Qrious has promoted Christopher Laing to the role of Chief Technology Officer, accelerating the strategic direction of Spark Business Group’s AI and data analytics specialist business and driving data-led transformation for New Zealand enterprise.
Laing is one of New Zealand’s leading data and AI experts. He was previously Director of AI and Data Science at Qrious. Prior to joining Qrious, he held roles including Head of Artificial Intelligence at Xero and Global Data Science Lead at Allianz in Germany, one of the world’s largest insurers. He has a diverse professional background in law, mathematics, business strategy and development, consulting, product development and operations. He is also a member of the NZTech Board and AI Forum Executive Council.
Qrious CEO Stephen Ponsford says Laing’s software-and-systems approach to innovation will help New Zealand’s largest data partner move more Kiwi businesses up the data analytics maturity curve.
“Qrious is a champion for data-driven innovation and true organisational transformation, and Christopher aims to fully embed an end-to-end mindset into our consulting, where the value of data is maximised, insights are unleashed, and tangible outcomes are actually realised.”
Laing hopes to embed the right ‘systematic’ mindset and culture into Qrious’ customers.
“Some New Zealand businesses aren’t realising their full productivity potential – my goal is to accelerate the data-driven productivity journey for as many Kiwi enterprises as possible.
“Many companies struggle to use AI and convert data into actionable insight – too often they see the insight as the end game. We help them to instead adopt a systematic approach that leverages the capabilities of modern software engineering, artificial intelligence, and IoT (Internet of Things) to fundamentally transform their business. I want to help make the ‘transformation’ buzzword a reality for businesses across New Zealand.”
Laing aspires to play a part in building world-class software engineering in New Zealand – and to push the whole industry to produce technology which competes with the best in the world in terms of quality.
“I was always interested in advanced Machine Learning to help tackle industry problems before it was considered cool or easy,” says Laing.
“Through my experience during the rapid advancement of this sector ever since, I’ve grown incredibly enthusiastic about making cutting-edge tech useful and practical for New Zealand businesses. I believe knowing the difference between something revolutionary and a flash-in-the-pan is part of the job.”
He is most excited about the power of data to further modernise New Zealand’s traditional industries where ‘raw’ geographical elements pose challenges – such as forestry, agriculture, aquaculture and viticulture – and believes bespoke software is vital for progress.