Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Experience “The Big Pivot”

Graeme Thompson,
SVP/CIO Informatica
The Big Pivot Podcast explores Digital transformation and its effect on every business in every industry. In exploring the business benefits of data-driven transformation, it is for CIOs who want to have a real impact on serving customers, empowering employees, and growing revenues. Hosted by Rob O’Regan of IDG, the series features Graeme Thompson, SVP/CIO Informatica, a CIO that exemplifies a strategic executive who is leveraging data to drive change throughout his organization. Series guests include:

The New CIO role

A key point highlighted throughout the series is that the CIO’s role has shifted radically. No longer focused on using IT to improve the internal productivity of business functions, today’s best information executives partner with functional peers to deliver new business models and associated revenue streams. For them, the main challenges is a constant battle with legacy technology and legacy thinking. For software companies, this painful shift could be from an established initial license purchase and annual maintenance revenue model to a software subscription model.  Product-wise this may also include shifting from custom offerings to delivering fixed and standardize software services. CIOs must help the C-suite move away from functional level optimization and towards an enterprise success focus that provides scalable real-time data integration. This data foundation must also include an analytics platform that extracts application data, delivers visibility across each end-to-end business process (i.e., hire-to-retire, procure-to-pay, campaign-to-opportunity) and optimizes outcomes for customers and the entire company.

While the traditional CIO purview was mostly limited to IT infrastructure details (i.e., # of servers, wireless access points, storage devices), the new CIO must be equally aware of the number of corporate database instances, which ones have customer data and who has access to this data.  Data is the foundation of digital transformation so the CIO must be as focused on the data as they are on the physical aspects of IT. They must effectively leverage digital assets and escalate the use of data above the operational function that creates it to target enterprise level opportunities. The CIO is in a unique position because they are:
  • Best positioned to understand end to end processes and functions; and
  • Close to emerging technologies that enable them to identify profitable IT implementation opportunities.

Manage data as currency

The Big Pivot Episode 6 presents a thought exercise that compares the CIO’s role managing data to that of the CFO managing currency by asking:
  • Does the CFO let each functional organization keep and manage the revenue it makes?
  • Does the CFO leave it up to the goodwill of each functional manager to share their profit with other functional units?
  • Does the CFO only have a vague idea of the amount of money that flows in and out of the corporation?

These questions may seem absurd, but if data is valuable, why doesn’t the CIO manage data like the CFO manages currency?

Data is the foundation of digital business, and digital transformation success is defined by how well an organization leverages its data to create new opportunities. This viewpoint demands the use of secure, timely, accurate, correctly sourced, context applicable and appropriately organized data. While previous implications of bad data were small (an occasional reporting issue or individual process error), today’s businesses and entire industries are dependent on digital assets for success.  Maintaining the value and reliability of underlying data is now an existential priority.

Admittedly, treating data as such a valuable business asset is problematic because most companies try to avoid the political and structural disruption that comes with breaking down the functional silos and norms of the past. A practical way forward is possible, however, by linking technology investment to quantifiable business value. Functional optimizations do not always lead to desired enterprise optimizations so the CIO and senior leadership team must work together in thinking about the best use of data for the benefit of the entire company rather than any specific function. To realize this, changes across the entire system, and not just a functional area, may be required. Avoid the practice of linking data and ownership to the same functional area because this gets in the way of sharing data across the enterprise.

The new data privacy imperative

In 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other data privacy regulations are up leveling global data security, privacy regulations and control objectives. By building a globally enforceable framework for data lifecycle management, GDPR is forcing many international companies to classify and protect every individual’s data. Some of the challenges of this new regulation include:
  • The need to be able to closely track all data related to the privacy of an individual;
  • A requirement to demonstrate privacy by design in the handling of all privacy information;
  • An ability to demonstrate to regulators and data subjects the preservation of privacy information integrity through every stage of the information lifecycle; and
  • Enforcement of the right of any individual to demand the erasure of data related to them.

To continue operating, companies must augment their tradition data protection practice of protecting the network and data center environment with operational processes that implement data protection that travels with the data. This includes operations in the mobile environment as well. Data must be secured as an asset and not just as a process by-product.

