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April 30 - May 1, 2025
North Javits Center | New York City

If You Build It, They Won’t Come: AI and How to Master Organizational Buy-in

Investing in the most planet-brain-all-that AI – and access to a universe of data – won’t be worth jack unless your people are onboard and can see the value. And that’s all about proof points, milestones, and one of the hardest business skills to master: effective communication.

We asked some of the experts gathering at Data Universe for their advice. How do they explain what data and AI can do for the organization to the organization?

How do you get your people and teams on board?

“We’ve always gotten people on board by going ‘on tour’,” says Kristen Kehrer, Chief Evangelist at Data Moves Me. “I’d create a deck about the problem we’re looking to solve, the value to the business, a 'not too' technical explanation of how we’d solve the problem, and what the delivery would look like. Projects don’t work without buy in, so it’s best to get this upfront. It’s a fun exercise to take some time and think about the words you’ll use and how you’ll make this project more accessible to a non-technical audience.”

“It’s vital to not see AI as replacing your team, but enhancing it,” says Power BI Sentinel Founder and CEO, Alex Whittles. “Despite the incredible capability of Copilot, Chat-GPT, DALL-E, etc., you still need a human in the loop. By replacing your team you run the risk of degrading your capability, rather than enhancing it.”

Crucially, says Alex: “The initial step is not to transform your business overnight, but identify areas where you can benefit from increased efficiency, to provide rapid benefits with little pain.”

Use the tools to teach the tools

“Internally, analytics and data done well can bring intelligence to an organization that drives strategic growth from product to recruiting – every area of the business,” says Jen Grant, COO at  Cube.

“Many employees may want to make decisions based on data, but don’t necessarily understand how to read a chart and interpret what to do. Here is where generative AI can help teach and share intelligence with those that aren’t going to spend the time to try to interpret a chart or a dashboard themselves.”

Alex agrees. “A well implemented machine learning solution will dramatically increase the productivity and efficiency of your team by helping them categorize, prioritize, predict and respond to the data in your organization, acting as a force multiplier. Our team uses Copilot, Chat-GPT and DALL-E to help write code, structure documents, and generate imagery and social media content. We also use Copilot to run our website chatbot, to help our customers get answers to questions easily and efficiently.”

“Our customers are delivering data experiences to their customers,” says Jen. “And AI in this context is an amazing new way to experience data. We have a customer, spyne, that delivers pre-built dashboards and the ability for marketers to create their own dashboards so that they can analyze all their marketing channels and campaign data in one place. Recently they built spyneAI and now marketers can also ask a question directly: ‘Which channels are the highest performing over the last 12 months?’ And spyneAI will deliver a chart based on its understanding of the question as well as generate thoughtful commentary about the chart and the answer. This opens up the door for more people to experience data without having to understand how to create charts or know which data can deliver the desired information.”

Keep your eyes on the prize

And remember, this journey isn’t optional. You can start now, or you can put it off until tomorrow, but data and AI are no longer ghostly figures in the mist. They have shape and they have motion.

“Ever since this generation was born, we have experienced an acceleration in the pace of change around the world,” says Fraser Marlow, Head of Growth over at Dagster Labs. “Today, we are at the dawn of a new data revolution pushing that pace even faster. Only those organizations that learn to surf this giant wave effectively will build a competitive advantage. Learning to reign in and master data is critical to thrive in the emerging AI economy.”