CIO Symmetry

July 31, 2015  8:31 PM

Windows 10 Enterprise debuts; will the CDO upstage the CIO?

Fran Sales Fran Sales Profile: Fran Sales
CDO, CIO, cloud, Compliance, Dodd-Frank, MIT, Mobile payments, SMB

Critics and analysts alike are raving over the new Windows 10 Enterprise OS, which Microsoft launched this week. In light of the glowing reviews — improved user experience and security, a built-in personal assistant, and a default browser among them — should enterprise CIOs jump on the bandwagon? The experts say yes — with a few cautions. Read about them on assistant editor Brian Holak’s Searchlight column.

Is the role of the chief data officer (CDO) poised to overshadow that of the CIO? The answer seems to be yes, according to many of the CDOs at last week’s MIT Chief Data Officer and Information Quality Symposium: As organizations today become increasingly data-driven, it’s becoming harder for CIOs to deliver relevant, quality data to business users. Read more on senior news writer Nicole Laskowski’s exploration of the topic in this week’s Data Mill.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is now mainstream, and that development brings CIO expert and frequent columnist Harvey Koeppel both great enthusiasm and much angst — he did study with some of the field’s pioneers, after all. In this tip, Koeppel talks about how far AI has come after 60 years of research, and offers CIOs 10 imperatives to prepare for the era of AI opportunities ahead.

Finding business value in data has long been part of the CIO’s job; now, they’re being pressured from above to provide value from data to their external customers as well — a trend called data monetization. But data monetization is a very different process than that of generating value from data for internal customers, experts say. Laskowski explores new challenges CIOs must face as their CEOs and boards of directors look to data monetization to gain market share.

CIOs know that navigating this competitive digital landscape is a tall order, and without a solid IT strategy plan, a company risks being left behind in the dust. Never fear: We’ve rounded up free (did we say “free”?) strategy planning templates and examples from various IT organizations that can help.

Hot off the presses…

SearchCIO’s July handbook on mobile payments is out! Browse through the digital issue to get advice on how to ensure your mobile payment solutions are convenient and secure for users, how to deal with mobile payments’ security risks, and more.

On SearchCompliance, we deal with the challenges of meeting regulation requirements in today’s environment of increasing regulatory complexity. Flip through this July handbook to find out how compliance officers should use new GRC automation tools so they can meet their businesses’ data governance objectives.

On our blogs…

How can CIOs do leadership right? At this year’s MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, Ralph Loura, CIO of the enterprise group at HP, took part in a panel and offered up four “Loura-isms” on how CIOs can demonstrate leadership, which Laskowski explores on the Total CIO blog.

Are you a small or medium-sized business (SMB) that wants to become more “data-driven,” but struggles to find the money and resources to take advantage of business intelligence (BI) and data analytics tools? On CIO Symmetry, Bill Strip, director of IT for NxtTeam, a managed services provider specializing in BI for SMBs, offers five ways SMBs can boost profits from data and think like a data scientist.

Elsewhere on CIO Symmetry: Small businesses are increasingly moving their systems to the cloud — but their main motivations are not what you might think. A recent survey by advisory board company The Alternative Board found that small business owners’ top reason for migration was functionality. What wasn’t as important? Security and cost savings.

And on IT Compliance Advisor, we explore why, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars financial companies are spending on talent and technology related to global structural reform (GSR) regulations such as Dodd-Frank and Basel III, their focus continues to be mainly on compliance and not as much on long-term strategy. Read more about the findings from Accenture’s recent GSR survey.

That wraps it up for this week. Follow our @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance accounts for new stories throughout the week.

July 31, 2015  6:45 PM

5 ways to think like a data scientist without becoming one

Linda Tucci Linda Tucci Profile: Linda Tucci

CIO Symmetry occasionally posts expert advice we think will be of use to our small business readers. Bill Stripp, director of IT for NxtTeam, a managed service provider specializing in business intelligence for small to mid-size businesses (SMBs), believes data analytics is not just for big companies. He offers five steps SMBs can take to become more “data-driven” and boost profitability.

A Bill Stripprecent survey by the Economist revealed 59% of respondents who described their organizations as data-driven reported greater profitability than competitors, compared to those polled who said their companies are not data-driven.

The findings are not surprising. Hidden within the data flowing through your company are insights into every function — from inventory to sales to finance — waiting to be translated by into competitive advantage.

