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Sinead Kaiya: The marriage of data science and global enterprise​

How big data technologies can make the world run better

Drawing of orange briefcase

Data science will change the way business leaders look at problems. | Illustration by Stefani Billings

At the second annual Women in Data Science conference, Sinead Kaiya, COO of Products & Innovation at SAP, spoke about the connections between global business and data science.

She explained the way SAP’s deep reach into hundreds of thousands of organizations around the world gives the company an intimate look at the evolving relationship between data science and business leaders. “If you ask most CEOs about data, they can talk a lot. If you ask them about what role does the application of science play in your business, you will probably get blank stares,” she said. “This is why I think the role of data science is so important, because it’s literally going to change the way business leaders look at problems.”

Kaiya shared examples of SAP’s data applications being used in many areas: e.g., making trains more efficient, helping to catalog the tens of millions of unidentified species, and eliminating bias throughout HR processes. She also highlighted the need for more women in the field of data science at this pivotal moment. “We’ve seen three industrial revolutions come and go. And while women have played a very important role in many of these revolutions, undoubtedly they’ve been shaped by men,” she said. “We are now in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution, and the choices we make right now will really change the future of our planet. We need as many diverse ideas, experiences and perspectives to make sure this moves in the right direction.”