Evo and London Business School host ‘Big Data Masterclass’

March 13, 2019

This week Evo was one of the four hosts, together with Clive Humby, Oded Koenigsberg (LBS) and Sunil Gupta (Harvard), at the ‘Artificial Intelligence for Managers’ Masterclass of London Business School on Monday.

The successful session was joined by 62 international executives hailing from 23 countries, with world class experts and practitioners facilitating the Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence conversation around: What really is ML/AI? How does it work? What value does it deliver? How can I make it work?

These are the questions managers want to answer and at Evo we were proud to be at the heart of this blue riband event.

Premiere of our case study with Harvard Business School

Being the subject of an HBS case study can be humbling. The quality and nature of the work Evo has undertaken with Miroglio, the Italian fashion retailer, inspired Professor Sunil Gupta to write a three-part case study featuring Fabrizio Fantini and Hans Hoegstedt, the respective CEOs.

Fashion is a notoriously volatile business and predicting demand a particularly difficult problem. Just how do you allocate the right products to each store (Miroglio have over 1,000) and select the right markdown rates to maximise sales and margin?

Over the past 4 years Evo, together with the merchandising team at Miroglio, have deployed our patented machine learning forecasts. Evo’s science and our ability to work with clients with the human touch have now been recognised at the highest level. This has therefore been the subject of an animated 1-hour class discussion, that warmed up the day.

Humans and machine in perfect harmony

Fabrizio, our CEO, then brought to the fore the challenge of how science and people can mix to deliver success. There is much confusion and murkiness on exactly what ML and AI are, and Fabrizio spelled out loud and clear and put the case for a human/machine alliance to unlock the value laying hidden today.

Howard Langer, our Managing Director, chaired a panel of managers already implementing these techniques in grocery, insurance, technology and fashion. It was clear from the audience questions that there is a lot to do to educate and explain the value added in this area – something we pride ourselves on at Evo.

Data science is a team game

Oded Koenigsberg rounded out the day by summarising the key themes for organisations keen to get started:

  • Find partners with proven credentials
  • Think hard about defining the problem you are solving
  • Address organisational challenges
  • Improve and integrate novel data sources
  • Measure the expected and realised benefits from new science, which can be significant.

At Evo we underwrite all these principles as key components of successful programme.

We are proud to have partnered up with Harvard and London Business Schools to deliver such an important event, be the subject of a Harvard Case Study and play our part in bringing cutting edge science to more organisations around the world.

About the authors

Fabrizio Fantini is the brain behind Evo. His 2009 PhD in Applied Mathematics, proving how simple algorithms can outperform even the most expensive commercial airline pricing software, is the basis for the core scientific research behind our solutions. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and has previously worked for 10 years at McKinsey & Company.

He is thrilled to help clients create value and loves creating powerful but simple to use solutions. His ideal software has no user manual but enables users to stand on the shoulders of giants.

Howard Langer is the Managing Director of Evo Pricing, he was previously the Global Managing Director for Price & Promotions at dunnhumby. A former retailer, Howard has spent much of his career delivering Price and Promotions programmes from senior merchandising and marketing roles in the UK while at the Kingfisher Group, one of the largest retail groups in Europe.

Howard is the founder and Chair of the Retail Pricing Forum in the UK, a group dedicated to improving the Price & Promotions capability in retailers. He is a visiting lecturer at both the University of Southampton and Warwick Business School in the UK. Howard is a qualified Chartered Accountant and holds a degree in Accountancy (University of Exeter – UK) and a post graduate qualification in Strategic Retailing from the University of Oxford (Said Business School).

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