A mandatory requirement of GDPR is the appointment of the Data Protection Officer, a role that serves as a focal point for data protection activities and related educational processes across the enterprise. These individuals are responsible for handling personal data and must be able to work closely with other governance functions (i.e., info security, legal, record mgmt., audit). New data protection procedures must also be fitted into project planning, external service contracts, procurement processes, data portability, and new internal processes that uphold data erasure rights.

Analytics changes business

The most important takeaway from this series is understanding the need to tie data insights to business outcomes. At its core, digital transformation means shifting from a limited competition based on physical assets to a global competition based on digital assets. The CIO see the business uniquely because, by necessity, they think of the enterprise as a connected system of processes and applications. This viewpoint can be used to effectively and efficiently drive change across the entire enterprise because fundamental business transformations are driven by data analytics that creates opportunities that didn’t previously exist. Incremental change is no longer viable, and products are no longer a selection of features. Today’s competitive offering must be able to use data to inform itself on how it is being used, fix itself if it sees a problem and then uses that data to solve the same or related problems in every other environment in which it operates.

Andrew McIntyre, VP of Technology for the Chicago Cubs on how analytics changes business

This post is brought to you by Informatica and IDG. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Informatica.

Cloud Musings
( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2016)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Innovation At The Seams

Kevin L. Jackson & Dez Blanchfield

Today’s real business innovation is happening at the seams of industries. Moreover, after listening to this podcast between Sanjay Rishi, GM Global Cloud Consulting Services at IBM Global Business Services, and Dez Blanchfield, you will understand why Mr. Rishi describes his primary role as delivering cloud enable innovation and transformation

In this fascinating discussion, Sanjay and Dez talk about how organizations embark on cloud journeys through different entry points, namely by:

  • Developing support and engagement systems for customers, employees, and suppliers;
  • Migrating legacy applications into a cloud computing environment;
  • Leveraging exploding technologies like IoT and blockchain to innovate and transform business; and
  • Delivering business ROI with both speed and innovation.

In pursuing this goal of helping his clients strategize on cloud adoption, he has learned many valuable lessons. One of the most important centers around how enterprise leaders miss the role of organizational communications when transformation begins. The issue is that communications is quickly relegated to an afterthought and doesn’t get the correct amount of attention. In his experience, communications and change management are both essential and serve as the difference between success and failure. Sanjay’s guidance is for leaders not to forget that people’s hearts and minds must change if innovation is to deliver business results.

Another insightful nugget from this podcast is Mr. Rishi’s observation on how the CIO role is shifting from IT to business. This position is less about the back office and technology enablement and more about influencing change within organizations and becoming a catalyst for transformation and innovation. The most significant takeaway here is the need for empathy from the standpoint of understanding what challenges a CIO is going through concerning change and the speed with which change can happen. Transformation creates “haves” and “have-nots” in organizations.  Those pulled into the transformation become the “haves,” and then the masses see themselves as the “have-nots.”

People are hungry for inclusion and to be informed even if they do not participate in influencing an organization’s transformation. In sharing these insights, Sanjay Rishi reinforced his observation that the essence of digital transformation lies in relationship innovation (12:12). He even provided two vivid examples, a European TELCO and a Latin American Bank, to drive home the point. In short, by innovating the organization’s relationship with customers, suppliers, stakeholders, and employees, people can be influenced and effectively led through the investment journey needed to harvest cloud-enabled innovation opportunities.

Organizations must come to grips with the reality of two-speed transformation. The first gear of change is incremental and evolutionary while the second revolutionary and built around disruption.  First gear delivers needed enhancements and improvements to the existing business while the second wards off the threat of disruption from smaller players and start-ups. Business success is not about slowing down the rate of change. It is about balancing these two rates of change. The dependencies between the two are very significant, and embracing both is essential for success

Breaking out his crystal ball, Sanjay ended the exchange by telling everyone that the next big thing is an organization’s ability to sense and understand individual behavior in a way that enables the presentation of consumption choices. This vision seems to represent a doubling down on his earlier statements on relationship innovation. According to Mr. Rishi, this capability expands organizations and accelerates life changes for our benefit. Although individual sensing and anticipation of demand certainly has security challenges, he sees the change as positive in that it makes life much more efficient and allows us to harvest the many associated opportunities.

This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services. For more content like this, visit ITBizAdvisor.

Cloud Musings
( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2016)