Datactics is planning technology, staff and international expansion following the conclusion of a £1.2 million funding round led by The Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Group Fund and new investor Edinburgh-based Par Equity. Investments in technology and people include an extension of Datactics’ data quality solutions platform and set up of a dedicated artificial intelligence (AI) team. The company also plans to push ahead with international expansion based on its existing customer base across Europe and the US.
As part of the funding round, Par Equity’s Graham Paterson has joined Datactics as chairman, relieving CEO Stuart Harvey of the role. Paterson brings with him strong corporate governance expertise needed to help Datactics grow and add more blue-chip customers, experience as a board member at a number of listed and non-listed companies, and knowledge of founding and exiting a successful fintech firm.
In general terms, Datactics is using the new funding to hire more staff and expand its office space in Belfast. More specifically, and in response to customer interest in technology development, it recently hired Fiona Browne, previously a lecturer in computer science with significant insight into AI and machine learning (ML) from Ulster University, with which Datactics has been collaborating, and will continue to collaborate, with on technology development projects.
Browne leads Datactics’ new AI team, which also includes another PhD and an analytics specialist. She says: “We are building specific solutions around AI that will keep humans in the loop in terms of decision making.” The first use case of AI will be in entity data resolution. The company’s Data Quality Clinic, released as an app about six months ago, is also a prime candidate for machine learning and AI that can reduce manual reviews of data quality and use pre-set quality thresholds to add value.
Browne comments: “The key issues around AI are not necessarily about algorithms, but about people’s trust in the technology. This means we need to add knowledge and transparency to every AI process.”
Datactics’ AI apps will be driven by an AI engine that will be added to the company’s platform a little later this year. The AI engine is REST based with an open application programming interface (API) and will support existing components on the platform and others as they are developed. Apps already on the platform include FlowDesigner, which is used by SMEs to create, document and audit data quality and matching rules, and Data Quality Manager, which automatically executes data quality processes designed using FlowDesigner.
Harvey comments: “Our client base wants to plug in AI and ML enablement to the quality side of processes. By adding AI and ML extensions to our platform, we can enhance the customer experience, deliver higher levels of accuracy, and free up manual time that is used to review data quality. This is where we will add value.”