CIO Symmetry


September 19, 2014  9:50 PM

Predictive modeling’s uses in finance, retail; what is a cloud architect?

Fran Sales Fran Sales Profile: Fran Sales
Analytics, Apple, CIO, Compliance, Governance

Ever since the financial crisis of 2008, finance departments have been skeptical of the value of predictive modeling. Still, they’re finding that current models are more advanced, and that collaborating with IT with analytics and stress testing is advantageous in today’s tricky risk landscape, Senior News Writer Nicole Laskowski explains in this week’s Data Mill.

Many retailers are buying into preemptive shipping, an anticipatory system that ships goods before consumers even buy them. Igor Elbert, data scientist for one such retailer, high-end fashion and home wares retailer Gilt, spoke with Laskowski how he uses predictive modeling and machine learning to power the company’s preemptive shipping practice, as well as the challenges he faces doing so.

What exactly are cloud architects? And are they critical to a company’s success? In a series of Ask the Experts, analysts Kyle Hildendorf of Gartner and James Staten of Forrester illuminate the role. In four parts, find out how each analyst describes the cloud architect’s function, why companies require one, what skills a cloud architect should have, and more.

Independent consultant and SearchCIO columnist Bryan Barringer is no stranger to the process of getting a small business up and running — at the ripe age of 12, he inspired his family to start a video rental business, which eventual became Blockbuster. In his inaugural column of a series, the self-professed “serial entrepreneur” imparts advice on how take your idea and turn it into a burgeoning business.

In other SearchCIO happenings…

If Apple CEO Tim Cook’s open letter is any indication, Apple is looking to put user privacy front and center of its business strategy — a smart move in light of recent security troubles and product releases that will constitute the iOS 8 ecosystem. For CIOs, this could mean that soon, employees will be using both personal and corporate devices to store various types of data, which has the potential to put IT in a tight corner. In Searchlight, see how an expert suggests to balance the fine line of user trust and data privacy.

Figuring out the value of using the cloud isn’t as simple just evaluating the services you’re looking to employ. It’s a little more complex than that, said Forrester analyst James Staten — it requires analyzing the business problem you’re looking to solve, and you can’t do it in a vacuum. On the Total CIO blog, Features Writer Kristen Lee outlines how CIOs can go about the challenge of performing a cost analysis for the cloud.

When it comes to business intelligence (BI) and data analytics, small businesses are behind their large brethren — and no wonder, because it takes a lot of financial and human resources to power the platforms to support those systems. But that’s changing. On the CIO Symmetry blog, read how BI tools such as Tableau Software’s tablet app are making data visualization more accessible for SMBs.

As technologies continue to innovate at a breathtaking pace, so do the skill sets modern IT departments need to keep up with them. In SearchCIO’s #CIOChat recap on the topic of IT hiring in the midst of today’s tech skills gap, learn how participants and experts advise employers and IT professionals to adapt, or risk falling behind.

Have you, like many CIOs and IT leaders, been faces with the quandary of whether to build or buy your organization’s big data architecture? Join SearchCIO’s editors and experts for our next #CIOChat on Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 3 p.m. EDT to talk about what big data means for your company, and whether building, buying or blending is the right decision.

And on SearchCompliance…

E-discovery continues to be a tricky task for businesses as big data continues to expand and, consequently, the list of legal and regulatory compliance mandates grows longer. In SearchCompliance’s latest handbook, get e-discovery tips and strategies to get the best of legal complications that can arise in today’s big data age.

According to a report partly conducted by FTI Consulting Inc., the daunting combination of data protection regulations and China’s state secrecy rules is becoming a massive concern for businesses that conduct business and e-discovery in Asia. In SearchCompliance’s Q&A with FTI Consulting Senior Managing Director Veeral Gosalia, get deeper into the study results and learn how various legal obstacles have affected multinational business dealings.

More light has been shed on Home Depot’s customer data breach, according to former information security staff members’ interview with Businessweek. In the latest IT Compliance Advisor roundup, read how lack of security oversight contributed to the vulnerability; plus, find out more on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s probe into corporate executives’ insider transactions, as well as how governance and other factors impact stock performance.

