Tag Archives: CIO

At the heart of the CIO’s agenda: Business analytics is the stand-out technology investment in 2017

The recently published “State of IT” 2017 annual survey by Salesforce reveals that IT in industry is experiencing the biggest historical shift of its role to date, from a straightforward cost centre to a service delivering value and innovation, the “central nervous system” of modern business, “partnering with departments to orchestrate experiences with connected data sources and new capabilities”.

With this has come a significant change in the role of the Chief information officer (CIO). No longer just there to keep the lights on, the CIO is increasingly at the heart of the enterprise providing more customer-focused business analytics. Vala Afshar, Salesforce Chief Digital Evangelist, writes that “to be successful, modern CIOs must abandon their tendencies toward control and adopt an outlook that is more collaborative and customer-centric than ever.” There is evidence already that this attitude is becoming commonplace, with 61% of IT leaders saying that providing a single view of the customer is a high priority over the next 12–18 months.

Despite this shift, there remains an uncomfortable mismatch between business strategy and expectations, as CIO priorities are evolving rapidly but traditional views of the CIO as chiefly an operational role are yet to be shrugged off. The Salesforce survey found that 77% of IT leaders now view IT as an extension/partner of business units rather than a separate function. Yet a CIO survey by Deloitte’s found that while 78% of the CIOs polled said that strategic alignment on IT was essential to their success, only 36% ranked their organisation as “excellent” or “leading” in this capability.

A look at IT distribution
Like the business CIO, technology distributors worldwide are intent on making analytics a key area of investment. GTDC’s recently published report, “Insights into 2017 – Channel Executives and distribution leaders share their partner perspectives”, considered analytics as a key focus for distributors. Far from being a new area, analytics in 2017 promises distributors further innovation, incremental revenue and profit potential through the development of complex business intelligence (BI) solutions. As one Distribution executive put it:

“We’re using Analytics to identify opportunities for our business partners. For example, bringing new products to partners. We continually do an analysis of customers for the last two years. We have to move faster in investing in some next-generation areas and help our partners learn how to monetize these new opportunities. That’s really key for us.” — Miriam Murphy, Senior Vice President, North Region EMEA, Avnet TS.

Key questions for CONTEXT’s upcoming Channel Research Group
CONTEXT will be exploring the role of BI and analytics in the inaugural meeting of its Channel Research Group on May 30th in London, UK, asking the following questions to its Distribution, Reseller and Vendor partners:

  • What kind of opportunity is BI/Analytics to your business?
  • Has your company benefited from BI/Analytics information provided by a 3rd party?
  • How are you currently investing in BI? Is this for your own business or to help your partners develop BI solutions in their business?

For more information on CONTEXT’s Channel Research Group, please contact us!

by CS


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Big data – still a challenge for CIOs?

Many companies, whether big or small have vast amount of data stored in traditional databases in-house or in public and private clouds, often without much knowledge around how much value this data has for:

  • increasing operational efficiencies
  • adding relevance to marketing towards more targeted audiences
  • understanding customers better in order to develop products and services more aligned with their demands and needs and hence improving relationships
  • gaining a competitive edge by better understanding trends and predicting market demands whilst preparing for their next strategic moves

CIOs already have a hard time storing and managing data in a way that is cost efficient, secure and accessible whenever required, as the scale of information to be stored has exponentially increased over the past years.

While public and private clouds have become an effective alternative to store “cold” data, companies need to ensure that both structured and unstructured data can be classified in terms of when and where it has left the network premises.

Against a backdrop of vast amounts of data, many companies are still faced with the challenge of being able to query the data as well as selecting big data hardware and software that will deliver insightful information.

Many CIOs are currently anxious about moving data to the cloud due to the costs associated, the challenges of choosing adequate partners, questions over security and reliable access to this data.

However, there are a number of vendors that offer approaches to helping companies take the first steps.

DELL amongst others are shifting towards tiered storage and flash technologies, closer to the processing units (servers), analysing what data should be stored where so it can be efficiently utilised and in a rapid manner in big data applications.

HP, for example, is also working closely with its customers, by supporting them in their projects with tools and technology, resources and software to test, evaluate and validate big data uses and scenarios.

There are also a number of companies, specialised in big data and dedicated to certain industries and applications, with tools and data scientists capable of taking on data, analysing it, querying it and according to requirements providing insights into that data.

However for many CIOs these companies are still to provide a blue print on how the process can be streamlined to their own applications in a costs effective way, besides other projects that may be more critical to them.

Big data management remains one of the technologies where one size does not fit all and is still very much a ‘personal’ case for the CIO and industry consultant who can guide their companies through a new area of aggregation, syndication and adoption of best practices.

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