DH: What are the goals and deliverables of your role?
PV: Ultimately to enhance our product with smart algorithms and to increase efficiency by reducing repetitive manual work. Since especially the former is a long term goal, defining this path is also part of my job. Not every idea becomes a product, so an honest evaluation at an early stage, together with the necessary steps to reach the required level, can also be a deliverable. In the best case, we deliver production ready solutions which make use of machine learning or artificial intelligence.
DH: And how do these goals relate to business goals? As I am sure, some of the times, these two worlds might not seem to be connected.
PV: Well, for starters, for our own company, the benefits of data science will be seen in the product portfolio. Besides the above mentioned predictive maintenance capabilities, data analysis can also be used to improve the quality of our products through a better understanding of the underlying processes. The list of use-cases that make use of data analytics is long. Furthermore, these capabilities can open new horizons for Oerlikon, enabling the company to share its solutions in the future and, thereby, entering complete new business opportunities.
DH: By now, I hope all our readers are aware of the digital transformation that Oerlikon has embarked on, with the Digital Hub as the trailblazer. So, my next question is: how does your role as a data scientist contribute to the digital journey of our company?
PV: The Digital Hub team has the opportunity to contribute to, and shape many of the challenging and exciting aspects of this digital transformation. Besides setting up a trusted and visible data science team, we also need to build an environment that allows to fully make use of our data’s potential. Here, the entire company needs to be on-board and share the same vision of the path into a digital enhanced future. And I hope to serve as an example for this purpose.
DH: Pit, we have reached the end of our interview. Thank you very much for being part of our “Under the digital hood” series and for answering these burning questions we all had about your super role. Before we wrap it up, one finally thing: can you tell us one misconception about your role?
PV: I am often confronted with the misconception that good results can be achieved in almost no time. Although one can set up a good looking PoC quite fast, reaching production readiness can take some time and effort, in my experience.
DH: Well, thank you for spending your time with us today, Pit!