And that wraps it up for this week! Stay tuned for next week’s Symmetry roundup; in the meantime, keep on top of our stories by following @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance.

September 19, 2014  9:17 PM

Tableau Software eyes BI-minded SMBs with tablet app

Fran Sales Fran Sales Profile: Fran Sales
Analytics, Business Intelligence, data visualization, Small and medium businesses, Small businesses

Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are leery of jumping on the business intelligence bandwagon because of the costliness and complexity of large-scale BI deployments. These deployments have long been the domain of enterprises, not only because they have massive volumes of customer and business data to analyze, but also because they have the funds and internal resources to support massive BI systems.

But some SMBs are finding that in order to keep up with competitors, they can’t afford to hold back any longer. And as such, vendors eying the SMB market are looking to roll out less costly, more user-friendly BI tools. SMBs, they claim, can now choose among BI products that have easier-to-use user interfaces, self-service BI support and embedded analytics capabilities — scaled to even the smallest company.

One such BI product introduced last week: Tableau Software’s forthcoming tablet app, dubbed Project Elastic, the headliner at the company’s annual Tableau Big Data Conference. Tableau is an established data analytics company with a customer base of 19,000 and counting, yet it’s still looking to expand: with Elastic, Tableau is setting its sights squarely on mobile users.

One of the main SMB draws of Tableau Software is its approach to data visualization, which “isn’t about automating your routine path, it’s about allowing users to be artists,” according to theCUBE’s Jeff Kelly. Tableau plans to push this data creativity further into the hands of consumers and small businesses with Elastic, which Dave Story, Tableau’s vice president of mobile and strategic growth, hopes will provide users with a “lean-back experience,” as opposed to being tethered to a desktop. The benefit for SMB owners, he says, is that they can use analyze payment card data without having to organize it with one hand and figure out how to work complicated desktop BI software with the other.

For SMB owners unable to hire full-time IT staff for data analysis or who need to make on-the-move decisions, that’s a plus. So is the easy-to-use interface, according to a demo viewed by Gigaom’s Derrick Harris, including the ability to tap on specific data points to focus them, and the automation of many data-cleansing tasks.

Those are promising developments, but Harris points out that the Elastic product is still missing some features, such as built-in connectors to third-party data providers and a wide range of data visualization options. Connectors with third-party sources are coming, Story told Gigaom, but will require Tableau working with those providers so that Elastic receives data in a compatible format.

Tableau is readying Elastic for release sometime next year. When it comes out, we’ll see if efforts by Tableau, and companies like it, to format offerings that are easy to consume will suit SMBs’ needs, giving them the boost they need to make headway in the BI game.


September 12, 2014  11:50 PM

Adidas’ iterative approach a winner; Apple shakes up mobile landscape

Fran Sales Fran Sales Profile: Fran Sales
Apple, Big Data analytics, CFO, CIO, Cloud Computing, E-discovery, grc, iPhone, Iterative Development Methodologies, Mobile applications, Open data, Smartwatch, Social networking, Wearable devices

Germany won this summer’s World Cup thanks, in part, to Adidas’ miCoach Elite Team System, a suite of technologies that includes a smart shirt, heart-rate monitor, GPS and more, Features Writer Kristen Lee writes on the Total CIO blog. Read how Qazar Hassonjee, vice president of Innovation at Adidas Wearable Sports, used an iterative approach to glean players’ and coaches’ needs and built a system that didn’t just offer data, but also insight.

Apple’s three-pronged release of the iPhone 6/6 Plus, Apple Pay and the Apple Watch has consumers and mainstream media abuzz, particularly about the wearable device, which is the first new product the tech giant released under CEO Tim Cook’s regime. But there’s a deeper message for CIOs, as I cover in this week’s Searchlight. Read how these additions to Apple’s ecosystem — changes that further reduce the friction between the physical and virtual world — should signal CIOs to renew their mobile app strategy.

Big data collection and analytics has plenty of to offer; the number of use cases has exploded in the past several years as enterprises turn to business intelligence to solve a widening range of business problems. In SearchCIO’s brand new Essential Guide on big data exploration and analytics, get an overview of analytics strategies, various case studies, videos and more.

