Gartner research vice president Paul DeBeasi kicked off its annual Gartner Catalyst conference this week with a subversive idea: that while the technology foundation of “mobile and cloud-first, predictive and self-conductive” remains crucial, organizations are also going to need a personality makeover. From the show in San Diego, new SearchCIO features writer Jason Sparapani outlined the three “personas” today’s IT leaders need to lead in their organizations. Also from Catalyst, senior news writer Nicole Laskowski attended a session on lessons learned from seven big data failures.
In his Searchlight column, assistant site editor Brian Holak delved into the big news that’s been dominating headlines this week: Google’s self-restructuring into a collection of companies, separating its core business from its innovative ventures, which will all live collectively under parent company Alphabet. Learn why this reshuffling is good for the company’s stocks, and how Google’s innovation-first approach could serve as an example to CIOs and IT leaders.
With digital disruptors such as Airbnb and Uber continuously inventing new ways to deliver products and services, traditional businesses can’t afford to stay behind; they need digital leaders to help them tackle these digital threats. In this two-part feature, Laskowski profiled how five IT leaders — in companies as varied as CVS Health, Staples, Houghton Mifflin and more — are turning their companies into industry disruptors.
The threats to information security, as well as the tools and techniques to combat them, are continuously evolving — yet one risk remains constant: human behavior. In his tip, CTO and columnist Niel Nickolaisen runs down three security processes organizations and CIOs can put into action to mitigate human error.
Gone is business process management (BPM) of yore. Before the rise of digital business, BPM focused on back-office operations; now, CIOs need to use BPM to support customer-facing processes. In part one of this webcast, ITIL expert Ken Lewis discusses how the three “value disciplines” that focus on customer engagement relate to BPM and how companies can prioritize the operational efficiency model. In part two, discover the key features of businesses that prioritize product leadership above other value disciplines. And in part three, learn about customer intimacy.
Technology — from cloud to BYOD to Web apps — continues to evolve, and unfortunately so do the threats. As evidenced by the biggest breaches in recent years, hackers continue to be most drawn to the data that is ballooning because of these technologies. In this tip, cybersecurity expert Jeff Jenkins outlines some IT security best practices for companies to be able to tackle this evolving threat landscape.
Regulation Systems Compliance and Integrity (Regulation SCI) was adopted by the SEC in an attempt to reduce the frequency of disruptions that have recently plagued the IT infrastructure of the securities market. In preparation for the November 2015 compliance date, we’ve created a downloadable infographic timeline of the regulation, including pivotal milestones, key facts, perspectives and more.
On the Total CIO blog…
There are many factors to consider when undergoing a digital transformation: Having a platform to support that transformation is one of them. Senior news writer Nicole Laskowski sat down with MIT’s Jeanne Ross to discuss why building a technology platform is becoming key to digital transformation and disruption.
What is the CIO’s role in regulating cloud computing? The latest issue of our CIO Decisions e-zine explores why taking inventory of cloud app usage is more important than taking back control. Also in this issue, we take a look at how Hardee’s uses an algorithm to sell more food, how big-name companies use partnerships to drive digital projects and how private equity deals offer midmarket CIOs a profitable new career path.
Miss anything from this year’s MIT Sloan CIO Symposium? Don’t worry — we’ve rounded up all of SearchCIO’s coverage from the conference in one essential guide, including panel recaps, video interviews and thoughtful discussions on this year’s theme of digital disruption.
On the IT Compliance Advisor blog, Sales runs down the latest GRC news, including the U.S. Justice Department’s hiring of a compliance counsel to examine corruption charges and the details of Mead Johnson’s $12 million bribery settlement.
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.
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 recent 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:
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.