How Can Companies Help Consumers Control Their Privacy?

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

Most people don’t consider their purchasing or media consumption habits to be very sensitive information, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. But lots of other personal data is, including web searches and website visits, as well as location data.

Few survey respondents complained about having negative experiences due to their digital footprints. But most want to do more to protect themselves online, and few feel that it’s easy to be anonymous if they want to be.

Are you rethinking the options you give consumers when asking them to share information? What can companies do differently to capture useful data while making it easy for customers to share only what they want?

Countering Risk with Expertise

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

I dropped pretty much everything on Wednesday morning, US Eastern Time, to follow the comet landing. Once the European Space Agency confirmed the Philae lander was in place, Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain praised the project team, as any leader should. This remark stood out: “The only way to reconcile risk and success is expertise.”

You know this. You put your best people on your toughest projects because their intelligence and experience are hedges against the possibility of failure. What about when it comes to training and development? Do you consider your investment in people as a way to mitigate risk? Have you ever talked about IT salaries and training and development budgets this way? Does it make sense to bring risk into the conversation about staffing?

Are CIOs Really Fighting for Their Role?

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

Information Week’s Rob Preston takes issue with IDC’s prediction that by 2020, 60 percent of CIOs at global companies “for the delivery of IT-enabled products and digital services.” Rather, Preston offers, CIOs “who can’t cut it as digital innovators and customer pleasers” will be replaced by CIOs who can. “By 2020, chief digital officers will be yesterday’s fad.” What do you see happening? Is the rest of the C-Suite really that skeptical of CIOs? Do CDOs have a place, and if so, what is it?

Has the 3rd Platform Become an Expectation?

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

Among its predictions for 2015, IDC says that within the next two years, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of strategies for competing globally will require IT-as-a-Service, and that 80 percent of CIOs will be accelerating their deployments of the 3rd Platform. These numbers suggest to me that most companies are past the point where decision-makers need to debate whether migration is necessary–that they’ve moved on to questions about how, and how quickly, to make it happen. What do you think? Are you still wrestling with whether IaaS is a strategic need? Or do you take it as given? What factors have influenced your position?

Keeping IT Focused on Business Goals

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

CIO.com blogger and executive recruiter Martha Heller talks to Kathy Kountze-Tatum, CIO with Northeast Utilities, about her approach to transforming IT from order-taker to strategic contributor. Kountze-Tatum’s team is at a transition point: having outsourced many non-core operations and restructured the IT organization, it’s time to set new priorities. To do so, Kountze-Tatum is holding an IT strategy meeting where she is asking her team members new questions.

“When I ask,’ how does this technology solution support our Customer Care organization?’ if I get silence, then I know that I have more work to do to get us to operate at a strategic level,” Kountze-Tatum says. What types of questions do you push your team to answer, in order to keep them focused on business goals?

What Type of Culture are you Creating with Technology?

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

Google CIO Ben Fried makes the case, in this Wall Street Journal Interview, that your decisions about technology shape the corporate culture. Let employees make choices about the tools they use, and you can create a work environment where people not only feel empowered, but they’re more likely to collaborate. “So much of the culture stems from how we work,” Fried says. “So when CIOs narrow technology choices they actually are setting a culture that is patriarchal and rigid.”

Do you agree? What are some examples of IT decisions that have affected your corporate culture, for better or for worse?

It’s Easy to Say Data Should Come Out of Silos. How Do You Make It Happen?

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

As a follow up to my post about breaking down data silos, here’s an interview that EMC published yesterday with Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz that relates to this topic. He’s talking about the concept of a “Data Lake,” a repository for vast amounts of structured and unstructured data, and a platform for analyzing it. “You can gather data of potential interest without having to know its uses,” he says. Business users gain more flexibility to tap data when they need it, and define it as they go.

The interview suggests businesses will devise new, more dynamic and perhaps more collaborative ways to govern business data than is typical for structured data in a data warehouse. As you delve into big data analytics, what are some steps you have taken to adapt your data management practices, so business users have ready access to all the data they need?

What You and Your CMO Have In Common With Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

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).

To Create a Digital Enterprise, CIOs Have to Lead with Vision

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

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?

Provisioning Mobile Devices Globally Is Complex

Elana Varon

Elana Varon

Independent Contributor
Elana Varon is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years of experience writing about IT and facilitiating conversations among CIOs. Her coverage of technology, IT-enabled business innovation and the CIO role have been recognized by American Business Media, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Media Business. As executive editor of CIO magazine from 2006-2011, Elana led a team of writers, editors and designers to produce the industry-leading publication for business and technology executives. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and at her personal blog, Cochituate Media.

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?