Bell Canada, an industry leader in the use of AI to improve operations, loyalty and brand reputation, sought an AI solution to elevate the Bell customer experience. Mara worked with IBM to install Watson Studio Local using Red Hat OpenShift to standardize model development and enable greater collaboration among Bell Canada’s in-house data scientists. The result: faster, smarter decision-making, an improved overall customer experience and increased sales.

What makes an AI project successful?
There is lots of talk about how data is critical to the successful implementation of AI. Yes, data is foundational, and having the right team—with the right skill sets and, most importantly, the right mindset—to deliver support is also key. AI projects are different from traditional IT programs and require the organization to think differently, with a focus on continuous learning, experimentation, agility and continuous improvement—with the customer at the center of everything we do.

What do you know now about AI that you wish you had known when you started?
That you won’t know all the answers before you move forward. You have to be comfortable with the direction you’re going in and prepared for surprises along the way. Pick a use case that is manageable, and scale it. Crawl before you walk, walk before you run and be open to what you will learn.

Why should women be more involved in the creation and use of AI?
In any field, having balanced leadership and representation provides better outcomes. In the future, the proportion of jobs that will be in this field will grow. It is important that young girls see strong female leaders thriving in this field, to encourage them to learn coding as a basis for a career in AI. So much of what we do behind all the code is creative problem solving, and that's really exciting.

What’s the best career advice you’ve received?
Dream big, be persistent and stay humble.

What advice would you give your younger self?
Make sure to stop and smell the roses. Take each opportunity to learn something new and embrace change.

She puts Watson Studio to work

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