When Dale McEarlen joined TD Bank as vice president of finance for corporate technology and shared services in 2011, her relationship with CIO Glenda Crisp started off simply, with IT turning to Finance for accounting for its technology requests. But after two years, they were able to turn this relationship into a partnership, they explained at the 2014 CFO Technology Conference. In Senior News Writer Nicole Laskowski’s feature, read how they were able to evolve their alliance.

Other happenings on SearchCIO…

CIOs seeking to reap the benefits of open data for their employees can take a page from Bill Oates’ playbook. The now-CIO for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts helmed an open data initiative when he worked for the City of Boston — one that drew nationwide acclaim. In Laskowski’s latest Data Mill, get tips from Oates and others on how to take advantage of open data.

Social networking has come a long way in the past several years, particularly in the enterprise, with CIOs taking advantage of various tools to boost employee productivity, collaboration and creativity. SearchCIO’s latest e-handbook on enterprise social networking provides examples of how you can use these social tools engagingly and effectively.

David Levin, director of information security at Western Union, along with the rest of the wire transfer giant’s security team, faced quite the challenge: enabling the business’ use of cloud without putting the entire company at risk. In Executive Editor Linda Tucci’s blog post on TotalCIO, read how Levin and his colleagues got it done.

On SearchCompliance…

Legal e-discovery is complicated enough as is, with structured and unstructured data piling up. But toss is vendor management and social media considerations, and legal discovery has the potential to be a headache of epic proportions. In the latest #GRCChat recap, see what participants had to say about honing e-discovery tools and strategies to adapt. And a tip by SearchCompliance Site Editor Ben Cole outlines how a thorough data management policy that takes into account big data’s complexity can help businesses efficiently access legal information for e-discovery.

It’s almost time for the next #GRCChat! Join SearchCompliance editors and fellow tweeters next week, Thursday, Sept. 18, at 12 p.m. EST, to talk enterprise mobile security. We’ll be discussing security best practices, mitigating BYOD risks, the compliance consequences of data leaks and more. See you there!

And those are all the stories we have for the week! Check in again for next week’s Symmetry roundup; in the meantime, stay updated on our stories in real time by following @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance.


September 5, 2014  7:09 PM

CIOs can take advantage of Apple iCloud hack; cloud BI in e-commerce

Fran Sales Fran Sales Profile: Fran Sales
Apple, Big Data, CIO, Cloud analytics, cybersecurity, Data Leakage, Data privacy, E-discovery, Governance, icloud, IT talent, Mobile, Paypal, Startup, Talent acquisition

Security experts, the media and Hollywood were thrown into a tizzy in response to the leak of celebrity nude photos in Apple’s iCloud breach. For CIOs, however, the big news offers a hidden opportunity to school employees on the importance of security in today’s digital age. Customer experience expert Kevin Paul Scott shares some thoughts on how to go about it in this week’s Searchlight.

Urbio, a startup that sells a magnetic vertical wall organizer, generated media and consumer buzz before it even had a business. In those days, Blair Stewart, vice president of operations, had a tough job ahead of him: analyzing e-commerce data from myriad sources and making it actionable. In a feature by Senior News Writer Nicole Laskowski, read how Stewart turned to cloud analytics tools for help.

When PayPal was acquired by eBay, it moved to an office space larger than it could fill. PayPal’s unique solution? It formed an incubator called Start Tank that provides six months of office space and PayPal’s mentorship to new Boston businesses. Watch Features Writer Kristen Lee’s video to get the scoop on how the online payment processor is supporting Boston startup culture.

CIOs today have access to heaps of potentially actionable data – but what now? They face the dilemma of whether to build their own big data architecture or buy the technology from providers, an issue Laskowski explores in the lead item of the latest edition of our CIO Decisions ezine. Flip through the issue to find out the pros and cons of each approach; plus, read about PayPal’s shift to Agile, seven data science lessons from McGraw-Hill Education, and more.

And for big data projects to be successful, it’s not enough to just build a big data infrastructure and call it a day. In Data Mill, Laskowski details how IT and the business must align their vision of what defines big data success in order to get the most business value out of big data analytics.

