Top 3 CIO priorities for addressing today’s data deluge

Overview of current landscape

Increased use of digital technology is producing massive amounts of data from cloud, mobile, IoT, social media, and more. Because of this deluge, many companies are simply streaming data into “lakes” – a holding ground for native data they haven’t had time to processes, and that is often unmanaged.

Data that is of unknown origin, quality and context is untrustworthy for use in initiatives to increase revenues, decrease costs, and manage risk. In fact, rather than being a strategic corporate asset it becomes a business liability.

Challenges CIOs are facing

As companies strive to implement digital transformation initiatives, the need for enterprise information management is growing.

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With greater amounts of data comes larger challenges in understanding the lineage, quality and relationships between data from multiple sources and of different types. And CIOs arguably struggle more than ever to effectively manage and analyse data to make it actionable.

At one company the hype about machine learning had executives excited about using proprietary algorithms to gain competitive advantage. A data scientist was hired and told there are years’ worth data stored in Amazon S3, and was tasked with figuring out how to drive innovation with it.

Unfortunately, there was no metadata to show where the data came from and how the data lake integrated with the rest of the company’s data. There was also no infrastructure for data analysis, forcing the data scientist to try to find tools compatible with the technology stack and install them. The lack of architectural design and an information strategy resulted in the project not delivering business results.

How to combat the challenges

CIOs must take charge of the information strategy and architecture in their company to fuel business innovation.

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1. Reinvest in enterprise architecture with a perspective that encompasses security, data, integration, process and analytics. Without a solid information architecture just understanding where data came from will be a challenge, and using it to enable better business outcomes will be nearly impossible.

2. Implement a data governance program with a focus on driving business value not just regulatory compliance. Standardisation of terminology, policies, and rules with clear linkage to business processes and outcomes will help CIOs prioritise data management investments based on business value and secure greater executive support.

3. Empower business people with tools that give them the freedom to discover, prepare, analyse and share information through self-service capabilities. This is the best way to enable business agility, speed value realisation and make business people accountable for their data.

Addressing today’s data deluge will require CIOs to take charge of the information strategy and architecture in their company.

By reinvesting in enterprise architecture, implementing a data governance program and empowering business user self-service they can help fulfil the potential of data to be a strategic corporate asset. With information easily accessed, analysed, and shared for evolving enterprise needs, companies can run live and run simple.

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For example, Nippon Paint China developed an information strategy to help the company anticipate market trends, support designers, and deliver products that more accurately match client needs.

They then architected and end-to-end platform to combine and analyse structured data in transactional applications, with semi-structured web log data, and unstructured social media data stored in Apache Hadoop.

Employees now have unprecedented insights into web site visits, retention rates, and advertisement effectiveness – to name just a few examples. These insights are then used to drive real-time improvements in e-commerce customer engagement, satisfaction and revenue.


Sourced by Philip On, VP product marketing at SAP


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...