In recent months, global supply chains have been forced to make a radical reshuffle. Hours, even days, have been spent reading through data, checking for potential risks. It’s something Matt Eustace, Aiimi’s Head of Solution Engineering, has seen before.
“I've been in the manufacturing world a long time, and one thing at the moment that is quite relevant is to look through things like contracts and CRM systems for sanctioned individuals or embargoed countries,” explains Eustace. “You can look through all of your contracts and see where your supply chain will be impacted by countries that might have embargoes or sanctions against them. You can identify how many degrees of separation you've got from your primary activities.”
Founded in 2007 and headquartered in London, Aiimi is safely out of reach ‒ by several degrees of separation ‒ of any sanctioned individuals. In fact, the typical Aiimi employee is described as having ‘brains the size of a planet with the personality of a Labrador’. The IT company uses AI to offer customers a more efficient way to unearth intelligent insights from their torrents of information. Eustace joined the company in 2013 while on a unique career path that seems to confirm the labrador comparison.
“My journey has been a bit of an interesting one ‒ I started out studying photography! In the 1990s, I started working with a computer centre and ended up managing the logistics for all of their IT repairs and engineering teams. I went into networking and ended up in European IT management for the insurance industry. In China, I ran a research and development centre for web developers which was absolutely brilliant, then I moved back to the UK and became a part of the management buyout team at Aiimi.”
In his role, Eustace looks after pre-sales and the content management practice.
“I keep getting asked if that is web content ‒ it's not, it's management of all document-based data,” explains Eustace. “Aiimi is an organisation that works to put people in better contact with their information. We predominantly work on data management, data strategies and implementing data platforms prudently in the cloud. We are also focused on everything to do with insight engines.”
How insight engines can support the manufacturing sector
According to Eustace, insight engines can improve data governance and regulatory compliance for manufacturing organisations.
“They give you the ability to look at very large sets of information and pick out specific pieces of information from those datasets,” explains Eustace. “As an example, if you are designing something for manufacturing and you're looking for approval from a regulator before you put that piece of equipment into production, it might need to go through regulatory approval.
“So, for instance, if you're working in the nuclear industry, you would need to go through health and safety approvals. One of the things that insight engines can do is to look at the regulatory frameworks at some of the key things: topics, words and phrases that have been mentioned in the regulation. You can look for those same pieces of information in your regulatory submissions and then highlight where there are things that are missing from real submissions.
“I'm at the regulators' point of view. I've got quite a problem navigating the regulatory framework for manufacturers who want to come into the UK at the moment, because you've got to go to different places to get that information. It's a lot to consume.
“As a manufacturer who wants to come to the UK and invest over here, understanding what the regulation is that applies to you specifically in the goods that you want to manufacture here could be quite challenging.”
Intelligent insights can eliminate potential risks
Eustace knows that another more generic example to look at is modern privacy.
“This is not necessarily just manufacturing focused,” explains Eustace. “One of the things that we spend a lot of time doing is helping organisations understand where their personal data is and also consumer credit information. That's data belonging to both customers and employees. What you can do with an insight engine is get it to continuously look at all the data that an organisation holds and evaluate the risks associated with that information. Does it contain a lot of sensitive information? Does it contain information about lots of different people? Is there any special category of information in there, such as medical information, gender, those kinds of things? So you might want to go and tighten up on the security controls or train people not to save that information in these locations.
“You can extend that out as well, more specifically around manufacturing. You can use insight engines to pick up where people are making copies of product information or intellectual property rights. You’ll want all of your intellectual property in a very well controlled, well managed place so that it's not leaked.”
If a business does get into an unfortunate situation where they have a security breach of some kind and information is leaked, Eustace has some advice.
“Understand whether any of that intellectual property was in the area that’s been breached. Insight engines can basically tell you where that kind of information is, so that you can proactively secure it better,” he explains. “Or, alternatively, if you know you've lost something, it will tell you this was in this area and that's what you've potentially had breached. The next step is to try and remedy that. I think those are probably some good risk examples.”
This article was first published in the June edition of Manufacturing Digital, where we mistakenly used the wrong Matt Eustace's photo, to which we apologise.