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and AI is a journey. You shouldn’t go about it by boiling the ocean; the best results will be realised if you start small and build over time.” Crameri also has a personal


insight into AI and the public sector in Scotland. Before joining Capita, he was technical director at Edinburgh-based AI startup Bar- rachd (Gaelic for “more”), which was acquired by Capita in 2015. Te founding members of Bar-


rachd have mostly stayed with what became Capita’s Data & AI team, with 30 or so still part of the or- ganisation, giving a global company a distinctly Scottish hue. It is that understanding of the


landscape in Scotland that is helping the company to serve, for example, Police Scotland, as it puts the national force’s data to better use, bringing together data from over 40 legacy systems into a single solution.


The Scottish connection has helped Capita forge new products, working with Te Data Lab, Scotland’s Innovation Centre for data and AI. Two MSc data science graduates – one from the University of Stirling and the other from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh – played a key role in developing a social media analytics platform, called Monatair, which be- gan life during a summer placement. Te product – which provides


insight into social media data, combining it with other open data – has the power to provide significant early insight into brands, customers, citizens, competitors and markets. Te development team behind


Monatair have used self-built AI and Natural Language Processing to enrich social media data with sentiment, emotion and tone, topic category and content reach. Tis enriched data is then visualised through easy to consume, user- centred dashboards enabling quick access to unlocked insight. Te team are excited about this


development as the AI Dashboards enable users to gain live and organ- ised insight from huge volumes of unstructured and dissipated data, which up until now had not been possible. “In developing that product, we


had a great experience in working with Te Data Lab in Scotland, and those two graduates are now full- time with us. Tey have been part of the team that built sentiment


Capita’s dashboards are able to bring data and AI insights to life for a range of industry sectors


analytics and machine learning into the product.” Te ongoing relationship with Te


Data Lab – which helped shape the AI strategy on behalf of government – is further enhanced by a key member of the data services team, Barbara How- arth, sitting in an advisory capacity on its Innovation Advisory Board. “It has been a good Scottish suc-


cess story in quite a few ways,” adds Crameri.


Working with massive volumes of data has also been an area in which Capita has deployed its AI skillset. Te Financial Services Compen- sation Scheme (FSCS) needed to transcribe 700,000 audio files from a pending case. Realising it would take 30 tran-


If you can demonstrate how it saves time, cost and effort, then the valuable work can start to be done


Alan Crameri, technical lead, solutioning, data & AI at Capita


scriptionists over eight months to work through the data, the organisation deployed an “off-the- shelf” AI product - Speech services, part of Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services. Training the AI to remedy errors along the way, the task was completed from start to finish in just 13 weeks – delivering a solution that worked 90 per cent faster than the human equivalent. “We developed the end product


– Accelerate – from this process, which has enabled us to bring huge value to unstructured data,” adds Crameri. “With Monatair, that’s two areas in which we have been able to make much greater use of unstructured data, which I think is where the really exciting


potential of AI lies in future.” It is not necessarily a linear


journey, though, as Crameri readily admits. Tere is one council which Capita helped set up a simple data dashboard – and the results were transformational. “Tey didn’t need AI, and that can be a hard message,” says Crameri. “But the improvements in operational per- formance just because they could see where their complaints were coming in were a revelation.” He adds: “You have to take people


on this journey with you. I think that’s the key to AI. If you can dem- onstrate how it saves time, cost and effort, then the valuable work can start to be done. And it shouldn’t be viewed as overly technical or as a skills challenge. “Increasingly, there are off-the-


shelf AI solutions that you can work with to deliver real impact. Tink how people use AI in their daily lives, for example with voice assistants like Alexa and Siri; as people use and understand that better, they don’t necessarily think of this big thing called AI but see it as a convenient tool. And gradually, it becomes embedded. “Te challenge for us all, is to


ensure it is implemented in a trustworthy, ethical and inclusive way. Governments, and companies like Capita, are very much on that journey together.” l


Partner Content in association with Capita.


FUTURESCOT | SUMMER 2021 | 11


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