Elsewhere on SearchCIO…

Countless organizations, large and small, now know the many perks of “going mobile” — but it isn’t always painless, writes SearchCIO contributor Bryan Barringer. The No. 1 priority for CIOs when pursuing mobile, he says, is mobile governance.

Due to growing demands on several fronts, enterprise IT is faced with the difficult task of hiring talent that represents the right combination of technical know-how and people savvy. In this #CIOChat recap on hiring in the midst of a tech talent shortage, recruiting expert Shawn Banerji and other participants sound off on what an IT hiring strategy should entail.

On SearchCompliance…

Organizations and governments are adopting cloud services at a rapid rate, even as it becomes more difficult to comply with mounting privacy laws that pose potential roadblocks to e-discovery. In this SearchCompliance Q&A, compliance expert Jeffrey Ritter offers strategies to balance the privacy and e-discovery.

Many organizations have had to revamp their e-discovery processes to adapt to the ever-growing volumes of big data. It’s a challenge, however, considering the difficulty and cost to perform quick e-discovery of relevant legal information. In this #GRCChat recap, tweet chat participants weighed in on the biggest hurdles businesses face today when it comes to data discovery.

Data privacy concerns peppered news headlines of late, starting with Apple’s defense of its security systems in the wake of the iCloud leak. Also in SearchCompliance’s news roundup, Microsoft stands its ground against a search warrant for customer data held overseas, the E.U. is in talks to reform its 1995 data protection law, and more.

That wraps up our news for the week! Stay tuned for next week’s Symmetry roundup; in the meantime, get updates on our stories in real time by following @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance.


August 29, 2014  5:53 PM

Wearable tech and IT consumerization rattle the enterprise

Fran Sales Fran Sales Profile: Fran Sales
CIO, Cloud Computing, Consumerization of IT, Dell, E-discovery, Facebook, Mobile Application Development, Mobile applications, Mobile Computing, Wearable devices

Facebook’s $19 billion purchase of mobile messaging app WhatsApp turned heads not just for the price tag, but also for its signal to CIOs of the reality of IT consumerization. In this week’s Data Mill, SearchCIO Senior News Writer Nicole Laskowski outlines takeaways from the Gartner Catalyst conference about how IT can ride on the wave of consumer messaging apps and how they’re impacting the enterprise.

From Samsung’s and Apple’s smartwatches to Ralph Lauren’s swanky smartshirt, wearable tech continues to make a splash in the consumer market. It won’t be long before employees start bringing these connective devices into the enterprise — so CIOs may as well start to work with business partners to identify and prepare for its pros and cons.

In a digital age where end users are now at the center of the enterprise, CIOs are finding that they must serve both internal and external customer bases — and the lines are blurring, according to CIO Andi Karaboutis. In part one of our video interview, she spills on the parallels between the two; in part two she talks about how, with some smart prioritization, it’s still possible to bring IT closer to the business.

The cost savings associated with cloud computing have long been lauded, but any discussion surrounding the cloud’s financial benefits is more complicated. In part one of this SearchCIO feature on cloud economics, Features Writer Kristen Lee explores how business drivers, cultural factors, provider transparency and other elements factor into calculating the economics of cloud. In part two, Lee delves deeper into how to analyze those various drivers to get the most out of your cloud investment.

Elsewhere on SearchCIO…

From the mobile-equipped audience at the Pope’s inauguration to Clinique’s point-of-sale mobile app, evidence of mobile disruption abounds, experts at the recent MassTLC Mobile Summit said. The clarion call for CIOs, Executive Editor Linda Tucci explains, is to prepare your business models for mobile computing or get left behind by competitors.

Despite the promises of mobile computing, however, many organizations are still leery of adopting bring your own device (BYOD) and bring your own apps (BYOA), mainly because of the risks they pose, but also because of its transformative impact on an enterprise’s culture and operating model. Read SearchCIO expert and contributor Harvey Koeppel’s advice on how to craft the safest and most effective BYOD policies.

With all that developing a mobile application entails, not to mention the deployment of that app, it’s no surprise that many CIOs are fearful of the possibility of failure. But as Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond advises, CIOs should embrace this failure — and learn to mitigate its costs. Get his tips on how to evolve a development culture around mobile app dev and advice on building a purpose-built mobile app.

