We’d like to thank Land O’ Lakes for hosting our most recent IT Leadership meeting. Aayush Agrawal; Sr. Data Scientist, Cort Lunke; Big Data Architect and Chakra Sankraiah; IT Director of Innovation at Land O’ Lakes, Inc. facilitated an informational discussion on the topic of Machine Learning 

Like many other organizations these days, Land O’ Lakes is turning to data analytics and Artificial Intelligence to expand their business. Artificial Intelligence can be broken down into three categories; models & algorithms, natural language processing, and cognitive agents. Models and algorithms identify patterns in data using machine learning in supervised, unsupervised, and reinforced methods. Natural language processing & generation is the ability of a computer program to understand human language as it is spoken. Cognitive agents are computational processes with certain cognitive systems that often act like a person with functions such as visions.  

Land O’ Lakes outlined their approach to artificial intelligence in 7 steps. Below is an outline of what was discussed.  

Align your technology strategy to business strategy 

  • Based on 400 use cases across 19 industries, Land O’ Lakes found that marketing and sales had the greatest potential impact regarding artificial intelligence  
  • Supply-chain management and manufacturing followed closely 
  • Ask yourself how do you grow and how do you keep your business? 

Buy vs. Build: use your business strategy as your guiding light 

  • Building is unique to your business with no “out of the box” solution available 
  • It is cost effective to build as it will be a custom solution offering a competitive advantage 
  • Buying will allow for mature “out of the box solutions” to be available  
  • It will bring value by prebuilding business rules, data, etc.

Build for the future: make sure you are leveraging the advancements happening in the AI space 

  • Using basic algorithms can easily go overlooked
  • You can gain an enormous amount of information from basic algorithms 

Logical data lake that can accommodate any and all data 

  • At Land O’ Lakes they have a database house 

Education around data and analytics at all levels 

  • Everyone across your organization should have a basic understanding of what artificial intelligence is 
  • Raise awareness on how effective data is at driving decisions for the organization 

Partnership across teams spanning internal teams and external partners 

  • Land O’ Lakes partners with universities, vendors and other companies 

Just do it 

  • Get everyone on board and get up to courage to go for it! You won’t know until you try
  • If you need help getting started Microsoft provides a basic methodology composed of five major stages that are executed iteratively: 
    1. Business understanding 
    2. Data Acquisition and Understanding  
    3. Modeling  
    4. Deployment  
    5. Customer Acceptance 

Once again, a huge thank you to Land O’ Lakes for sharing their information and use cases on the topic of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. With such a hot topic, we look forward to hosting more meetings just like this one. If you are interested in learning more about what was discussed, please review the slide deck, here. If you are interested in becoming a member of Think IT, please click here.