You’ve Got The Data, Now What CIO?

by drjim on March 20, 2013

Just collecting data isn't enough, now you need to know what to do with it

Just collecting data isn’t enough, now you need to know what to do with it
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As CIO, a big part of your job is to help your company realize the importance of information technology and, based on this, help them to both collect and store data. Once you have it, you need to scrub it, maintain it, and protect it. However, has anyone every told you how to do the most important thing with it – use it?

Welcome To The World Of Business Analytics

We’re all probably aware of the global meltdown that affected almost every business starting back in 2008. However, what we may not realize is that every business out there should have seen what was coming long before it hit. Your company collected enough data that all of the warning flags were already in your database before bad things started happening to the company.

Just looking at the data that you’ve collected is not going to be enough for you to uncover what is going on. Instead, that data is going to have to be processed by business analytics tools so that you can uncover what the data is really trying to tell you.

The smart folks over at the technology research firm Gartner have helped us out here by defining just exactly what analytics is. They say that it’s embedded in technology (this makes it different from all of that offline analysis that we all do using tools like Excel). They say that analytics is forward-looking instead of backward-looking and that its data is drawn from increasingly diverse sources of information that is unstructured, not the plain old databases that we are so used to using.

If this isn’t enough to get you excited, then perhaps this will. Gartner has identified business analytics as being one of their top 10 strategic technologies for the next few years. It is believed that for every dollar that a company invests in developing its analytics capabilities, they’ll see a $10.66 return on that investment.

What Is A CIO Supposed To Do With All Of That Data?

You can have the best collection of data and you can have the best Business Intelligence (BI) tools, but it’s not going to do a lot of good for you if you don’t use what you have. Likewise, if your company is just collecting a lot of data and they have not deployed any analytics tools then they are missing out on an important opportunity.

The smart people at the research firm IDC have done a study on just how much data companies are collecting. What they have found is that the data that is being collected and stored by each company is currently doubling every two years.

This data is coming from a number of different sources and as part of your CIO job you need to be able to implement a solution that will allow you to handle all of them. Among the types of data sources that your company’s analytics solution needs to be able to process includes the Internet, blogs, tweets, “likes”, and even video and audio. Just to make things a bit more challenging, much of this new data is unstructured so you’ll have to hunt for the pieces that matter the most to you.

The key takeaway from all of this talk of adding an analytics solution to your company’s set of IT tools is that you must not start with the data. Instead, you need to ask yourself what the company really should be doing and what it needs to know in order to do this. Once this is known, then you can uncover the data that you’ll need and apply the analytics to get the answers that you are looking for.

What All Of This Means For You

In the past few years, CIOs have helped their companies to become very good at collecting, storing, and securing data. However, just having the data is no longer enough – CIOs have to be able to show their companies how to make use of the data that they have.

Analytics is defined as being embedded technology that allows the company to be forward looking. In order to do this, unstructured data from a wide variety of sources such as the Internet and social media sites has to be collected and processed.
The key is for you to use the CIO position to understand what types of questions the company is trying to answer and then apply both the correct data and the correct analytics tools in order to uncover those answers.

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

Question For You: Do you think that there should be a special part of the IT department that is dedicated to analytics?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — these social media tools seem to be occupying the news every day. If anyone had any doubts about the importance of information technology, the arrival of social media has changed that. If you want to hold on to your CIO job for a very short time, feel free to ignore them and tell people that you think that they’ll eventually go away – because they won’t. Instead, do the right thing and figure out how your company can get the most out of today’s social media tools without screwing things up.

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