But how do companies unlock those insights? If you’re a small or mid-size business (SMB), chances are this info-opportunity is a struggle. Most business intelligence (BI) and data analytics tools are designed for large organizations — too costly, complex and staff-intensive for the limited resources of SMBs.

But the landscape is changing. With the advent of cloud-based BI applications and services, SMBs of all sizes and types now can act like big corporations, with a team of data scientists plying the requisite coding and analytical skills. Cloud delivery means the high initial cost of entry and maintenance can be reduced to a smaller manageable monthly fee for service.

BI as a service brings the mining and analytics capabilities of a data scientist to employees through a web-based portal. Members of any department can gain access to relevant business data specific to their role and presented in easy-to-digest formats. Business teams can enjoy the benefits of self-service BI without depending on an expensive multi-year implementation.

What should they do with that information? Here are five ways a data scientist would approach the data:

Think Q&A

Many BI projects fail because some companies approach information management like playing Jeopardy. They see analytics as answers and start looking for questions to match. That strategy, of course, is backward. Data scientists determine the right questions before they start asking data for answers. The best questions to pose first relate to an organization’s goals and strategies. Other equally important questions don’t relate to the data itself, but the processes and procedures that organizations use to collect and store their data, such as: Where do we find the right data to query? And are we collecting all the right data for analysis?

For instance, a manufacturer faced with a sluggish production cycle might pore over reams of reports about units per hour coming off the assembly line. But a data scientist would explore other factors, too, such as the number of raw materials involved in production and where those suppliers are located. Now, the manufacturer can ask: Do we know how long each supplier takes to deliver raw materials? And do we know what impact that timing has on units per hour?

Logistics managers could then consolidate sourcing by tapping into geographic data to find the optimal mix of speedy suppliers.

Think outside the lines

If the manufacturer in the first example limits analysis to the information generated by its own organization, the company may never accelerate production. Data scientists know key factors sometimes reside outside the literal and virtual boundaries of the business, especially in the era of big data.

The spectrum of data sources available to today’s SMBs ranges from internal streams — such as point-of-sale stations and warehouse intake systems —  to external torrents — such as email, websites and even social media. Data scientists consider data destinations, too, which likely are multiple, disparate databases, files and other systems.

A good model crosses virtual boundaries and helps identify relationships between different types of data. Cause-and-effect patterns emerge, explaining why, for example, a particular product sells better at certain times of year or in certain regions.

Think apples to apples

Like the variety of a fruit basket, a typical organization’s data is a collection of diverse files, databases and repositories. And just as apples, oranges and bananas have different shapes and textures, not all data is configured according to the same rules or processes.

Data scientists understand that extracting meaningful insights from data is a bit like making a tasty fruit salad: At some point, each category of fruit must be reconciled to determine the freshest pieces. So, too, must data be reconciled for analytics.

Just as tastes in fruit salad vary, data should be reconciled to fit the particular needs of a business. The goal is finding the best data salad to satisfy the information appetites of different staff in different departments – and make it the same way with the same quality every time.

Think blueprints before tools

In their pursuit of data insights, some businesses think like carpenters, electricians or plumbers. When evaluating BI technology, they gravitate to tools most familiar to them. So, sometimes they equip themselves with hammers when they have a bunch of screws and pipes to assemble.

Data scientists think at a higher level — like architects drafting blueprints. They consult with different departments to learn what they need from their data. Building your best analytics will take hammers, screwdrivers and wrenches to manage the nails, screws and pipes. But you won’t know how many and in what combination unless you understand the blueprint before buying the tools and hardware.

 Think in specifics

Data scientists know the objectives of BI shouldn’t be vague. Without specific metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) aligned to specific company goals there’s no means of objectively evaluating success when implementing corporate strategy. Measurements must be definitive and concrete to indicate progress. For example, initiatives to expand geographically should point out destinations; campaigns to boost profits should define margins; a move to cut costs should enumerate savings; programs to boost productivity should quantify gains, and so on.

Becoming a “data-driven” company is a matter of mindset. But your team members don’t have to become data scientists to think like them. With subscription-based cloud services, SMBs of all shapes, sizes and industries can start to develop the same level of competitive advantage enjoyed by large enterprises – without the same cost, complexity and commitment of staff.

