Decisively Digital - CERN Alumnus authors a treasure trove of digitization strategies and best practices.
CERN Alumnus and digital strategist, Alexander Loth has for more than 12 years advised many large companies in their transformations to become digital organizations. Since 2019 he is with Microsoft as Executive Advisor.
A co-founder of fin-tech advisory Futura Analytics, Alexander has written and spoken extensively on topics such as digital transformation, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and business analytics. Alexander is the author of the books Decisively Digital and Visual Analytics with Tableau.
Alexander, you were at CERN betwewn 2009 and 2012, what were you doing when at CERN and did your CERN experience have an impact on your subsequent career?
At CERN, I was first a technical student, then a doctoral student in Andrea Valassi's team. The core of my work at CERN has always been to facilitate data analysis and to make data more accessible to all. This was then and still is a big challenge considering the massive amounts of petabytes of data that are generated at CERN.
Working with big data has also determined my further career. After my stint at CERN, I worked as a consultant and was able to draw on real-world expertise and actual hands-on experience, which was still very rare. Even today, projects with a comparable volume of data are rather the exception. However, with the help of the scalability of the cloud, companies today can reach their goal relatively quickly, as they save themselves the costly operation of their own infrastructure.
Where has your career trajectory taken you today?
Today, I work for Microsoft as an Executive Advisor, speaking with our customers' CIOs and CTOs to help them digitize. Here again, big data plays a very central role. Before my team and I talk to customers about Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and process automation, we first make sure that the data is on a solid basis and that a well-thought-out data strategy is followed.
Why did you decide to write your book "Decisively Digital" ?
After 12 years in consulting and sales, as well as countless presentations at conferences and customer events, the idea came to write a book on digitization called Decisively Digital. Of course, this is a very broad topic and the more I talked about this idea with friends and colleagues, the more I decided to involve them. So, I started interviewing experts and thought leaders and was able to unearth an incredible treasure trove of digitization strategies and best practices.
Which audience is your book targeted towards?
Decisively Digital is intended as a guide for all companies that want to embark on the path of digitization. While a managing director can get an overview, business departments can learn from use cases described. The knowledge here is highly condensed. Each of the 24 interviews would have the potential to fill an entire book.
Can you describe your experience writing and publishing your book? Was it complicated? What did you learn from the experience?
Condensing was also the main challenge in writing the book. I had to cut some interviews in half to avoid breaking the 400-page limit set by the publisher. In addition to the actual writing and conducting of the interviews, time and project management was another challenge; after all, Decisively Digital had to be available promptly, since we also took current events into account in the interviews. So, one of my main learnings was prioritizing content and arguments, while not losing sight of the thread of the book.
Do you have a message for CERN Alumni?
My message to CERN alumni: stay in touch, connect and be active on https://alumni.cern and leverage your network for your business projects as well as your personal goals! And of course, check out Decisively Digital: https://www.decisivelydigital.org/