What Is The Real Value Of Expert’s Predictions?

by drjim on October 25, 2017

CIOs need to evaluate the value of the predictions that they are getting

CIOs need to evaluate the value of the predictions that they are getting
Image Credit: kathyturner1

When you talk to the person with the CIO job and ask them what magic power they would like to have, right after the ability to fly you’ll more often than not hear that they’d like to be able to predict the future. The ability to peer into the future and know today what’s going to happen then would be a great skill to have – too bad none of us actually have it. Because of our lack of this magical power, we instead rely on experts to use their knowledge to make predictions about what is going to happen in the future. However, just how good are those predictions?

The Problems With Predictions

Having a good understanding of what is going to be happening in the future is a critical need for CIOs. The importance of information technology means that we need to be able to prepare for the changes that are going to be coming our way eventually. Currently the way that we go about doing this is to rely on consultants, experts, and even polls to provide us with a snapshot of what the future may look like. We use all of this information that we’ve been able to gather in order to make the best possible business decisions.

However, lately this just has not been working out the way that we need it to. Examples of this include England’s Brexit decision and Donald Trump’s rise. The experts missed these events by a wide mark. The poor or incorrect information that CIOs have been receiving has not gone unnoticed by CIOs. Now that they realize that their traditional sources of information are no longer able to paint a clear view of the future, CIOs are going to have to make some changes.

Uncertainty has always been a part of what is involved in leading an IT department. However, recent events and the failure of the experts to see what was coming have caused people in the CIO position to start to doubt the forecast data that they have been getting. What this means to CIOs is that they may need to start to rethink just how much they are going to be willing to pay firms like International Data Group (IDG) and Gartner for their predictions.

What To Do When Predictions Don’t Work For You

Although the traditional methods of getting smart people to tell you what is going to happen in the future may no long be working, as a CIO you still have a need to be able to know what to expect. This means that you are going to have to take the time to evaluate alternative ways to get a good picture of what the future holds.

One innovative approach that some CIOs are taking is to tap their own staff and their customers in order to find out what is really going on. These groups can be excellent indicators of both local politics and financial changes that may affect how the company’s IT department does business. In addition, CIOs may want to start to turn to other industry CIOs in order to get their predictions about what the future may hold.

This may be the time for CIOs to start to spend time looking backwards. We can take the time to compare forecasts that were provided to us with what really ended up happening. This will allow you to calculate a margin of error based on the forecasts that you have been using. Once you have this value, you can start to apply it to the new forecasts that will be coming your way. This may mean that you end up investing less in your IT infrastructure despite having forecasts that say that the company will be rapidly growing.

What All Of This Means For You

In order to be a successful CIO, you need to be known as the person who makes good decisions. What this often means is that you have to have the ability to see into the future and start to take action today to deal with what will be happening tomorrow.

The traditional way that CIOs have been doing this has been to consult with smart people such as consultants and experts. However, recently these experts have not been doing such a good job of accurately predicting the future. What this means is that CIOs are being forced to find other ways to predict the future. Once such way is to tap your employees and your customers in order to get their feel for what is going on and what will be happening. Another way is to go back over the forecasts that you’ve been given and calculate how accurate they were. Once you know this, you’ll know how to interpret any forecasts that you’ll be given in the future.

Nobody said that being CIO was going to be easy and this future prediction stuff just goes to show how hard it can be. Since it appears as though the old way of forecasting the future no longer works, CIOs are going to have to get creative. Use the resources that are available to you and find out if you are able to see what’s coming any better than everyone else.

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

Question For You: How much time do you think that a CIO should put into trying to determine what will be happening in the future?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As CIOs we spend a great deal of our time attempting to secure the company’s networks from the bad guys because we understand the importance of information technology. This activity takes on a whole host of different forms: firewalls, end user training, security sweeps, etc. However, sometimes despite our best efforts the bad guys make it over the wall and are able to break into our systems. We may discover this in a number of different ways: log files of network activity, files that have been tampered with, missing or deleted data, etc. A critical question that every person with the CIO job needs to find an answer to is when this happens, who do we have to tell?

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