 About the author:

Bill Stripp is Director of IT for NxtTeam, a managed service provider specializing in business intelligence for small to mid-size businesses. During his decades-long career in technology, he has held technical, analytical and training positions specializing in enterprise software for Waste Management, Inc., Fujitsu Consulting and Greenbrier & Russel.

July 30, 2015  2:11 PM

Survey: Small businesses move to cloud systems for functionality, not cost savings

Fran Sales Fran Sales Profile: Fran Sales
CIO, cloud, Cloud Computing, Cloud migration, Small businesses, SMB, SMBs

A growing number of small businesses are switching over to cloud systems, particularly for data storage, file sharing and email, a recent survey of 300 small-business owners found. Their top reasons for migration: a more mobile and productive workforce and easier data access. The survey also found that respondents who had a high grasp of cloud technology were more concerned about functionality than security.

According to The Alternative Board’s June 2015 Small Business Pulse Survey, 87% of the business owners the advisory board company surveyed said they migrated their IT systems to the cloud in the past five years. A good chunk of these owners (41%) considered their grasp of cloud technology above average (8, on a scale of 1 to 10, with a mean of 6.1). Those surveyed said their main motivations for moving IT to the cloud were making their workforce more mobile and productive (22%), and providing their employees with quicker and easier access to data (21%). Interestingly, only 8% of respondents looked to cloud platforms for cost savings, and 10% moved to cloud to reduce risk.

the advisory board, cloud computing insights, small business pulse survey

Cloud Computing Insights: TAB Small Business Pulse Survey infographic

The survey also found that migrating to cloud systems went fairly well on average for the majority of organizations, with 57% saying they had no problems.

The respondents’ biggest concerns when migrating were around functionality (43%) and security (38%). Respondents who had a high understanding of cloud computing were more concerned about functionality than security (51% versus 34%), while those with a low understanding of cloud were more concerned about security (44%) than functionality (31%).

While security was unsurprisingly a primary concern, the business owners weren’t overwhelmingly worried about it, said the survey report’s authors. Eighty percent of respondents with a high grasp of cloud ranked their confidence in security a 7 or higher out of 10; only 7% rated their cloud security confidence at 5 or lower.

According to David Scarola, vice president of The Alternative Board, these findings indicate that small businesses are less worried about data breaches and more about finding efficient services that will drive functionality, mobility and productivity. “Those that have made the transition to cloud systems have quite a bit of confidence in the security of these systems. The cloud-based system providers have done a good job providing secure and reliable systems that is leading to increased confidence,” he told me in an email.

Daniel Mellen, a senior manager at a management consulting services company who has expertise in information security, agreed that one reason small businesses, and businesses in general, are less concerned about the cloud’s security and more about its functionality is that the security of cloud services is improving, he told me on Twitter.

“Everyone is focusing on security, and it’s improving. CSPs [cloud service providers] are getting better. [There are] more third-party products [and] better integrations. All of this increases confidence and trust in cloud services — SMB or big enterprise alike,” he said.

Chad Cardenas, the president and CIO of a cloud services provider, concurred that he’s seeing more SMBs drawn to the cloud because of its security benefits (saying that more than 90% have reported security satisfaction post-migration). But even more important, he argues, is looking at the mindset of the CIO or IT leader making decisions around cloud migration: Are they basing their decisions on what’s differentiating their company in the market or what data and systems they consider mission-critical?

“CIO’s who can answer how [and] when to invest internally versus [when to] outsource or partner are in a better position to be transformational leaders,” he told me over Twitter.

July 24, 2015  6:34 PM

The rise of Drones as a Service; the impact of big data on data integration

Brian Holak Brian Holak Profile: Brian Holak
Big Data, CIO, Digital disruption, Digital platform, Drones, Platform integration

Is Drones as a Service (DaaS) about to take off? Sony jumped on the drone bandwagon this week with its announcement of the launch of a joint drone business subsidiary. In this week’s Searchlight, site editor Fran Sales gets experts’ take on the rise of DaaS and how CIOs should prepare for the growing market. Also in Searchlight: hackers disable a Jeep on the highway and an adultery site was hacked.

More data, more problems — that’s the essence of the data integration challenge, according to MIT researcher Michael Stonebraker. Senior news writer Nicole Laskowski caught up with Stonebraker at the recent MIT Chief Data Officer and Information Quality Symposium to talk about the evolution and challenges of data curation and how traditional ETL is broken.

