Director and Monty Python member Terry Gilliam talked to Wired magazine about his recent film, The Zero Theorem, which features a reclusive computer genius who is searching for the meaning of life. Gilliam says he made the movie in part to highlight what disturbs him about our constantly connected culture. CIOs and other business leaders may find food for thought there about the potential downsides of big data. But what Gilliam says about the challenges he faces to reach viewers sounds similar to the struggles of any IT organization that is trying to develop more effective partnerships with marketing:
“I don’t really know how to think of an audience, because there are a million different audiences out there,” Gilliam says. “It’s more, how do you get the people that might like what you do—and they’re not always fans yet—how do you get their attention?”
It’s not just a question for filmmakers on a small budget. What role do CIOs have helping CMOs define and reach out to customers (without intruding on their privacy).
Gartner’s annual CIO survey finds CIOs in the midst of changing their MO. Three-fourths say that in the next three years, they’ll alter their leadership approach from “control first” to “vision first” in order to meet the demands of digital business (73 percent say they’ve been working on this for three years already). That makes sense: when your environment is evolving rapidly, you need to help your team and your colleagues figure out where they need to be going. What you control now may not even be relevant in the future.
Do you agree? What does it mean to lead with vision, instead of control? How do you engage people differently?
Recent research by EMC in Asia found that among people aged 15-24, most expect to use their personal devices for work. But attitudes among employees differ from region to region; in some places, workers think companies should provide all their equipment. During a discussion last month at the CIO Summit in Singapore, global IT leaders said any mobile device policy has to take into account what employees in various locales expect. Employees’ roles are important, too, as well as the infrastructure that each country has in place.
Do your company’s employees use their personal devices on the job? What criteria do you use to determine whether to allow it? How do you manage the complexity of different policies for different regions?
If you want to be competitive, you have to stop thinking of your IT staff an expense, and start treating it as an asset. That’s the message in this post by Frank Wander, a former CIO who is now the CEO of a talent management firm. Wander thinks CIOs have undervalued workers with lots of experience. And he’s alarmed that “leaders know more about their processes and technology than their people.”
Wander points to a management mindset with roots in the industrial age, when labor became commodified–and, he observes, dehumanized. Time to change that. IT pros are craftspeople. Their minds are not interchangeable parts. Successful companies will “develop deep expertise on how to unlock the full potential of the workforce,” he says. But how do you do it? What has to change in the way you hire, manage, train, evaluate and reward workers in order to transform the IT culture and raise the value of individuals’ talent?
As CIO at a Fortune 500 technology company, I have a fascinating vantage point with respect to total customer experience (TCE). We not only embrace the latest technologies to provide our internal users with an agile, analytical, productive and value-driven experience, but we also share what we learn here with you – our customers – to enhance your overall experience with EMC products and services.
Having met EMC customers one-on-one or during our various global CIO Summits and EMC Forums, there was one theme that continually resonated – we are all in this together. Sure, we are always happy to share our perspective if it helps you. However, this is not a one-sided relationship.
As CIO, I always look forward to networking and engaging with my peers because our total customer experience is strongly influenced by your insight, experience and best practices. This perspective and partnership enables us to better understand your strategy and offer solutions – not point products – to help you pursue opportunities on the horizon, overcome hurdles encountered along the way, and to ultimately unleash a competitive advantage.
TCE is a core value for every EMC employee and the engine behind our culture and how we deliver products and services from beginning to end. It is essential as we design, build and rollout new contemporary, agile and innovative services for our users. Equally important, it is how we continually strengthen our partnership with you – our customers.
Learn more about EMC’s Total Customer Experience Program and how we are celebrating our commitment to customers on October 7th.
I’m getting reports about the discussions at the EMC Federation CIO Summit in Singapore last weekend. Among them: a conversation between RSA’s Vincent Goh and James Turner, an information security and risk analyst with Australia-based IBRS. Turner suggested that one of the big challenges that CSOs have is explaining to business leaders that security is about protecting business assets, not IT assets. “When it comes to determining what’s an appropriate control, that’s a business conversation,” he says. And, just as with any measure of IT performance, KPIs for security ought to reflect what matters for the business.
I wonder if we can build a list of business-focused goals for information security. What would you suggest? How would you measure performance?
Every CIO inherits a legacy, and then goes about creating one for his or her successor, notes InformationWeek’s Andrew Conry Murray. He interviews Ben Haines, the CIO at Box, and formerly at Pabst Brewing, about his experiences transforming Pabst into a “cloud-centric” company and then moving to cloud-based Box. One key question he advises CIOs ask themselves: “Will your own legacy support the vision of the company after you’ve moved on?”
As you make IT investments and engage in business transformation, what legacy are you building?
Organizations are proving the value of big data, a study by Accenture has found, but the work required to take advantage of analytics enterprise wide is only beginning. Nearly all respondents who had completed a big data project were happy with the results (92 percent) or believe big data is important to their organizations (94 percent). But they still see several challenges, including security, budget and a lack of talent to implement and run it.
So far, companies are focused on technical training to tackle these challenges: 54 percent provide training internally and half are taking advantage of vendor workshops. Fewer are directly tackling business issues. Only 45 percent are leading workshops focused on business cases or “socialization” of big data concepts.
What steps are you taking to advance big data in your organization? Has training for technologists come first? Do data consumers need more education?
The Electronic Frontier Foundation says that before we make decisions about how best to protect privacy from being compromised by big data, we ought to know more about how big data analytics benefits anyone. The greatest threats to privacy appear to come from analyses that have “statistical weaknesses,” according to EFF Staff Technologist Jeremy Gillula, in a blog post summarizing comments he planned to make at an Federal Trade Commission workshop yesterday. Don’t do junk science, using data that you’ve kept too long, and for purposes that you haven’t disclosed, and some of the risks, at least, go away. Also, he suggests, your organization won’t be throwing good money at unreliable results.
Do you agree? Can you protect privacy by being smart about how you use data?
InformationWeek has a preview of the Society for Information Management’s annual IT Trends survey. Security tops the list of CIO concerns this year, writes Editor-in -Chief Rob Prestion, followed by hiring talented staff. Alignment–a big priority anytime surveys ask about it–ranks third. In the article, sources speculate that maybe it means something different than it used to, back when IT was new and technologists didn’t have a clue about business strategy. After all, 81 percent of survey respondents reported that they are, in fact, “aligned.”
Why do surveys keep asking about this, and why do CIOs keep saying its important? IT may not be thought of as a separate entity from “the business” anymore, but the process of discovering the ways IT can drive business operations and strategy doesn’t ever end. What do you think? Is “alignment” still important? What does it mean?