data-powered Innovation Review | Wave 5 features 19 such articles crafted by leading Capgemini and partner experts, about looking beyond the usual surroundings and be inspired by new ways to elevate data & AI. Explore the articles on serendipity, data like poker, circular economy, or data mesh. In addition, several articles are in collaboration with key technology partners such AWS, Denodo, Databricks and Dataiku.

You can also find all previous editions here.


Sabina Shaikh

VP, Global System Integrators, Databricks
Sabina has driven innovation strategies, strategic business development and partnership management for more than 20 years, primarily in the enterprise software industry. She’s responsible for the Global System Integrator Partners at Databricks, driving customer success, growth, capability and capacity and marketing strategies. Previously she was a Vice President at Salesforce, leading the global relationships with the world’s largest firms, as well as launching the Management Consulting Partnerships. Sabina has held leadership roles at SAP and Oracle in strategic business development and sales. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Huckleberry Youth Programs, a non-profit organization providing services for underserved youth in San Francisco and Marin.