The platform revolution is here, but moving to a platform business isn’t easy. Paul Daugherty, CTO at Accenture, listed five major challenges, or “platform dichotomies,” for IT professionals to consider before they make the leap.

The modern CIO wears a lot of hats. This Essential Guide explores the changing role of the CIO, the impact of digitalization and strategies to adapt to the digital marketplace.

Over on SearchCompliance, Bitcoin and other cipher block chaining technologies continue to be hyped as a new form of digital currency. How is cipher block chaining important to information governance? SearchCompliance expert Jeffrey Ritter answers this question and explores the impact and potential of this technology.

On the ITCompliance blog, Sales runs down the latest GRC news, including the creators’ reflection on the impact of the Dodd-Frank law on its fifth anniversary, the new FIFA corruption investigation led by the SEC and critics’ challenge of SEC’s in-house judicial process.

Finally, who are the winners and losers in digital disruption? Join SearchCIO’s #CIOChat Wednesday, July 29, at 3 p.m. EST, to discuss digital disruption in the enterprise and how to survive and thrive in the digital age. See you there!

Please follow @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance for our new stories throughout the week.

July 17, 2015  9:26 PM

Cloud inventory strategies for CIOs; Flash security flaws spur Mozilla to action

Fran Sales Fran Sales Profile: Fran Sales
Adobe, Adobe Flash, Chief Digital Officer, CIO, Cloud Applications, Compliance, Digital customer, Facebook, grc, Mozilla Firefox, Rogue IT

Enterprises of all stripes are seeing their workers and business teams launching cloud apps — quickly and easily — without IT ever being in the know. That’s not a bad thing: These cloud apps create efficiencies in various business processes. But it further transforms the job of the CIO and how they take inventory of various rogue cloud apps. In this feature by Mary K. Pratt, explore how CIOs are discovering new best practices and partnering with the business to improve cloud inventory processes.

Adobe Flash has long been derided by users and businesses alike for its history of security problems. This week, it garnered even more scorn, this time from big-name companies Mozilla and Google, which blocked the plug-in from their browsers, and Facebook, whose CSO called for Flash’s demise. In Searchlight, assistant editor Brian Holak digs into why the Adobe’s continuous security negligence should set off red flags for CIOs.

The chief digital officer (CDO), formerly seen by many as a fleeting position, will be around for the long haul, according to a new IDC research report. “Now we’re seeing them run significant business units,” said one of the report’s authors. In Data Mill, read about the three types of CDOs and how they and CIOs can collaborate to lead their companies’ digital transformation.

Enterprises know the wealth of value to be reaped from their ever-growing stores of big data, particularly when it comes to making smart business decisions, meeting their customers’ constantly evolving demands and pursuing innovative projects. Luckily, our new Essential Guide is here to help! Scroll through to get guidance on Hadoop vs. traditional data storage, which technology is best for your specific organization, and other topics.

The current state of cybersecurity is looking bleak, according to a new book from the World Economic Forum, written by Alan Marcus and Derek O’Halloran. One thing current security models are lacking in today’s digital era: “digital resilience.” Senior news writer Nicole Laskowski lays out the seven tenets of this concept, and how leaders themselves – from the CIO to the CISO to the CEO to the board – can develop resilience.

The next big thing in BI and analytics? Data storytelling, which is getting a big push from collaborative computing vendors such as Yammer, as well as tech companies like Automated Insights, which analyzes big data patterns and generates narratives from them. Listen to Laskowski’s podcast interview with chief research officer Howard Dresner, of Dresner Advisory Services, to learn more about the trend.

On the Total CIO blog: As customers increasingly seek measurable outcomes as opposed to simply products, companies are finding that they must make the shift to a platform business model, through reinvestments and reinvention, to meet their demands. Paul Daugherty, Accenture CTO, pointed to two companies that did just that: John Deere and Home Depot.

The number of compliance regulations is growing larger by the minute; thankfully, automated governance, risk and compliance (GRC) processes have helped many companies save resources. But automated processes must also align with a company’s existing data management goals, and they can be a headache to implement if everyone isn’t on board. In this SearchCompliance Q&A, GRC expert Jeffrey Ritter talks about how companies can prepare for implementation.

That’s all we’ve got for this week! Follow our @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance accounts for new stories throughout the week.

