Today’s data-driven CIOs and the quest for true business intelligence

Mark BrownScott Schlesinger, IT Advisory Partner at EY, on the role of the CIO in getting businesses to adopt integrated data platforms

A little knowledge is, as they say, a dangerous thing. In business, the best decisions are the ones that are made on the basis of good data or information. Good data can help prevent poor business decisions being made on the basis of haphazard guesswork, and enable well-considered, truly informed and successful business decisions that improve overall performance. But, for a decision to be truly informed, we should include both historical data and current trends in the decision-making process.

However, businesses find it hard to access and leverage historical data, often because they have not taken sufficient steps to archive and catalog effectively the large amounts of data they have generated. In some cases, they might have acquired new companies and are suddenly burdened with historical data they have never worked with before. As a result, they are often left with just another data silo that is difficult to manage and process. This, in turn, sometimes forces companies to make poor business decisions at the last moment, using guesswork. Needless to say, this is not the best approach.

The integrated solution

Many businesses facing this problem are discovering that setting up an integrated data platform can create an environment that lets them effectively A properly designed, integrated data environment tied to an advanced analytics solution squeezes new insights out of a business’s currently untapped “exhaust” of data and closet of legacy data. At the same time, it can serve as a foundation for new, innovative business value. Naturally, as the business leader with a deep technological background, it will be up to the CIO to promote the integrated data platform to the rest of the C-suite.

If CIOs can convince their business unit leaders to implement integrated data platforms successfully, this solution can:

  1. Make both structured and unstructured data available and fully integrated to provide a 360 degree view of the customer
  2. Reduce the cost and streamline the process of storing cold data (archived) and warm data (not required for real-time or data that is accessed often) in economical yet responsive solutions, and still have it available for analytics
  3. Turn poor decisions, made on the basis of haphazard guesswork, into well-thought-out and successful results that improve operational efficiencies, drive revenue and provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace
  4. Drive significant bottom-line improvements through the automation of routine decisions
  5. Give organizations the ability to hold exponentially increasing amounts of new, mostly ad hoc, unstructured data sources, while providing the flexibility to adapt to a complex, ever-changing business and data environment

Data is a critical asset of any company and the success of every company lies in turning this data into insights upon which future plans can be molded. With the help of a properly prepared business data vision, backed up with leadership and support from the C-suite, the CIO can create the framework for an effective data management road map and a technology infrastructure that guide projects in the implementation to achieve their business objectives.

By adopting a blended approach that integrates legacy data with emerging big data and enabling analytics across the entire organizational data platform, the CIO becomes a leader who helps organizations achieve true, value-added, integrated, end-to-end business intelligence.

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