Welcome to episode 5 in our interview series, This is my IBM.
This week I talk to Prabhat Gurung and Jocelyn Pearce who are both part of IBM’s delivery team at Wimbledon, responsible for the data and insights captured and distributed throughout The Championships. They share what they love most about working at Wimbledon, some of their favourite innovations they have delivered for other clients and how sport plays its role in their lives outside of the day-job too.
Hi Prabhat and Jocelyn, lovely to meet you both, can you tell me a bit about your current roles at IBM?
Prabhat: My role at IBM is as a Data Science and AI consultant. I help clients unlock value from their data and take their next step in their journey to AI. Whether that be helping them organize their data to be able to gain insights to using their data to predict outcomes and help make decisions.
Jocelyn: My day job is as the Global Technology Lead for bp, ensuring that bp are realising value from the length and breadth of IBM’s technology portfolio.
When did you both join IBM and what led you here?
Prabhat: I joined IBM four years ago in 2018. I had such a great experience in my internship, getting real hands-on experience from the start, I knew I wanted to continue my development here at IBM.
Jocelyn: And I joined IBM 12 years ago – also returning after a successful internship. I joined IBM because I really wanted to make sure that the work that I did made an impact on the broader world and that is definitely true at IBM.
So as well as the day jobs, what are your respective roles with Wimbledon this year?
Jocelyn: For Wimbledon this year, I am leading the Championships’ data and insights team – a team of data analysts, scientist and tennis SMEs that answer and generate engaging stats, insights and stories throughout the championships.
Prabhat: And I’m one of those data scientists as part of that team generating stats and insights for all of Wimbledon’s outlets such as broadcast, social, digital as well as media and journalists.
And with the Championships fast approaching, what is the focus of the work right now?
Jocelyn: Right now we’re working with the club stakeholders to ensure that all of the data and insights that we will be generating during the Championships will create the most engaging experience for the fans, as well as other stakeholders such as the Media.
Prabhat: It’s an exciting project to be part of.
That sound exciting and something valuable to the club tied to their motto ‘In pursuit of greatness’.
Prabhat: We’re always looking into how we can improve the quality and range of the stats we provide. If we get a new question we’ve never been asked before, we find a way to try and automate the way we can answer that question for next year, rather than having to manually query the data.
Jocelyn: We are always looking at what extra data we can leverage in pursuit of the ‘next generation insights’ to create a richer, deeper insight – something unique to what people have seen so far. The success of the Wimbledon & IBM partnership is built on innovation and we want to live and breathe that in what we do.
I know many people would be envious of this opportunity to work at the Championships. What makes you most proud about IBM’s role at Wimbledon?
Jocelyn: For me, it’s our delivery – we’ve always delivered a seamless digital fan engagement and experience to help ensure as many people feel immersed and can enjoy Wimbledon as possible, even if they are not here on site.
What’s the best part of working on site throughout the Championships?
Prabhat: I think it has to be the atmosphere around the grounds; it’s electric and I love being able to be amongst it. If you’re not a fan of tennis at the start of the tournament, I can guarantee you will be by the end.
And do you have other clients and projects that you are involved in when you are not focused on Wimbledon?
Prabhat: I do. One of them in NatWest where I am working on solution to help them analyse the performance of their virtual assistant, Cora, using data to make better informed decisions on where to put their development efforts.
And is thatthe most exciting project you’ve worked on during your time at IBM?
Prabhat: It is. Another one is work with DS Smith, building a solution to be able to recognize contaminants within the batches of recycling materials they receive. I was developing the image recognition portion of the solution and I learnt a lot about computer vision and object detection in the process.
And your most exciting project Jocelyn – alongside Wimbledon of course?
Jocelyn: I worked with a consumer goods company on a factory of the future programme, looking at how they could generate less waste in terms of their manufacturing process and make the most energy efficient choices – all based on data analysis.
It sounds like your careers at IBM are enabling you to work on some different and exciting innovations. What has surprised you the most about working for IBM?
Prabhat: For me, it’s the amount of freedom I have to tailor my career in whatever direction I want.
Jocelyn: And for me, it’s the ability to have an impact – for example I work with some clients on neurodiversity, collaborating on how we bring neurodivergent talent into the business and the engagements we have together for greater innovation and inclusion. You don’t just have to focus on things that only correlate to your direct role.
Is there anyone who particularly inspires you on a day-to-day basis?
Prabhat: My Parents. I know how hard they have had to work and how much they have had to sacrifice to get to where they are and that has definitely shaped me into who I am today.
And finally, outside of work, what do you enjoy to do?
Prabhat: I love sports – not just tennis but F1, NFL and Rugby and I also love to cook.
Jocelyn: For me, I love to run. I’m a big marathon runner, currently training for London 2022. I love also boxing and I am also passionate about mentoring women in STEM.
Note: this interview was conducted outside at Wimbledon as last minute preparations were taking place before The 2022 Championships started.
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