Premal Desai

Head of Data & AI, The Gym Group


Premal Desai currently leads the data and AI team at The Gym Group, where his focus areas include data strategy, infrastructure, analytics and data science. He is passionate about understanding how data and modelling can be used to understand changes and trends in customer behaviors and drive commercial benefits.
He previously led global analytics teams at Thomson Reuters, advised leading organizations as a strategy and marketing consultant and held senior positions at Orange.
Outside of work, Desai is an investor and advisor to a number of start-ups. He’s also a keen follower of Liverpool FC and spends too much time researching fast German sports cars!

Getting to know...

What is your top advice for data and analytics leaders who struggle to shift ‘theory’ into ‘practice’?

I think it’s important to start by considering a small set of key questions and understanding which metrics you are trying to move.

There is so much that is evolving in the data and analytics space, with an ever-growing number of technologies, that getting started is sometimes the hardest part! There is a temptation to ‘follow the crowd’. But each organization has specific needs, resources and challenges.

The key is to understand what’s going to move the needle for your particular organization or circumstance and then following through with a set of short-, medium- and longer-term plans. These plans will change and evolve given the rate of change in the industry. So, flexibility and adaptability are always useful guiding principles.

What innovations do you think we’ll see from the health and fitness industry in the coming years?

The health and fitness industry is evolving and moving forward at pace. From wearables and community-based virtual training to hybrid workouts and real-time global fitness leader boards – it’s an exciting time to be a part of this space!

It’s likely that there will be continued growth in both physical and virtual environments, and how these come together to help individuals and teams keep on top of their fitness goals will be really interesting. Additionally, while historically there has been a focus on physical wellbeing, I think we’ll see accelerated growth for specific mental and mind wellbeing services. Those organizations who can bring together these offerings will provide compelling propositions going forward!