More data is always better, but what if it's personal data?

More data is always better, but what if it’s personal data?
Image Credit: Timo Newton-Syms Follow

As the person with the CIO job, you are the one who is responsible for managing all of the data that the company collects. We are all pretty used to what this means. We set up databases, we create backup programs, and we create processes for acquiring, cleaning, storing, and eventually discarding data because we understand the importance of information technology. However, things are changing. With the arrival of electronic products like Fitbits and Apple watches, your employees now have the ability to collect and report a great deal of data on their daily activities. How should a CIO deal with these new very personal data streams?

The Power Of Personal Data Streams

The arrival of new devices that employees wear throughout the day and which track their every movement represent a powerful new tool for employers. When employees are wearing these devices, they are constantly collecting information about where they are, what they are doing, and the physical status of the employee (pulse, heartrate, speed, etc.). From an employer point-of-view this offers new ways to measure employee productivity and ensure that safety policies are being met. Additionally, insurers will now be able to track employee’s key health indicators and their daily habits.

For firms, the ability to track where employees are at any given time and the ability to measure productivity can be valuable tools. Firms realize that they won’t be well served if their employees are overworked, stressed out, or anxious. One of the biggest problems with these conditions is that all too often, the employee doesn’t even realize that they are suffering from the condition.

In the world of sports, things have evolved so quickly that these days athletes don’t even think twice about wearing measuring devices that are built into their jerseys or helmets. These are there so that the force of impacts can be measured in ways that have never been possible to do before. Everyone agrees that in such situations, getting and using more personal information can be a good thing.

The Danger Of Personal Data Streams

Where things can get a bit tricky for the person in the CIO position is when you start to realize the truly personal nature of the data that is being collected. The company is going to have to have to create a social contract between themselves and their employees that deals with this data. The company is going to have to have a culture of trust and accountability. They are also going to have to make sure that the data that they have collected is made visible for all to see.

One key point that CIOs need to be aware of is that the personal data that is being collected may not be all that accurate. These devices are made to be inexpensive and because of that there may be serious questions about the apps that are being used to power these devices. There are serious privacy concerns about making decisions about workers based on their personal data. However, these concerns become much larger when you realize that the decisions may be made based on bad data.

Wearables can provide a great deal of value to employees. They can monitor such things as radiation, particulate matter in the air, and accidents. However, in order for employees to feel comfortable sharing their personal data with their employer, there is going to have to be an environment of transparency and reasonableness. Employers are going to have to find ways to be transparent with their employees regarding the data that they are collecting on them. At the same time, what the employer does with this data is going to have to be agreed to with the employee in order to ensure that everything is reasonable.

What All Of This Means For You

CIOs are starting to live in a brave new world. We’ve always been dealing with large quantities of corporate data and we know how to do this. However, in this brave new world, employees will be wearing wearable devices that have the ability to report on their whereabouts and what they are doing at any given time. This data may be valuable; however, it comes with a lot of personal privacy concerns.

There is a great deal of power associated with these new data streams of personal information. Productivity can now be effectively measured. Even if an employee does not realize that they are suffering from a given condition, their monitoring gear may reveal this to be true. In other areas, such as sports, there is no longer any question that wearables can provide real value. The company and its employees are going to have to create an environment of trust and accountability if they want to be able to share data. The data that is being collected may not be all that accurate. This is why employers will need to be transparent with their employees regarding what they will be doing with the collected personal data.

We can’t turn the hands of time back. The ability to collect a great deal of personal information about the workplace habits of our employees has now arrived. CIOs are going to have to take a very careful look at these new data streams and determine how best to use them. Their solution will need to work for both the company and the workers.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that employees should be able to opt out of sharing their personal activity with the company?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Successful CIO Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Successful CIO Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

The person with the CIO job, you, is the person who is responsible for securing the company against attacks from outside. We all know that try as we might, we’re not going to be able to prevent the bad guys from trying to break into our networks. However, given that we know that they will be coming our way, what kind of obligation do you think that we have to tell the world when the bad guys do come knocking on our door? We can keep quiet about it, or we can tell everyone. What’s the best thing to do?

{ 0 comments }

CIOs Need To Learn How To Become Futurists

by drjim on June 13, 2018

Futurist keep their eyes fixed on what may be coming our way

Futurist keep their eyes fixed on what may be coming our way
Image Credit:
ADiamondFellFromTheSky

I’ve got a quick question for you: how good is your ability to predict the future? If your skill in this area is anything like mine, you find yourself being constantly surprised by things that you simply didn’t see coming. As the person with the CIO job, you really can’t allow this to happen to you. Because of the importance of information technology, the consequences of something happening that you are not prepared for are just too great. What this means is that knowing what will happen in the future just got a whole lot more important for you. Now how are you going to find out what you need to know?

Just Exactly What Does A Futurist Do?

Being in the CIO position, one of the many jobs that you have is to always be prepared for what might happen next. This is where a futurist can help you out. Futurists can generally be found at larger companies who find themselves having to make decisions that might not turn into either policy or products until sometime in the future.

What a futurist actually does is fairly simple. A futurist is responsible for helping a group of people work through a process. This process is highly structured and can potentially last for several months. The goal of the process is to try to come up with as many hypothetical views of the future as the team can. The goal of doing this is to help the company try to prepare for just about anything that could happen.

Many larger firms employ people whose sole job is to be a futurist. There are dozens of universities who offer a discipline in futurism. As we live in a dynamic world with lots of things changing all around us, the need to have futurists helping CIOs to take a look into all of the possible futures that we may encounter appears to be more important than ever.