Customization sometimes makes no business sense, as CTO Niel Nickolaisen well knows, but sometimes, it’s needed to meet changing customer demands. Get his thoughts on how today’s diversity of cloud offerings can help you approach customization.

And on SearchCompliance…

Half of respondents to a recent Gartner survey pointed to figuring out which data to keep and which to discard as the top issue their organizations struggle with, so it’s not surprising that data classification and data mapping are crucial to a data discovery strategy. In a tip by SearchCompliance Site Editor Ben Cole, learn how to take those first steps and reduce litigation costs and risks.

That’s all our news for this week, folks! Stay tuned for next week’s Symmetry roundup. In the meantime, enjoy the long holiday weekend and get updates by following @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance.


August 22, 2014  6:44 PM

Three digital intelligence tactics for IoT; Heartbleed hack reemerges

Fran Sales Fran Sales Profile: Fran Sales
Chief Data Officer, CIO, Collaboration, cybersecurity, Digital intelligence, E-discovery, Gartner, Heartbleed, Internet of Things, Mobile data, Mobile security

With the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and the resultant growth in streaming data, CIOs are facing new duties and challenges. To fully take advantage of IoT, CIOs must build a “digitally intelligent architecture,” analysts say. In this week’s Data Mill, SearchCIO senior news writer Nicole Laskowski outlines three digital intelligence tactics CIOs must focus on.

There are only about 100 chief data officers around the world, according to Gartner, but the role has gained an outsized amount of recognition, particularly in banking, government and insurance. Still, questions persist, and at the recent MIT Chief Data Officer and Information Quality Symposium, a panel of CDOs addressed many of them.

Heartbleed reemerged in this week’s headlines, playing a key role in the data breach of a Tennessee health network. In Searchlight, find out what enterprise CIOs and security officers can take away from this latest breach, as well as from UPS’ discovery of the vulnerability of its customers’ data.

When it comes to securing enterprise mobile collaboration, mobile device management and antimalware aren’t always the best answer. At the Gartner Catalyst Conference, security analyst Mario de Boer laid out the best tools to effectively secure mobile data in your collaboration environment.

Do you and your enterprise know what to look for in order to hire the right tech talent? Join us in discussing the IT skills gap in the next #CIOChat tweet jam on Wednesday, Aug. 27, at 3 p.m. EDT.

And on SearchCompliance…

Increasing volumes of data mean more complex e-discovery at many organizations. Fortunately, new cloud-based e-discovery tools can help address companies’ e-discovery management requirements. In a tip from compliance expert Jeffrey Ritter, learn key strategies to ensure your cloud providers are able to meet these needs.

In this week’s compliance news roundup, U.S. companies, particularly in the financial services sector, continue to grapple with today’s post-recession regulatory landscape. Plus, read more about PricewaterhouseCooper’s bank reporting blunder and U.S. tech giants’ broken Safe Harbor pact.

That wraps up our news this week! Check in with us again for next week’s Symmetry roundup, and get updates during the week by following @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance.


August 15, 2014  7:58 PM

Two-speed IT at Gartner Catalyst, and which CDO role will prevail?

Fran Sales Fran Sales Profile: Fran Sales
Agile, Big Data, Chief Data Officer, Chief Digital Officer, CIO, CIO Decisions, CISO, Compliance, cybersecurity, Data Mining, Data privacy, Digital strategy, E-discovery, Gartner, Hybrid cloud, Mobile Application Development, NSA, Target data breach, Vendor management, Waterfall development

John Deere’s director of enterprise architecture Mano Mannoochahr kicked off the big data discussion at this week’s Gartner Catalyst Conference in San Diego, and his keynote sparked some discussion on the benefits of both waterfall and agile. Read Senior News Writer Nicole Laskowski’s take on how the 177-year-old corporation utilizes two-speed IT to leverage both approaches.

Also from San Diego, Features Writer Kristen Lee addresses a standout conference session on McGraw-Hill Financial’s hybrid cloud journey, during which Financial Architect Srinivas Sarathy laid out why the company went for the hybrid cloud approach, the challenges involved and the lessons learned.

