Operationalising AI

Discussion table

Learn from
Vidya ShankarNarayan

Assistant Deputy Minister & CIO


Vidya ShankarNarayan is the Assistant Deputy Minister, Information Systems Branch and CIO at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. She is a forward-thinking and creative leader implementing the Digital and Data strategy to advance the growth, sustainability and competitiveness of the agriculture and agri-food sector. She plays an active leadership role in championing innovation within the agriculture sector, the Government of Canada and with international associations such as the OECD. 

Over the past 25+ years, Vidya has held multiple positions in both the private and public sectors, where she encouraged experimentation and horizontal collaboration to identify new and innovative ideas, and led multiple high-profile transformation initiatives related to service delivery, digital technologies and modernisation. Previously, Vidya worked at Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Employment and Social Development Canada, where she passionately focused on the digital and data economy, and service delivery, with a vision of designing and implementing simpler, efficient and human-centric services. She has also held executive positions at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and Global Affairs Canada, and in the private sector at Nortel Networks and Tata Consulting Engineers. She holds a Masters degree in Architecture, specialising in Design and Technology from Carleton University. 
Vidya is an active community member, participating on various boards including the World Economic Forum and the Global Blockchain Congress. She is regularly invited to national and international events to express her fresh and avant-guard perspectives on the Digital and Data economy.
In her spare time, Vidya practices yoga and is a champion for diversity and inclusion of under-represented groups.
Nic Granger

Chief Financial Officer


Doug Ward

Deputy Director - Business Systems & Insight


Doug is an experienced digital leader, focusing on multi-cloud product and service delivery of emerging tech to support complex transformation programmes. Leading PwCs data analytics solution hub where the team help clients on their Technology, Analytics and AI journey from strategy through to execution. 

Having previously worked for Innovate UK, the innovation agency his background in rapid delivery and innovation in government, helped them to create an end to end cloud based grants management platform and foundations for automation.
About the session

Operationalising AI is an essential move towards greater efficiency, accuracy, and modernisation. Like any disruptive technology, it is not without its risks - but these also need to be set against the risk of failing to embrace new capabilities. What do departmental data teams need to consider when planning for more widespread adoption of AI capabilities into operations to streamline services, automate tasks, and augment decision-making processes?

  1. Service Delivery: How can AI be integrated into your department's day-to-day operations to drive efficiency? What tasks are currently time-consuming and could benefit from automation?

  2. Upskilling: Operationalising AI often requires upskilling the workforce to interact with new systems. How is your department addressing the skill gap for AI operations? What training and learning resources are available for staff?

  3. Integration: The effectiveness of AI depends on its integration with existing systems. What are the challenges in integrating AI with your current departmental infrastructure?