This week, I have been talking to CIOs about their data infrastructure. Very impressive some of it is too. Mainly from a technological perspective with petabytes of data spread across multiple locations and all consolidated to a central point.

The question I have been asking is what do you use it for? The answer seems to vary between reporting and enabling decision making to a sort of quizzical look and a “don’t ask me that” shyness. Maybe it is the amount spent vs the business benefit equation that is upsetting?

I think, and this is backed up by the IDC research, that the use of data is changing. In what we call “Thriving” organisation we see a focus on data being used not only for historical reporting but to drive automated decision making. Pre-emptive process change and even customer value chains driven by real-time analytics are realistically possible today. Do you do that?

One of the real barriers to using data differently is, it seems, cultural. Most companies have an abundance of data and only use a very small proportion of it. What is lacking is that push into understanding the power of dynamic data. That is not an “IT thing” it’s a “business thing”. But maybe it is part of the CIOs role to make the use of information widespread – not just focus on gathering and storing it.




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