Two CDO roles are gaining prominence in the C-suite, but one might outlive the other, reports Laskowski in this week’s Data Mill. While the work of both the chief digital officer and the chief data officer is critical to the success of the business, one’s role as “customer champion” is more well-defined and understood outside of IT, Laskowski explains.

Take a gander at our fresh issue of the CIO Decisions e-zine on the hybrid cloud! Find out how a hybrid strategy can be better than the sum of its parts; plus, learn some CIOs’ take on the benefits and drawbacks of a hybridized computing environment; read about a craft brewery startup’s winning cloud ERP strategies; and more.

In other SearchCIO matters…

Snowden-approved cloud backup vendor SpiderOak is the latest vendor taking a stand against the NSA’s data mining. What can enterprise CIOs and CISOs take away from this news as they deal with the thorny privacy issues that surround client data? Find out in this week’s Searchlight.

CIOs and IT leaders are tasked with the not-so-mean feat of keeping the organization running smoothly and overseeing the technology providers that enable the business’ needs. Check out our Essential Guide to get help on navigating the tricky waters of vendor management in today’s fast-paced IT environment.

With an estimated 1.75 billion users downloading mobile apps, it’s no surprise that businesses of all sizes are jumping on the mobile app bandwagon. But as Lee heard from mobile app experts at last month’s MassTLC Mobile Summit, the odds of a mobile app taking off after launch aren’t so great. Get their tips on what mobile-aspiring businesses can do to increase their apps’ likelihood of success.

And on SearchCompliance…

In light of Target’s C-suite shake-ups following last year’s data breach, inquiries around the accountability of the retail giant’s executives still abound. Take a look at this SearchCompliance FAQ to get detailed answers to the most pressing questions about the Target breach.

Corporate compliance and cybersecurity expert Jeffrey Jenkins knows how overwhelming it is to develop a well-rounded, successful cybersecurity program. On SearchCompliance, he provides three invaluable tips to help you step up to the task.

It’s time for another #GRCchat: SearchCompliance editors and experts will be chatting about how big data has shaped e-discovery management, as well as how digital governance best practices can help avoid legal issues. Join us on Thursday, Aug. 21, at 12 p.m. EDT!

That about does it for this week’s news! Check in again next week for another Symmetry roundup, and get updates during the week by following @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance.


August 8, 2014  7:42 PM

Big data architecture dilemma; Russian hackers’ theft as CIO advantage

Fran Sales Fran Sales Profile: Fran Sales
AT&T, Automation, Big Data, CIO, Compliance, Data breach, Data privacy, Hackers, Paypal, Security compliance

Tesla’s decision to build an ERP system from scratch rather than upgrade its SAP software has IT circles abuzz. It highlights a longstanding quandary for CIOs as they architect for big data: To build or to buy? In part one of senior news writer Nicole Laskowski’s two-part series, get expert advice on how to look at your business problems and outcomes before investing in big data technology. In part two, Laskowski takes a closer look at how technology leaders decide whether to build or buy technology for big data.

Kristen Wolberg, PayPal’s vice president of technology business operations, is no stranger to workplace transformation. Before PayPal, she led Salesforce’s move to Agile and helped rightsize Charles Schwab. In part one of this CIO Innovator Q&A with executive editor Linda Tucci, Wolberg explains the philosophy behind PayPal’s move to an Agile methodology. In part two, she talks about how she pulled off getting 4,000 people on board with the transformation, and its consequent benefits.

In this week’s Searchlight, a Russian crime gang’s hack of 1.2 billion passwords has the world reeling. Data security expert Ronald Breaux, of international law firm Haynes and Boone, argues that CIOs can use the sharpened focus on data breaches to insist on higher standards of security and compliance.

In other SearchCIO matters…

Today’s cloud service providers are getting more and more in tune with enterprise IT’s needs, and improving relationships with them could very well spell strategic gains for CIOs, expert Larry Bolick and other tweet jammers agreed in our first #CIOChat recap from our recent cloud provider-themed chat. In the second recap, they discuss the differences between dealing with traditional vendors versus cloud providers.

