May 16, 2024

2024 Great Lakes Data, AI & Analytics Summit – Event Recap

- Scott Smith, Practice Director at WIT

As part of my personal cadence following our annual Summit event, I like to take some time to reflect on my real-time conversations during the event, the sessions that I was able to attend in person, and then I watch/re-watch all the session recordings to figure out how to continuously improve the event. And once I’m done with all that, I try to summarize my top event takeaways for friends and colleagues. For all the session recordings and slide decks from the event, visit the 2024 event website


So without further ado, here are my top five:

  1. Turning Self-Service Lemons into Lemonade. By happy accident, several of the sessions discussed some type of transformation from a state of “self-service analytics because we have no other option,” to a more organized, possibly centralized analytics function with measurable value. I have long believed that self-service analytics is largely mythology as foretold by software companies, so it was great to see how some big organizations have moved the needle.


  1. Can I Have Some Data Governance, Please? Looking at our session attendance metrics and survey feedback from this year and last, I’m pretty confident that we could structure an entire conference just around data governance. It seems that there is no “easy button” to implement a formal data governance practice, especially in large, cross-functional organizations. Regardless, our cohort of data professionals seem to be hungry for tips on how to get started with data governance, what software to consider, and how to maintain its value longer term. Big questions, complicated answers. I’m hopeful and excited to see how this part of our industry evolves with the accelerating pace of AI.


  1. How Much AI Software Do You Wanna Buy? Speaking of AI, it’s clear that every software company in our space is heavily investing in AI capabilities. Honestly, it’s a little tough to differentiate between the AI product marketing from one software company to another, but in having a data & analytics insider’s understanding of each of our software sponsors, it was very intriguing to hear how each is weaving AI into their product portfolios.


  1. Robots are Coming for Your Job! Well, not really. But Generative AI’s impact on how we perform our jobs in the not-too-distant future cannot be understated. With its ability to automate complex tasks and generate insights at unprecedented speeds, professionals in our space will be tasked to find new ways to add value beyond what was traditionally possible – or become extinct. Listening across several sessions and our closing keynote, GenAI is clearly all the rage.


  1. AutoML is Dead! Long Live AutoML! I suppose nobody is really saying that, but GenAI is certainly stealing the spotlight from traditional Automated Machine Learning (AutoML) – the true workhorse of AI in industry today. AutoML continues to dominate a majority of data science deployments, and delivers robust insights that businesses rely on daily. The message was clear: innovation in AI is dazzling, but the foundational technologies still hold the fort in practical, everyday applications. It was great to hear about some current, production use cases for AutoML.

2024 GLDAA Summit photo grid

Well that’s a wrap for 2024, another great conference in the rearview mirror. This year’s Summit not only highlighted the latest trends but also reinforced the importance of foundational data and analytics practices. I can’t wait to see how these insights play out over the next year!


Tagged: Business Analytics, Data Management, Data Science, Data Trends, Data Visualization, Great Lakes Summit, Analytics Technology, Analytics Strategy

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