What’s The Right Way For CIOs To Think About The Cloud?

Now that cloud computing has arrived, what should a CIO do?
Now that cloud computing has arrived, what should a CIO do?
Image Credit: Pam Broviak

As the person with the CIO job, you now live in a world that is filled with lots and lots of real-time data. It comes from your customers, your manufacturing, your partners, and, of course, your company’s web site. Having access to this much data via the arrival of cloud computing is great news. However, now it’s going to be your responsibility, because of the importance of information technology, to determine what to do with it and how to gain knowledge from all of it.

What Big Data Will Teach Us

It’s just a little bit too easy to get caught up in the “newness” of big data. However, as CIO what we need to understand is that the data is just not all that valuable to us. It’s the knowledge that we can derive from that data that will be valuable to our company.

One of the things that we need to realize is that since the era of big data has arrived, many of the things that we used to believe just based on gut feel may be wrong. A case in point is the value of running an efficient business and offering our customers the lowest price. Yes, these things are important, but they may not be as important as we used to think that they were.

What big data can teach us is that having a responsive company – one that can change and adapt to changing market conditions is actually more valuable than being able to become even more efficient. The market is littered with companies that won awards and did a great job in becoming more efficient only to end up going out of business. Having the ability to adapt to changes in your market is more profitable and more valuable.

It’s All About The Little Things

So what is the real value of the cloud and the big data that lives there? I must confess that when I first encounter big data, I thought that it was going to hold the answers to all of my “big” questions. Should we be making this product? Should we move into that new market? However, the reality is that outside of some magazine articles, big data generally does not provide answers to questions like this.

Instead, what big data can do is provide answers to a lot of much smaller questions. You can use all of that data that you’ve collected to identify ways to make your company even more valuable to its customers. This will include such things as making your products and services easier to order, easier to pay for, and perhaps even easier to both budget and plan for.

Ultimately what the arrival of cloud computing and big data can do is to finally provide you with a way to transform the company from a vendor into a true partner for your customers. The way that this will happen will be when you take the time to analyze the data that you have and you discover how you can start to offer your customers what they really want. Your company’s secret to long term financial success will be the ability to customize your offering to meet each customer’s needs.

What All Of This Means For You

The era of big data has arrived. Those of us in the CIO position now need to come to grips with what the rest of the company is going to be expecting us to do with all of this data. What they need us to do is to turn it into knowledge.

As we start to process the various data streams that we now have available to us, we’re going to make some important breakthroughs. What we’re going to discover is that what used to work for our company, being more efficient and offering products at lower prices, may no longer be what our customers want from us. Likewise, our analysis of the data that we have available to us needs to reveal the collection of specific things that we can do to become our customer’s most valuable supplier.

No, collecting, processing, and analyzing all of the various data streams that are now available to us is not going to be an easy task. However, it does hold the promise of great rewards. What we need to do is to pick though this data and locate those nuggets of information that can help our company become more competitive in a changing world. Big data is here, let’s meet it head on!

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

Question For You: How will you know when you’ve identified all of the things that you can learn from your big data?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

p>So here’s a question for you: based on the importance of information technology, what is IT’s role in your company? If you are like most people with the CIO job, your answer will consist of you listing a number of different things that the IT department does for the company: keeps its servers up, installs new applications, protects the network, etc. However, there’s something wrong with that answer: you’ve just listed a bunch of services. That’s not what an IT department should be limited to doing. Instead, you should be a true business partner to the rest of the business. The secret is in how you get from here to there.