2020 IBM Fellows
Meet IBM's best and brightest
Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for the IBM Global Chief Data Office
As VP and CTO for the IBM Global Chief Data Office, Ranjan Sinha is on the front lines of the transformational effort to infuse artificial intelligence (AI) into real-world applications.
For IBM's clients, this new era of AI and machine learning presents both a challenge and an opportunity. But a growing number of organizations know that they must adopt AI if they are to maintain competitive advantage in their respective industries.
This is precisely where Sinha's combination of technical expertise and thought leadership helps IBM's clients navigate the AI journeys in which they're currently engaged.
"Our mission in the Global Chief Data Office (GDCO) is to transform IBM itself into an AI Enterprise," Sinha says. "We have been very open in sharing our transformation journey within IBM as well as with our clients, and a lot of those clients look very much like us—large complex organizations which can relate very well to our journey."
Sinha sees four keys to success: businesses must upgrade their technology, refine their business processes, align their organizations and protect their data.
That's what Sinha is doing in his role leading the data and platform strategy for IBM's Global Chief Data Office. There, he provides technical guidance to IBM teams and ensures alignment of projects with IBM's hybrid, multicloud strategy.
Sinha created the Cognitive Enterprise Data Platform, which helps reduce data silos, democratize access to data, enable a self-service data-driven culture, provide trusted data for IBMers and accelerate collaboration. To date, CEDP has empowered and enabled more than 100,000 users with enterprise data and AI.
An Ambitious Path Ahead
As an IBM Fellow, Sinha is working to ensure IBM is the trusted leader in transforming data into business value through the responsible, ethical and innovative use of cloud, data and AI technologies.
And Sinha says transformation isn't just about technology, but rather about changing an organization's entire way of thinking. This means that architectural and business-process foundations must be put into place so that AI applications can operate effectively in real world situations.
"There are tons of data management challenges that an organization has to deal with," Sinha says. "For example, in the era of hybrid cloud, where do we store what data? How do you work seamlessly across cloud environments? How effectively are policies enforced? And is the data ready for use by AI?"
"There is no AI without IA—or information architecture," explains Sinha. Once those foundations are in place, Sinha believes businesses must develop a data and AI culture that embraces the future. "You should be doing hundreds of AI projects," Sinha says. "You should encourage a culture of continuous experimentation and of iterative processes. And you should not be afraid to accept failure and learn from it."
Sinha has published more than 30 peer-reviewed papers and patents with over 800 citations, won the sort benchmark for JouleSort and PennySort and has been awarded federal and university research grants. He was one of The Wall Street Journal top-12 Asia-Pacific young inventors. He was a research academic at the University of Melbourne and earned a Ph.D. in computer science from RMIT University in Australia.
Sinha is passionate about promoting wellness, safety and empowerment of vulnerable groups, and an advocate for other social and global issues including climate change.
→ Meet the next IBM Fellow, Mohamed Ahmed.