Weaving innovation into the arts worlds from trends in software development in IT

reemMeet Reem Zahran, Director of Offering Development at IMS health.

Throughout her career in software and technology, spanning mobile, SaaS, cloud and business intelligence, she has delivered products and services by managing transformational change and deployment of modern development practices.

How to use this knowledge and expertise in other industries? With a deep interest in arts and culture, Reem visits the key trends in software development to highlights areas which will spur innovation in the arts world.


What is it exactly that you do?

I build and run software development teams in the information and technology arenas. My core skills are to build up high-performing teams and design and integrate organisations.

I am particularly good at hiring talent as well as spotting gaps in operational flows/practices and organisational models. At IMS Health where I work now, I have built the first ever offshore development centers, established the first global QA & Test practice and the first ever mobile solutions team. Another key achievement has been implementing the first global Software as a Service business intelligence platform with 99.5% availability serving more than 20,000 users with several offerings hosted on the platform.

IMS Health is the world’s leading information, services and technology company dedicated to making healthcare perform better. IMS Health’s core value is to integrate and connect more than 10 petabytes of complex healthcare data on diseases, treatments, costs and outcomes to enable our customers to run their operations more efficiently.


What are the benefits of connecting such huge amount of data? 

By building these solutions we’re able to provide customers with simple and compelling ways of visualising complex data relating to their needs in order to understand their performance against competitive parameters. This enables IMS to monetise the data in new and different ways while enabling the customers to consider different strategies and take actions to optimise performance. It helps identify behaviours and is used as a basis for innovation and creating new business models which would not be apparent otherwise.


What innovative technology do you develop and use?

Mobile and business intelligence technologies for data transformation and visualisation.

I’m seeing more opportunity to use technologies such as these within the arts and exhibitions. The current Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the Barbican includes an application that takes the visitor into more of his world creating a new interaction and experience. Using this application as part of the exhibition offers a very different experience about the artist, his fashion and his story.


What type of skills do you need in your line of work?

Knowing talent and recognising people’s potential and creativity are critical. Empowering people and bringing together teams to look at how to solve problems within constraints is paramount to delivering great solutions.

While cost cutting is usually at the top of the agenda, when setting up teams, it is paramount to get the right people to bring their skills, their approach and attitude.


 What are the top trends you see happening right now? To help guide the StartupWeekend Art entrepreneurs, which ones are the most relevant to improve how we fund, make, share and enjoy art?

  • Cloud computing, data management and hosting; for cost effectiveness and scalability
  • Mobile technology with augmented reality will bring even more interaction in how we access and use data. This is something to watch!
  • Unifying the customer experience and enchanting customers. Offering compelling, customised customer experiences I believe is going to be huge. Key questions here are: what is the personal journey of the customer.

This last point I feel is very relevant now to art promotion and enjoyment. Any gallery or museum should consider the journey of anyone viewing the art form to create a richer experience.


Have you got a specific idea you can share?

People now go to galleries and museums with their friends to share the experience. It is becoming more of a social event with mixed groups of people and this dynamic offers new opportunities. I think some questions that need to be considered are:

  • Who do they go with?
  • What do they do in and around the exhibit?
  • How do they enjoy and share the experience?

Looking into this and gathering this type of data would help identify how to sustain custom and create new services/experiences. Considering how to collect data from these customers and how to build a view of the population of art lovers and the people they introduce to the exhibits will help create new value propositions.

Another route in integrating art into life could be facilitated using augmented reality for example, becoming part of the contemporary artists’ toolkit, providing remote views into exhibitions, buying limited edition art and so on.


Inspired? We look forward to seeing you at the Startup Weekend Art London in October!