July 10, 2015  8:47 PM

The shift to platform strategies; architecting IoT with help from edge networks

Brian Holak Brian Holak Profile: Brian Holak
Enterprise mobility, Internet of Things, iot, Mobile payments, Mobility, Platform Solutions

Do you have a platform strategy in place? The platform revolution is in full swing; Accenture’s CTO spoke of the shift at the recent MIT Platform Strategy Summit and how it signals the end of industry boundaries. Also in Searchlight: Microsoft cuts 7,800 jobs and IBM unveils a new ultra-powerful chip.

IoT data poses unique challenges to already established architectures for data collection and transmission. As discussed in this installment of our Conference Notebook series, edge networks may be the key to addressing these challenges and effectively architecting for IoT.

In another installment of Conference Notebook, executive editor Linda Tucci caught up with former McCormick CIO Jerry Wolfe to talk about his role as CEO of the spice company’s new “food experience platform” startup, and why a digital platform is so essential to reaching today’s foodies.

Mobile payments are on the rise and IT professionals have a lot to say about it. First, get SearchCIO expert Harvey Koeppel’s take on the evolution of mobile payments and what CIOs need to do to properly integrate mobile payments into their IT strategies. Then, information security professionals dissect overblown mobile payment security fears and explore how mobile payments can actually boost data security. Finally, hear from mobility expert Bryan Barringer on how mobile wallets represent a new and improved way to pay.

Speaking of mobility, over on SearchCompliance, Barringer explores how automated compliance management can overcome mobility complications and save valuable company resources. Also on SearchCompliance, learn how compliance reporting processes may have led to Honda’s TREAD Act violations, and hear how #GRCChat participants think cybersecurity legislation could hurt data privacy.

Plus, in a video interview from the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, Schindler Group CIO Michael Nilles discusses the CIO’s role in enterprise digital transformation.

On the TotalCIO blog: A recent MobileIron survey found that a growing number of professionals are increasingly using their mobile devices for both work and play — and are feeling guilty for it. MobileIron calls this group “Generation Mobile.” But is the name really warranted? In part one of a two-part blog post, Gartner’s Ken Dulaney spills what he thinks of the label and whether he thinks employees today indeed feel guilty about doing work on personal time. In part two, he homes in on wearables and whether they have the potential to take off in the workplace.

Also on TotalCIO, find out why the data privacy and security status quo — namely the lack of incentives companies have to update privacy and security policies and consumers’ complacency regarding the data collection process — persist, even in today’s breach-a-minute landscape. Two security experts share their take in this blog post.

Please follow @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance for our new stories throughout the week.

July 2, 2015  8:45 PM

Senior leadership success in 3 steps; the CIO’s role in a platform business strategy

Fran Sales Fran Sales Profile: Fran Sales
Apple, CIO, Compliance, cybersecurity, Digital business

A stellar CIO is only as good as his direct reports. To build a leadership team of that creates breakthroughs in its industry, leadership and agility expert Joseph Flahiff argues that CIOs need to build a supportive culture in which senior IT feels confident experimenting with new ideas. In this tip, he offers three steps on how to get there.

Many companies are just beginning the journey to becoming a digital business. How do CIOs jump on the opportunity to play a major role in this journey? In this video interview excerpt from MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, Peter Nichol, head of IT at Access Health CT, shared how he gets people in his organization curious about digital projects.

Also from MIT, SearchITChannel site editor John Moore interviewed various academics, consultants and tech execs to get their take on the rapidly expanding platform business model, a radical shift from the traditional product-oriented business model. In this feature, find out why and how CIOs need to rethink how their IT infrastructures are designed — as well as how their roles should change — to prepare for this shift.

How can you talk digital investments with your business peers? With good salesmanship, according to Crossing the Chasm author Geoffrey Moore. From the recent Hadoop Summit in San Jose, senior news writer Nicole Laskowski outlines Moore’s two-part framework for how to market high technology to the business.

After we published our Searchlight story on the potential business uses of the Apple Watch, we discovered SearchCIO readers had a lot to say. In this roundup, see why some readers were very optimistic, why others were more cautious — and why the rest just flat-out said it was unlikely to take off as a business tool in many sectors. (Plus, we included an infographic you can download!)

On SearchCompliance…

Many organizations are still struggling to comply with regulations that are decades-old; others are steeling themselves for pending laws; and others are struggling with the mounting paperwork of more recent bills such as PCI DSS. Are you one of these organizations? Flip through this SearchCompliance slideshow to get recent guidance on how to keep up with all these regulation challenges.