In a video interview, MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award winner Thaddeus Arroyo, CIO at AT&T, discusses how he delivers value and extends digital capabilities to the company’s internal and external customers. Watch the video to find out why he thinks the two constituencies are converging.

And on SearchCompliance…

As governance, risk and compliance (GRC) platforms evolve, they are commonly integrated with organizations’ business processes. In SearchCompliance contributor Christine Parizo’s tip, see how GRC tools can help meet your regulatory compliance requirements, and how one bank accomplished just that.

Many businesses are making the move to automated compliance in an effort to simplify data management processes and rein in costs — a shift that might make GRC professionals wary. But this trend instead likely indicates that these professionals will need to acquire new skills, #GRCChat participants said in the latest tweet jam recap.

In compliance news, the online user privacy debate gains renewed fervor with the help of big-name technology companies’ involvement. In our news roundup: Facebook faces a European lawsuit, Google tips off police to a child abuser, and more.

That closes out the week’s news! Make sure to check in with us again in next week’s Symmetry roundup, and get updates on our stories during the week by following @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance.


August 1, 2014  8:07 PM

Mobile technology’s promises and hurdles; data governance myths, debunked

Fran Sales Fran Sales Profile: Fran Sales
Big Data, Cloud costs, Compliance, cybersecurity, IT Governance, Mobile BI, Mobile technology, Vendor management

The future of mobile personalization was the topic of a panel of mobile app experts at MassTLC’s Mobile Summit last week. Read SearchCIO features writer Kristen Lee’s recap of the session to find out how today’s increasingly targeted apps have gone beyond just recommending where you should call for takeout.

Mobile analytics is one of the hottest IT trends of 2014, and for good reason: the plethora of benefits, from increased productivity to streamlined internal processes, are transforming the business. What exactly is driving this shift to mobile business intelligence? SearchCIO contributor Scott Golden, co-founder and vice president of consultancy Decision First Technologies, offers some ideas.

The San Jose Sharks NHL hockey team and consultancy Superior Group each had its reasons for choosing an enterprise social network (ESN) platform, and they leverage these tools in different ways. In part one of her feature on ESNs, contributor Christine Parizo details how the Sharks selected an ESN tool that integrated with its back-end systems and boosted employee morale. In part two, Parizo recounts how consultancy Superior Group used gamification to drive employee adoption of its ESN platform.

The scenario: You’re a small business owner who’s on the fence about whether to build a mobile app or optimize your existing website for mobile. Where do you begin devising a mobile strategy for your business? On the CIO Symmetry blog, I talk about how thinking like a mobile-savvy consumer (which you probably already are!) puts you in your customer’s mindset. In part two, I detail the pros and cons of going the mobile-app versus mobile-responsive site route, and with the users’ experience in mind.

In other SearchCIO matters…

The U.S. government released a report this week on how hackers are exploiting remote desktops to tap into networks undetected. The report recommends a layered approach to security, and humans — including CIOs — play no small part in that strategy. In Searchlight, find out if corporate politics and CIOs’ self-interest might be to blame for an inadequate security program.

Lee continues her investigation into the economics of cloud on the TotalCIO blog, where she recaps her interview with Health Management Systems’ Cynthia Nustad on how the CIO contracts with cloud providers. Find out Nustad’s criteria when considering vendors, and learn her strategy for avoiding vendor lock-in.

Sometimes, technology alone isn’t enough when handling big data coming in at accelerated rates — particularly when you’re in the business of exploring that data to learn new things. That was the consensus of a panel of medical and pharmaceutical experts at the MIT Chief Data Officer and Information Quality Symposium explained. Read senior news writer Nicole Laskowski’s latest Data Mill to find out how these experts are dealing with big data’s various pain points.

The information that organizations glean from ERP systems is key to managing product planning, interacting with suppliers and customers, and more. Take a look at the free ERP requests for proposals templates and examples we’ve gathered to help you find the right ERP provider.

Sure, services and applications — and their providers — are getting more in line with customers’ needs. But it’s also the day and age when employees’ shadow app use is becoming rampant, and service-level agreements are becoming more complicated. Our recent stories have got you covered; take our quiz on service vendor management to learn more.

