When It Comes To Data Mining – Is The CIO In Charge?

Data mining is complicated and so the CIO has to be involved
Data mining is complicated and so the CIO has to be involved
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With all of this talk about cloud computing, it can be easy to forget about yesterday’s hot topic: data mining. However, it turns out that cloud computing just makes doing data mining a whole lot easier. This means that data mining is reminding the company about the importance of information technology and is staging a comeback. The person with the CIO job is going to have to start to allocate time to deal with this. How about if we take a look at where things currently stand?

Why Bother Doing Data Mining?

As with most things in business, the motivation for spending time doing data mining comes down to money. There are two different reasons that companies give for mining their data. According to the IBM Institute for Business Value 2013 Big Data & Analytics Study 70% of firms who were doing data mining were doing it in order to boost their revenues. The other 30% stated that they were doing it in order to cut costs.

Data mining does not come free or cheap. It takes time, energy, and a great deal of human labor to collect and process all of that data. In the report, 60% of the companies that were doing data mining reported that they saw a return on their investment in data mining within the first year. However, all was not perfect even at these firms.

What appears to be lacking is any sort of guidance or leadership from the top of the company. This lack of top-down guidance prevents the different departments that are involved from fully trusting each other. This coupled with a lack of staff with the required unique skills that data mining requires can cause a company’s data mining efforts to stall.

Who’s In Charge Of A Company’s Data Mining Work?

Any data mining effort can be a large undertaking for a company. In order for it to work out, a strong leader needs to be in charge of the company’s big data efforts. A significant problem is that exactly who that person is seems to differ from company to company.

The CIO has been identified as leading the company’s data mining efforts at only 15% of the companies surveyed. 14% of the efforts were being led by the CEO and 8% were being led by the CFO. This may explain why so many companies are having difficulties getting their various departments to work together.

Every company has to make their own decision about who within the firm will be working on the data mining project. At 14% of the firms, data mining experts were shared between departments. At 22% of the firms the IT department was solely responsible for all things related to data mining. In 30% of the firms each separate business unit was responsible for doing its own data mining. Finally, at 34% of the firms, a separate specialized analytics unit had been created to only do data mining.

What Does All Of This Mean For You?

In order for a company to determine how it should best spend its time, it needs to take a look at what its current customers are trying to tell it. The best way to go about doing this is to mine the enormous amount of customer, product, and market data that every company collects.

Data mining is a complex and complicated task. Companies are motivated to do data mining because they believe that it will have a positive impact on their revenues. The person in the CIO position has to be deeply involved in this process. Since it turns out that only 15% of CIOs are leading the big data charge, clearly many CIOs still need to wake up to their new responsibility.

Data mining is clearly an IT task that will have an impact for the entire company. CIOs are the executive who is best suited to understand what the company wants to accomplish and to know how to make it happen. Take the time to talk with the rest of the company’s executive team and then get busy – your data is waiting to be mined!

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

Question For You: If the CIO is not in charge of the company’s big data efforts, do you think that he or she should try to take control of it?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

The IT department over at the Nasdaq stock exchange had a rough year in 2013. Their exchange, which is used by thousands of traders every day, suffered two debilitating outages. I can understand one outage, things happen. But two? Where was the CIO?