Security experts believe that these days, there are only two kinds of companies: those that have already been hacked and those that will be. This is one of the reasons why MIT Sloan School of Management launched the Interdisciplinary Consortium for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, or (IC)3. Writer Mary K. Pratt lays out how the consortium is using interdisciplinary research and industry partnerships to develop more effective cybersecurity tactics.

That wraps it up for this week. Follow our @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance accounts for new stories throughout the week.

June 26, 2015  8:30 PM

Uber privacy policy spurs outcry; robotic automation set to displace knowledge workers

Fran Sales Fran Sales Profile: Fran Sales
Automation, Consumer data, Data privacy, Privacy rights, SMB, Uber

Uber’s new privacy policy, which allows the company to access user data even when its app is not in use, has privacy advocates and some consumers squirming, and many asking, “Who really owns our data?” In this week’s Searchlight, assistant site editor Brian Holak explores consumers’ current expectations of privacy.

The robots are here — will we be automated out of our jobs? KPMG’s Cliff Justice predicts that approximately 110 million to 140 million knowledge workers jobs will be taken over by cognitive robotic automation systems over the next 10 years. From this month’s World BPO/ITO Forum’s Global Sourcing & Cloud Summit, editorial director Sue Troy lays out Cliff’s vision for this automated future.

Mobility consultant Bryan Barringer’s startup was finally taking off – so why were he and his colleagues experiencing a nagging feeling that they were missing the forest for the trees? In this SMB tip, Barringer digs into how your business can stay focused on your strategic vision.

We’ve got more videos from last month’s MIT Sloan CIO Symposium. First up, executive editor Linda Tucci Level 3 Communications chief marketing officer and former CIO Anthony Christie to talk about how his former IT training has helps him in his current role.

Then, head over to my video conversations on digital disruption with Peter Nichol, head of IT at Access Health CT, as well as CIO Leadership Awards finalist. In part one, Nichol talks about how he balances efficiency gains with innovation; in part two, he discusses how he partners with business peers and educates them on the value of IT.

On SearchCompliance, we roundup the top governance, risk and compliance news in recent weeks. This week, the theme is data security. Read about how the recently disclosed hack into the Office of Personal Management’s security clearance servers began a year ago, how a mobile app security flaw could have left up to billions of personal records vulnerable, and more.

That’s it for this week. Follow our @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance accounts for new stories throughout the week.

June 19, 2015  8:05 PM

Fine on AT&T marks a win for net neutrality; why C-level engagements are important

Brian Holak Brian Holak Profile: Brian Holak

AT&T got slapped with a $100 million fine from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after the mobile operator knowingly deceived its customers about its unlimited mobile data plans. Many are calling the FCC’s decision a victory for net neutrality. In this week’s Searchlight, Site Editor Fran Sales discusses the FCC’s fine and what it means for both net neutrality and CIOs.

A CIO’s engagement with his or her own peers can be critical not only to a CIO’s career, but also to the entire IT department, according to C-level executives at the recent MIT Sloan CIO Symposium. In this installment of Conference Notebook, hear from experts on why C-level relationships are so important.

More from the symposium: CIOs from State Street and DHL Express explore how digitization has changed the competitive landscape and how strategic partnerships are enabling innovation. Plus, CIOs discuss how they have digital disruption to thank for a boost in board acclaim for the CIO role, and how they should adapt to new business expectations.

Robotic process automation (RPA) is set to shake up business process outsourcing and IT outsourcing (BPO/ITO), according to expert Andy Wasser. In this Q&A, Wasser chats with Executive Editor Linda Tucci about RPA, its IT implications and how CIOs should respond.

Read our latest handbook to learn about the fate of the data center and get tips on how CIOs and IT executives can prepare for the data center of the future.

Could social media be the cure for better communication in medicine? Over on the Symmetry blog, Senior News Writer Nicole Laskowski details TrustNetMD’s mission to improve communication in medicine through social media.

How can you best take advantage of the growing “data as currency” movement? On SearchCompliance, expert Jeffery Ritter lists five steps to get the maximum value from digital assets. Also on SearchCompliance: is security no longer a major concern for the Internet of Things? Maybe not, according to a panel at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium.

Finally, does profiting from big data come at too much of a price to consumer privacy? Join SearchCIO’s #CIOChat Wednesday, June 24, at 3 p.m., to discuss how to balance data monetization and consumer privacy. See you there!