How Can A CIO Become A Futurist?

When a CIO wants to practice the art of being a futurist, they need to skip starting with technology. Instead, the right place to start is with all of the other factors that are going to be driving technology. These can include things that are as diverse as wealth distribution, demography, politics, and education. In order to be a successful futurist, a CIO has to take a step back once you’ve created your assumptions about what the future might hold and then proceed to tear apart your ideas.

What makes the art of being a futurist appealing to CIOs is how it’s done. Good futurists try very hard to make the work that they do very quantifiable. Futurists can turn to computers in order to determine what differences in the future might make to the decisions that they are making today. What CIOs need to keep in mind is what futurists don’t do. They don’t try to predict the future.

The reason that futurists don’t try to predict the future is simple. The future is built on a number of different things happening. If even one of those things does or does not happen, then the entire future could be changed. There is no good way to go about predicting the next war, crises, or technological break-through. What a futurist can help a CIO and a company do is to develop a form of mental flexibility. They can help us to spend the time to think through trends that are happening today that we might have missed.

What All Of This Means For You

As CIO, the company is counting on you to be ready for just about anything that might happen. What this means for you is that you need to develop the ability to see into the future. Now, none of us really have the ability to do this with any accuracy so we need to find a way that will help us to do this as best we can. It turns out that there are people who are called futurists who just might be able to provide us with the insights that we’re looking for.

What a futurist does is to help lead a group of people through a structured process that can be quite lengthy. The goal of this process is to attempt to create as many hypothetical views of the future as possible. The thinking is that if you can see the possible futures now, then you can start to take steps to prepare for the future, no matter which version eventually shows up. Futurists start their process by taking a look at all of the factors that can influence the future. They often use computers to determine how today’s actions can affect future events. Futurists attempt to determine what the future may hold, but they don’t try to predict the future.

The responsibility for always being ready for anything that might happen is a big burden for a CIO to have to carry. Thankfully there are futurists who can help us to peer into the future and see the various things that might happen. With this knowledge about the future, we can go ahead and make better decisions today.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: How often do you think that a CIO should work with a futurist in order to try to determine what’s ahead in the future?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Successful CIO Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Successful CIO Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

If there is one task that we have to do a good job at as the person with the CIO job, it’s bringing new people onboard. Sure, we can do a good job of recruiting and we can land the best and the brightest new talent, but if we don’t do a good job of bringing them in and introducing them to the company than how long do you think that they are going to hang around? Replacing workers is costly and time consuming. As CIOs, perhaps what we should do is to spend some time taking a look at how Alibaba brings its new workers onboard.

As the person with the CIO job, you are the one who is responsible for managing all of the data that the company collects. We are all pretty used to what this means. We set up databases, we create backup programs, and we create processes for acquiring, cleaning, storing, and eventually discarding data because we understand the importance of information technology. However, things are changing. With the arrival of electronic products like Fitbits and Apple watches, your employees now have the ability to collect and report a great deal of data on their daily activities. How should a CIO deal with these new very personal data streams?

{ 0 comments }

What The World Of High Speed Trading Can Teach CIOs

June 6, 2018

At most firms, the person with the CIO job plays a supporting role to the rest of the company. The company makes its blue widgets and the CIO is responsible for creating and maintaining all of the systems that allow blue widgets to be manufactured and sold. However, there are some businesses in which the […]

Read the full article →

An Outage In An Exchange Causes CIO Problems

May 23, 2018

When outsiders think about what a CIO does, they often think that we spend our days sitting around thinking about all of the cool new technology that is coming our way: cloud computing, artificial intelligence, big data, etc. However, what they all too often don’t realize is that the person with the CIO job is […]

Read the full article →

CIOs Struggle To Keep Their Airlines In The Air

May 16, 2018

When we think about the person who has the CIO job, we think of someone who spends their time thinking about the importance of information technology including such things as cloud computing, building new data centers, and the arrival of the internet of things. However, when it comes to airlines, their CIOs are spending their […]

Read the full article →

Why CIOs Should Stop Putting Employees In Boxes

May 9, 2018

As the person with the CIO job, you by necessity meet a lot of people. Many of these people work for you and so it’s important that you remember who they are. Just because it’s important does not make this any easier to do. We have all developed a coping mechanism for dealing with this […]

Read the full article →

4 Reasons a Professional Website is a Vital Part of Any Business

May 2, 2018

Websites can be a vital tool for reaching your customers online. Not only do websites show customers what your business has to offer, they also create a place for you to communicate directly with customers and present your brand image. Out of date websites, websites that don’t have enough work put into them, or no […]

Read the full article →

A New Era Of Technology Is Arriving: Will CIOs Be Ready?

May 2, 2018

It can be all too easy for the person with the CIO job to spend their time sitting around thinking about the future. We all know about things like big data, cloud computing, etc. These are new and novel things now, we assume that in the future they will be more run-of-the-mill. However, that’s off […]

Read the full article →

How Can CIOs Remove The Bias From How They Hire?

April 25, 2018

Just in case you have somehow not gotten the message, if you want to build the best IT department that will be able to share the importance of information technology with the rest of the company, you are going to want to make it as diverse as you possibly can. Having all of those people […]

Read the full article →

What CIOs Need To Do About The Disengaged Worker Problem

April 18, 2018

As the person with the CIO job, it’s your responsibility to put in place systems that will allow the company to use the importance of information technology to get the most out of each and every IT employee. This sounds like a fairly classical management responsibility. However, in a recent poll by the research firm […]

Read the full article →