May 19, 2024

Recap From Thetalytics 2024: Data Priorities, Copilot & AI Strategy



Thetalytics, our annual data and insights event, has wrapped up for another year. This year, we were pleased to welcome Microsoft and Snowflake to the stage alongside Head of Data and Digital at Theta, Gary Blumgart.

Here's a recap:

Behind the scenes: current trends and challenges in data and analytics

Presenter: Gary Blumgart, Head of Data and Digital, Theta

  • Despite the heightened attention of Gen AI, it isn't considered the most important priority (yet). However, there's a consensus among Chief Data Officers (CDOs) and data leaders that GenAI will eventually reshape business environments.
  • Looking forward, expect to see more conversational interfaces, where users' talk' to their data, alongside the rise of multi-modal AI, promising increased efficiency.
  • Organisations using Power BI are increasingly looking at scalable, modern data platforms.
  • Organisations must also develop GenAI strategies, prioritise data governance, and invest in data and AI literacy. Ultimately, real results will require real investment.
  • The speed from raw data to AI will become a differentiator, so the appropriate groundwork needs to be done.

Key data trends across NZ organisations

Navigate the vast landscape of Copilots and AI tools with ease


Hilary Walton, Technology Strategist – Telco & Media, Microsoft

Nick Westbrook, Senior Partner Technology Strategist, Microsoft

  • AI reinvention is the new digital transformation, and it requires a complete cultural shift. It's poised to reshape every facet of business, from internal operations and corporate culture to customer engagement and service delivery.
  • Today's focus is guiding organisations towards becoming AI-powered entities, starting with leveraging Microsoft Copilot to enhance individual productivity, customising it for specific enterprise needs, and ultimately embracing AI as a cultural shift, which requires an AI strategy for adoption and measurement.
  • Microsoft Copilot Studio enables you to create or extend copilots using GenAI, connect them to your data and services, and securely deploy them across your digital estate.
  • Findings from the Microsoft Work Trend Index are promising - 77% of the people who use Copilot don't want to go back to working without it, and the best Copilot users saved more than ten hours per month.
  • In terms of usage and adoption measurement, Copilot for Microsoft 365 customers will be eligible to access a Copilot  Dashboard powered by Viva at no additional cost, starting July.
  • Finally, Microsoft Fabric, a new lake-centric data platform, will help businesses organise their data and enable amazing natural language experiences. Power BI is part of Fabric.

The family of Microsoft Copilots

Snowflake + Microsoft: Bringing Large-Scale Generative AI Models and Increased Machine Learning Capabilities to the Data Cloud

Tony Shaw - Country Manager, Snowflake

Regan Murphy, Principal Sales Engineer, Snowflake

Sophie Brown, Commercial Account Executive, Snowflake

Wessel de Meyer, Senior Sales Engineer - Snowflake

  • In 2014, Snowflake enabled instant and independent scalability for data, accommodating structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data while ensuring encryption, compression, and high availability. However, the emergence of new silos within organisations hindered collaboration between teams, especially those spread across the world and working in different cloud environments.
  • To tackle this challenge, the next phase of Snowflake's journey is focused on connecting data, all within a unified governance framework.
  • With Snowflake and Microsoft's strategic partnership, businesses have a comprehensive and integrated solution for managing and analysing data in the cloud, driving actionable insights and innovation.
  • While there are already a ton of existing integrations, it doesn't stop there. Azure Data Factory and Power BI have more enhancements and features in the pipeline, and Snowflake integration capabilities will extend to services like Logic Apps and the Power Platform once Power Query integration is delivered later this year. Some great integrations are planned for the Azure Machine Learning platform to make it even easier to consume data in Snowflake through the data science process.
How Snowflake & Microsoft drive customer success together