episode 821

Developing and Scaling AI-Led Products with NRG Energy and Cushman & Wakefield Executives

Dak Liyanearachchi is the Head of Data and Technology at NRG Energy, a nearly 30 billion revenue company in the energy sector. Dak is a seasoned data executive having held data roles at companies like Hilton and Catalina Marketing prior to taking on his current role. In his role, his responsibilities marry the traditional IT department responsibilities with that of a data team under a single executive. Sal Companieh is the Chief Digital and Information Officer of Cushman & Wakefield, a $10 billion revenue global real estate services firm. Sal has been with the company for roughly a decade starting out her career at C&W in 2011 as VP, Global Applications. She has held multiple roles at the company including CIO of the company’s C&W Services group, CIO of Corporate Solutions. She transitioned into the CDIO role in March 2022 and has already led a remarkable transformation of the function driving the creation of business information officer (BIO) roles to better align her team with the broader business, bolstering the data function of the company with the addition of a chief data officer, and championing the notion of diverse teams to emphasize the criticality of the diversity of thought in business decision-making. November 20, 2023

821: The topic of generative AI needs no introduction, however, that doesn’t mean that it is easy to move fast on the journey towards developing and scaling it within an organization. On a panel from our September Metis Strategy Digital Symposium, Salumeh Companieh, Chief Digital & Information Officer of Cushman & Wakefield, and Dak Liyanearachchi, Head of Data & 

Technology at NRG Energy, speak about their approaches to AI and how they prepared their organizations to leverage it effectively. Both executives share the challenges they face in educating their teams, tackling practical problems with AI adoption, and prioritizing the use cases to experiment. They also discuss how it is shaping their respective industries, the what opportunities it presents, and how they balance innovation and risk management.

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This episode is sponsored by Cisco’s Panoptica.

"We don't want to reinvent the wheel. We know there's case studies out there that are positive, so let's focus on that." -Dak Liyanearachchi

The World Class IT principles in yellow were the focus of this interview

  • 01 1- People
  • 02 2- Infrastructure
  • 03 3- Project and Portfolio Management
  • 04 4- IT & Business Partnership
  • 05 5- External Partnerships

From strategy to implementation

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