Meet the people who help our clients design and build innovative technology solutions to benefit their businesses as well as their customers: our subject matter experts aka SMEs. In this series, we’ll discover how they came to work in the industry and the changing role of technology in our lives. We’ll also get a glimpse into what makes them tick as people outside of work.
We’re thrilled to have Adriana Calomfirescu as our guest this time. Our Group Head of Data Delivery is based in Bucharest, Romania, and she is an expert when it comes to all things data and the fascinating applications of math in our everyday lives and nature.
Adriana, thank you so much for being with us. What has brought you into the tech industry and the data expertise?
I graduated from a computer science university, and my first job was as developer for a US-based ERP application that had to be localised to various country specifics, especially in financial and manufacturing modules. I had to grasp data, data flows and how this data is affected by various user actions. Slowly but firmly, I developed a passion for data and moved towards data solutions and what can be built on top of them – if you have good quality data that is properly structured and organised.
What has been the biggest innovation since you’ve been working in the industry?
It’s hard to name just one since I have just realised that I’ve witnessed a few major ones, such as cloud computing, the introduction of the smartphone that radically changed people’s lives, while social media transformed the way people communicate and share information with each other… Going closer to my field of expertise, I’d definitely say that the biggest innovation is the rise of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) used in a wide range of ways, from customer service chatbots to self-driving cars.
What is the biggest data challenge or opportunity you are seeing, and what should businesses be doing to prepare for this?
I believe that creating a strong data governance framework to ensure data privacy, quality and security is instrumental in the new era of data, along with building a data-driven culture that drives business growth.
What project that you have been part of are you most proud of and why?
I was part of a team that designed and implemented a project in the public sector with a country-wide impact and high levels of complexity and security from a process point of view and also from the variety of data types involved here. It encompassed the collection, authentication and processing flow for confidential personal data and had to be carried out in a very regulated space.
In a Q&A in 2022, you touched on the opportunities that artificial intelligence and machine learning open for more sophisticated data science solutions. How do you think the acceleration and hype around AI that we’re seeing this year is impacting the development of data and analytics platforms?
Businesses know about the potential of AI for steering innovation, improving efficiency and gaining insights into market trends and customer behaviour. As a result, there’s an increasing demand for ingesting more data, like social media or from IoT (internet of things) devices, into data and analytics platforms to support the AI-driven applications. However, we should remain pragmatic and be careful about the unrealistic expectations of what an AI can do or how good an AI can perform.
So, we can conclude that there’s significant innovation and investment in the data space driven by the acceleration and hype around AI, and at the same time we should remain mindful of the potential challenges and limitations of AI.
Now on to a few more personal questions, shall we? If you were not working as Group Head of Data Delivery at Endava, what would you be doing instead?
I’d love to be a math teacher or an interior designer. I’ve always loved math, and I enjoy solving and explaining complex problems, and I’ve alternated this hobby with interior design activities, which bring out a different side of my creativity.
What topic could you give a 20-minute presentation on without any preparation?
I can easily talk about why we cannot live without math – why it plays such a crucial role in many different aspects of our existence. For instance, math appears in nature, such as the geometric patterns found in snowflakes and crystals, the Fibonacci sequence in sunflowers and spiral shells, or in tessellation, used in the design of decorative objects made by ancient civilisations.
If you could go back in time and visit any historic period, where – or rather when – would you go?
If I had a time machine, I would visit the Enlightenment era to enjoy the period of discovery and learning that flourished everywhere and laid the foundation for many of the ideas and values that continue to shape modern society today. I’d love living in Voltaire and Montesquieu’s time.
Finally, would you share a favourite quote with us to send our readers off with some inspiration?
Do the best you can do in every aspect of your life.
That’s great advice to keep in mind, thank you for a great session, Adriana! Stay tuned for more insights into the work and life of Endavans in the next parts of our Meet the SME series.