And on SearchCompliance…

As data piles up faster and faster, so do the myths surrounding that data’s management and governance. In a Q&A with SearchCompliance site editor Ben Cole, governance expert Jeffrey Ritter demystifies five common myths companies deal with as they tackle information governance. In part two, he debunks persistent misconceptions around data storage costs and information governance training.

In our most recent #GRCchat tweet jam, participants agreed that automating compliance processes can greatly assist with data management, and cut down on costs and redundant resources. However, they also warn that automation tools still have a potential for error. Check out this recap to find out what participants suggested to overcome these drawbacks.

And that wraps up our week’s news! Catch us again for next week’s Symmetry roundup, and stay updated on our stories during the week by following @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance.


July 31, 2014  1:41 PM

Is a mobile-optimized website or app right for your small business?

Fran Sales Fran Sales Profile: Fran Sales
Digital disruption, Mobile, Mobile Application Development, Small businesses

Check out part one of this blog post to learn an easy trick for developing a mobile strategy for your small business.

Arguably the strongest case for going mobile is the opportunity it gives you to engage with customers. The widespread adoption of smartphones and the evolution of mobile apps have vastly increased a company’s touchpoints for interacting with customers. Thanks to mobile computing, small businesses can not only provide services to consumers 24/7, but also improve and customize these services based on the unique data that users themselves provide. The tools and technology to provide a highly customized mobile app experience are there, said Mike Schneider, vice president of marketing for big data company Skyhook Wireless.

Speaking at the recent Mass Technology Leadership Council’s Mobile Summit, a gathering of mobile app experts, Schneider urged the audience to create “appticipation” by delivering personalized user experiences with their mobile apps. “Knowing where your users go and the places that are important to them allows you to reduce the friction from the opening of the app to getting value,” he said, citing advances in geofencing and persona development.*

Understand the use case for mobile

Mobile’s expanding reach, however, won’t do you any good if there isn’t a sound use case. A recent case study by SearchCIO contributor Christine Parizo on small business 8z Real Estate‘s decision to develop a mobile app is a good model. Much of the agency’s decision to go ahead and develop a mobile app was based not just on the prevalence of smartphones, but also on the nature of buying property, explained 8z marketing associate Staci Striegnitzk. “People driving or walking through a neighborhood and seeing a ‘For Sale’ sign don’t want to wait until they get home to know the details,” she said. Indeed, Striegnitzk expects the percentage of listing traffic that comes from mobile to climb to 50% during the next few years.

Experts agree that you should apply the same rigorous business logic when considering whether to build a mobile app or mobile-optimized website to reach digitally savvy consumers. The cost of developing a mobile app can range from almost nothing (if you’re a self-starter and are up for learning to code yourself!) to tens of thousands of dollars. There’s also the matter of how time-consuming and difficult it is to develop native apps, especially if you want to create one that can reach users right away; as such, some small business owners opt to outsource app development to a third party.

While creating a mobile-optimized website tends to be cheaper than an app, if your current site is built on an older protocol, you’ll likely pay more than you’d expect to commission one. Unlike native apps — which don’t rely on connectivity and can be designed to do anything, from pushing notifications to providing café recommendations based on your current location — users can’t access the content on your mobile-optimized site unless they’re connected to the Internet. Also, the mobile version doesn’t go beyond the information they would find if they were to visit your site on a desktop, but they do have the advantage of working across operating systems.

The bottom line: Deciding whether “going mobile” for you means building a homegrown app or creating a mobile-optimized version of your website requires lots of homework, particularly around the question of what your target customers want: Are you planning on providing extra benefits that would make downloading a unique app extremely useful for them, or would creating a mobile site on which they could access up-to-date information suffice? One thing is certain: Considering the breakneck speed at which mobile technology is disrupting businesses, the question may be not if your small business should go mobile, but when.

*More than one person in the audience raised concerns on the “creepiness” factor, but as an avid user of my Starbucks and LevelUp apps, I’m willing to share the necessary data in exchange for convenience — a point Schneider also addressed. But that’s a topic for another blog post!


Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: