You may be the smartest candidate for the job, but sometimes it’s all about social connections. This holds true in the Bing versus Google battle for search supremacy. Despite having what may be the smartest computer learning system in the world, the Microsoft-owned search engine lags far behind Google. Why? It’s all about the massive amount of personal information
Big Brother Google captures about users.
If CIOs don’t think they have to compete for the business of internal customers, chances are they’ve already lost them. Check out these expert tips on keeping IT competitive and relevant to the business. While you’re at it, read why we think this just might be the new CIO benchmark.
What’s a little privacy when there’s money to be saved on diapers and coffee? In a quest to create competitive advantage supermarket chains put big data analytics into action by offering customers individualized pricing based on their shopping habits.
Instagram: It’s not just for shoe-gazing hipsters anymore. Increasingly, big-name companies like Starbucks, GE and Nike are leveraging the popular photo app to gather customer data.
Finally, in case you missed it, check out this week’s installment of CIO Matters in which news director Linda Tucci makes a case for the CIO’s need to know just how “green” cloud computing really is and why it matters to us all.]]>
This company turned heads this week by making some of its own e-books available to other retailers.
Give employees a little of this — à la Aretha Franklin — if you you want them to excel at social CRM.
Read on for the correct questions to these answers and more. Enjoy!
Of the sessions I was able to attend, the boldest one was the MIT academic panel, followed by an after lunch free-for-all on big data and analytics that was anything but a siesta. (Look for a piece soon on why CIOs might want to run away from big data.) The three MIT academicians who gave their take on the untethered enterprise are professors, but not exactly of the Mr. Chips variety — beacons of calm in the midst of unimaginable change. They were more like bomb -throwers, invoking all the forces — consumerization of IT, cloud, crowdsourcing, social networking, the voice of the customer, — that are blowing up the enterprise as we know it. In this brave new enterprise, agility trumps strategy and resilience trumps strength. Today, customers should be serving the company (think Facebook’s 800 million users generating content).
I was entranced. As I wrote in my CIO Matters column this week, however, I was also leery of — OK, confused by — how all this will impact the CIO’s role. There was some talk about how pruning and curating will be important as companies try out new things willy willy-nilly, so maybe the CIO role will be defined as master gardener. One of the profs mentioned a childhood friend now at eBay who does nothing but figure out the “checks and balances” between buyers and sellers. So maybe the CIO’s role will be akin to Founding Father. As someone who has done my fair share of time in the kitchen, I would only urge CIOs that the one metaphor you don’t want to embrace in this latest computing revolution is doing the dishes. Check out the column and you’ll understand.]]>
The figures are based on responses from IT executives and technology decision makers at 3,752 enterprise and SMB firms surveyed by Forrester from October to December 2011.
There are other signs that mobile is where CIO minds are at these days. Despite the ongoing hype around cloud, spending on cloud-based services like SaaS, Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) accounts for less than 5% of IT budgets. Full-time IT staff continues to take the biggest chunk of IT budgets (27%).
The report notes that the increased spending on mobile software and hardware is not just about the money. Mobile computing and consumerism signal a major shift away from IT departments as the commanders-in-chief of technology to the rising role employees play in tech decisions. According to the report, 23% of the IT leaders polled said their business groups wanted to be more involved in IT decisions about technology in 2011, compared with just 6% who saw a decrease in business involvement.
Frankly, based on our reporting on mobility and the consumerization of IT over the past two years, that 23% seems low. CIOs like Rick Roy, just to name but one of the mobile pioneers profiled in our CIO Innovator series, caught the shift early. His meticulously plotted strategy to mobilize CUNA Mutual Group included developing 18 different personas to pinpoint the mobile needs of the insurance company’s 4,000 employees.
What piques my interest lately is not mobile spending, although it is always useful to follow the money. (Or, for that matter, how employees are influencing tech decisions. Old news.) I want to know how CIOs are using their mobile dollars to transform business models at their companies — and in the process maybe even rendering the competition’s models obsolete.
Mobile computing is disrupting tried-and-true business models and centuries-old establishments. The seeds are being planted right now. The decision by Harvard and MIT to offer courses available to anyone who has a phone with an Internet connection is just one recent example. I’d like to hear how you think mobile spending is going to shake up your business. Let me know.]]>
Tuesday saw the long-awaited/speculated release of Google Drive, joining the world of such cloud storage service offerings as Dropbox and Microsoft’s SkyDrive. Google Drive offers 5 GB of free storage for documents, photos, videos and other data. Additional storage can be purchased for a monthly fee.
But simultaneously with the launch of Drive was the raising of red flags from companies questioning the privacy of data stored with Google. In a blog post about Google Drive, New York Times writer Quentin Hardy said the newspaper has already advised its employees not to use the service.
At issue is how customers’ information can be used. Critics were quick to note that Drive falls under Google’s much-scrutinized, all-encompassing terms-of-service agreement, which allows Google to view and use customer content for its own purposes. The most talked-about term in Google’s service agreement on blogs and in the news over the last couple of days is this one:
When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones.
But, as Nilay Patel, writer for website The Verge, points out in some detail, this doesn’t differ much from the terms of Google’s cloud storage service competitors. Its competitors just say it a little nicer. The bottom line, Patel rightly notes, is how comfortable you are with the inherent risks of putting your data into the cloud. Agreements are great, but accidents happen.
Google is always aiming for the enterprise, but experts speculate Drive will mostly appeal to SMBs and the single-consumer market. Still, for flag-wavers, this likely won’t lessen their concern. As IT execs well know, just because you didn’t buy it, doesn’t mean it won’t be used. Sure, there are plenty of cloud storage services out there, but the lure of Drive might be greater, based simply on name recognition. Maybe your users have Gmail or use GoogleDocs and won’t see the harm in trying to sync it all up in Drive. One would hope that most companies would have guidelines in place by now to stem the tide of this kind of shadow IT. And further, knowing these guidelines aren’t always adhered to, would have enough rapport with users that they know why the latest thing might not be the greatest thing for their company.
So, what do you think? Have you already put the brakes on Drive, or do you have a policy in place that (you hope) will prevent the adoption of rogue cloud storage? Is Drive being unfairly picked on just because it’s Google? I’d love to hear your take in the comments or in an email.]]>
Here are a few such comments that make it clear that when it comes to the CIO role, you need to be flexible and above all have a sense of humor.
“A board member called me and asked me to fix his iPad.”
A CIO at a financial services company, commenting on his relationship with the C-suite and board of directors during a session on building relationships with CEOs and board members at the recent Gartner CIO Leadership Forum in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“A business unit told us they were buying a SaaS application — not to worry about it, they would handle it. They then came back to us and said, ‘Can you please take over this relationship?’ They didn’t realize that the application had to be integrated with a lot of other systems.”
An unidentified CIO attending the Gartner CIO Leadership Forum, commenting on business’ attempts to bypass IT.
“Our users see that they can buy a tablet for around $100 and want to know why we charge them $100 a month to support the device we give them. I let them go out and buy the device they want, and then they figure out why we charge $100 a month to support the one they have.”
An operations manager at a large insurance company, on the consumerization of IT.
“The most challenging aspect of this project I would say was that the business didn’t really fathom just how much work went into it. Sometimes they just assume that we can make anything happen.”
CIO at a manufacturing company, on a major business transformation project led by IT.
“I wasn’t sure it was going to work, but I didn’t let the agencies know that. It did work, but I had a backup plan just in case.”
A county CIO on her first foray into desktop virtualization.
Let us know what you think about the story; email: Christina Torode, News Director]]>
Interestingly, in all this talk of movement (or non-movement) to the cloud, security didn’t always dominate the areas of concern. I’m not suggesting that worries over security are a thing of the past, but perhaps the comfort level in that area is growing a bit. Maybe there’s a slight warming to the idea that for cloud service providers, ensuring stringent security is paramount — the now-aging adage that “cloud service providers can do security better than you can.” One CIO I talked to just today definitely subscribes to this philosophy and is grateful for it. Trusting his cloud service provider with security, he said, frees up his limited staff for what he views as more pressing issues like data analysis.
What I did hear more about on the cautionary front was vendor lock-in. To be sure, it’s not a new worry. In fact, it was a topic of discussion a few months back at a meeting of the Mass Technology Leadership Council. I just found it interesting that this, in my admittedly limited sample size, stood out. It makes sense I suppose, that even as CIOs get more comfortable with the idea of going to the cloud, they have an out once they’re there. One CIO I talked to plans for this by including a “how locked in will I be?” section on his vendor scorecards during the contract bidding process. For as carefully as you may plan, not everything that goes to the cloud stays in the cloud. Needs change.
What about you? What have you entrusted to the cloud? Are security concerns holding you back, or do you worry about being stuck once you get there? Perhaps it’s both, maybe it’s something else entirely. I’d like to hear what’s on your mind in the comments.]]>
Just a few weeks ago, in this very spot, I was talking about the whole idea of a frictionless enterprise. Not my idea but that of many future-looking industry analysts, introduced to me by Forrester Research analyst Phil Murphy. He was talking about manufacturing, ERP and other business processes, but the general idea is the same: Where we’re headed is a world of hands-off, intuitive movement from one thing to the next.
The webinar focused on how personal cloud solutions are poised to be the next big disrupter in technology. How big? Analysts Carolina Milanesi and Michael Gartenberg predict that by 2015, consumers will spend upwards of $2 trillion annually on digital information, entertainment, products and services. Consumers no longer care so much about devices as about what those devices can do. At the core of the analysts’ thesis is that proposed personal cloud solutions will displace personal computers as the center of consumers’ digital lives. Their message seemed to be aimed at marketing, yes; but as we all know now, the CIO and chief marketing officer need to get cozy for businesses to succeed. From their millions of tablets to their billions of smartphones and laptops, consumers want a “frictionless” experience from one device to the next. You can’t save your best stuff for tablet users or laptop users, and expect smartphone users to be happy — mostly because they’re all the same customer.
Whether your company serves up games, insurance or personal banking, it doesn’t matter — customers expect you to meet them where they are in order to do business. And if meeting them means on their iPad or Android phone, the look and feel have to be the same every time, or they’ll get frustrated and start looking at other options — and there are plenty. The only way to really ensure they get your company’s message, the service they want and the most user-friendly experience possible is to have marketing and IT work together to make that happen.
In the Gartner webinar, Gartenberg offered a prediction that drives home the importance of being frictionless, of being with your consumer in the desired context:
“By 2015, context is going to be more influential to the mobile consumer services relationship than search engines are to the Web. The reason is very simple: In terms of context tied to these personal cloud services, I can not only deal with the consumer as a past thing in terms of history, [or] a present [thing] in terms of what they are doing. I can actually tap into things like intention, and influence their decisions going forward.”]]>