Aiimi’s Consultant Team Lead Paul Sliwinski shares his prediction for 2021's top trend in data and AI. From reducing time spent data wrangling, to making access to data faster and easier – here’s why Augmented Data Management will make waves in 2021.

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What do you think will be the top trend in Data and AI for 2021?

Over the past few years, we've seen Data Science has been worth its weight in gold in terms of what it can deliver and insights it can generate. I think one of the biggest challenges that data scientists face is the actual management of clean, accessible data. Especially over the last few years with the high volumes – it’s the lack of cleansed data that's available, the various sparse systems, trying to merge all that data together, and also the scaling of productionisation. The challenges that rise around this are really the biggest challenges for data scientists this year. The big win for 2021 will be to minimise that time spent on data wrangling.

What’s so great about it?

The reason why data management is so important is that we need to be able to access data effectively and quickly – especially when we're trying to meet the ever-changing demands of businesses. If you look at where data scientists spend the majority of their time, it’s primarily data wrangling. We want to try and minimise that effort. To be able to do that, we need to consider things like data quality, how do we automate the process of cleansing data, making it more accessible, identifying straightaway that there are outliers and rectifying those outliers, and Master Data Management (MDM).

We can think about things like Databases-as-a-Service. It’s quick, straightaway, easy-to-use data and it’s all well managed, without the need of a human to physically do it. If you look at what Data Science does, it obviously creates new insights using very clever analytics. It makes sense to move into a place where we talk about processing data in that same fashion. It even uses the same statistical methods in a way that benefits not only data scientists, but also other analysts across the business. This means that the majority of time is spent generating new insights and analysing the data, rather than on data wrangling.

Forgetting about data and AI, what’s the one thing you’re hoping for in 2021?

I think the thing for me, and the main thing that I've noticed from 2020, is that all of us want to reconnect and be able to travel, to talk to one another and socialise again. For me, that's one of the big things I really want to try and focus on as soon as we can in 2021 – to be able to actually see people, my friends, my family. I also love travelling and I want to go and explore as much of the world as possible in 2021, because of the lack of being able to do that in the previous year.