Please follow @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance for our new stories throughout the week.

June 16, 2015  7:37 PM

Could social media be the cure for better communication in medicine?

Nicole Laskowski Nicole Laskowski Profile: Nicole Laskowski

Richard Singerman, co-founder and chief innovation officer at TrustNetMD, is trying to solve a simple problem: How to improve communication in medicine.

“Evidence-based medicine is only practiced by clinicians about 50% of the time,” said Singerman, referencing a well-known study by the RAND Corp. “The other 50% of the time, you’re either getting too much care or not enough care.”

Singerman and his TrustNetMD team, along with partners the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, are building a collaboration platform to make research and resources easily accessible across the community, with a specific focus on providing evidence-based medicine resources to community health workers. The effort is funded by a $900,000 grant from the US. Department of Health and Human Services.

While attending the recent MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, Singerman sat down with me to talk about TrustNetMD and its focus on helping create a “learning health system.”

What is TrustNetMD?

Richard Singerman: TrustNetMD’s focus is on social learning, which is very simply combining organizational learning principles, the kind that Peter Senge founded out of MIT in his work on The Fifth Discipline, together with what I call social media or Web 2.0 technology. So how do you take the principles of how organizations can learn quickly and embed those principles and those workflows into modern, rapid, mobile, Web 2.0 platforms?

Why does healthcare need a collaboration platform like this?

Singerman: One of the things the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is striving to achieve in the next 10 years is a new culture of learning, what it calls a learning health system. So how do we not only make sure that clinicians and clinician extenders, like social workers and community healthcare workers, are leveraging the best knowledge today, but also how are the results and the application of that knowledge then working out? What’s the feedback loop?

How does TrustNetMD build the bridge between hospital doctors and nurses and at-home care takers?

Singerman: There are a lot of great resources for physicians — evidence-based medicine practices and guidelines that have come from research. And then different medical societies take the research results and put them into practical guidelines for clinicians to follow.

But beyond clinicians, there are folks like community healthcare workers, who are really community-based folks quite often employed by clinics or hospitals and very familiar with the community. That’s their background; that’s their focus; that’s their strength. Similar resources have not been created for them. And yet they are spoken about in the Affordable Care Act. There are over 150,000 of them in the U.S., and they don’t have resources.

Beyond them, there’s a whole class of family caregivers — that person in a family who takes care of a sick loved one, who is basically like a community healthcare worker that doesn’t get paid for what he or she does. The latest reports indicate there are 10 million of those folks, people like yours truly who, at one point, had a 5-year-old kid and a 90-year-old parent and were caring for both of them.

So how do you put resources in the hands of people who aren’t trained clinicians so that they act on those resources? We’re not talking about new procedures for cardiology; we’re talking about how to better inform a caregiver or a health worker to support a person who has come out of the hospital within those first 30 days? Because often within the first day or two there’s some confusion, and patients ends up back in the hospital when they didn’t need to. That adds extra cost to the healthcare system. It adds extra burden to patients.

We took the idea of combining evidence-based medicine resources and evidence-based practices — those things that are not necessarily medicine but activities that support wellness in the community. So things like setting up food services, transportation services, homeless services.

There is a lot of support that can happen outside of the walls of the traditional healthcare system if there are folks like social workers, community healthcare workers, family caregivers who are empowered. The beautiful thing about Web 2.0 and mobile technologies is that we can take and aggregate a bunch of different medical articles and put them in one place in a social wrapper. Separately, we can aggregate local community social services, and can put those services together and tag them with the same kind of lexicon for human services.

We’re not talking about hundreds of thousands of medical services. We’re talking about, again, food services, transportation, housing. This blocking and tackling is really a big deal.

What’s wrong with the current system that this isn’t happening today?

Singerman: One of the big problems is that the rate of knowledge that’s increasing in healthcare is much faster than the rate at which we can learn. What the average doc may need to learn in a year is produced in a day. So that’s one — the rate of scientific knowledge.

Two, because of the changes in the way healthcare is being delivered, because of the changes in the care processes that are occurring in response to changes in financial incentives, in Obamacare, the care models are changing. Particularly, we’re going from a pay-per-volume, where docs get paid based on how much they do, independent of the results, to a pay-per-value model, where docs ideally get compensated based on what they produce as an end result (more well patients, hopefully).

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: