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Technology as ‘path forward’

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DENVER — At the annual IRI Growth Summit held here earlier this month, IRI president and chief executive officer Andrew Appel discussed his views on data and technology as the next enabler of competitive advantage. In keeping with the conference’s theme — “Powering the Path Forward” — Appel addressed the importance of investing in data infrastructure and artificial intelligence (AI), as well as voice and machine learning technologies that will drive growth.

“Companies in our ecosystem are looking at data and technology as the next enabler of competitive advantage — in creating speed, consumer intimacy and process efficiency,” said Appel. “Every major company in our industry is increasing their investment in the space, knowing that mastering the technology of tomorrow is one of the most important levers of competitive advantage.”

As part of his keynote address, Appel discussed automated insights, augmented decision making and decision automation as transformative processes with significant implications for business operations. While acknowledging that increased automation may bring uncertainty, Appel stressed that automating simple tasks is essential for keeping up with the accelerating evolution of consumer preferences and ultimately bringing about applied change.

Appel advised IRI clients to “embrace and add new capabilities. Take risks and do it at speed. Be comfortable and confident enough in the augmented and automated decisions that you no longer have to be the guarders of the information.”

IRI said it has invested nearly $1 billion in its technology over the past several years to enable its solutions to automatically identify market opportunities and proactively provide recommendations to clients to enable ­decisions.

IRI’s 2019 Growth Summit drew a record attendance of approximately 1,600. This year’s summit was specifically designed to help consumer packaged goods manufacturers, retailers and media industry leaders understand the ever-changing world of big data and how to better harness it for growth.


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