Gartner Says CIOs Will Need to Manage Both Technology and Business Innovation to Gain Competitive Advantage with Big Data
Gartner Special Report Examines Long-Range Trends, Scenarios and Planning for Business Executives and CIOs
STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- CIOs must realize that innovation needs to go well beyond the technology used to manage big data, according to Gartner, Inc. To get maximum value, enterprises will need to seek and embrace innovation in the way business problems are analyzed with big data.
"Big data requires an enterprise to embrace innovation on two levels," said Hung LeHong, research vice president at Gartner. "First, the technology itself is innovative. Second, enterprises must be willing to innovate in the way they do decision support and analytics. This second reason is not a technology challenge, but rather a process and change management challenge.
"Big data technologies bring innovative ways of analyzing existing business problems and opportunities. New data sources and new analytics can improve the enterprise in ways that have never been leveraged before."
Big data's ability to analyze unstructured data, large volumes and disparate sources leads to innovative opportunities. In most cases, there has been very little precedence for the ways big data can add value to an enterprise. It was never possible to run these kinds of analyses or access these new types of data. Seeking value from big data technologies requires innovative thinking and a willingness to accept and trust these sources and methods. CIOs should treat big data projects as innovation projects that will require change management efforts. The business will need time to trust new data sources and new analytics and enterprises should start small with pilots that put full transparency on the data, the analytics and the resulting insight.
However, big data isn't just about the large sources of external data, such as public social network data. Creative CIO thinking can unearth valuable information sources already inside the enterprise that are underused.
"Perhaps CIOs feel more comfortable starting with internal data sources, because the thinking is that much of it is already being managed by ITV," said Mr. LeHong. "However, in many cases, these internal data sources are not controlled by IT at all. For example, call center recordings, security camera footage and operational data from manufacturing equipment all represent potential internal sources of data to investigate, but they are usually not under the control of IT."
Therefore, CIOs and their teams will need to work with the business to fully understand the pockets of data that are available. With some creative thinking, even data that is already captured data can be made richer. Enterprises that use big data technologies can afford to keep the full, raw data, building up rich sources of data that can provide new insight. However, CIOs will need to ensure that there is always a clear business purpose and outcome for storing this new data.
Internal data has an additional advantage. It is a good starting point for big data projects because the enterprise already owns the data, and it may be easier and/or less costly than accessing external data sources. Also, compared with external sources, the enterprise will be more likely to trust the internal data because it comes from enterprise systems, logs and other enterprise assets.
Some enterprises have used big data technologies to make existing analytics faster. Although technology may enable faster speed, getting business value from that speed often requires process changes.
Gartner research shows that early adopter enterprises that implemented faster analytical capabilities changed their processes to get the maximum benefit from the speed. For some enterprises, the speed in analysis provides the ability to include a full week of sales data when running analytics, such as price/promotion/markdown optimization. In the past, because these optimizations would take a day to run, Sunday's sales data often did not make it into the calculations. Now, with the ability to run the optimizations in minutes, enterprises can include the full week's data — making their optimizations immediately up to date with market activity.
"CIO's must ensure that big data projects that improve analytical speed always include a process redesign effort that aims at getting maximum benefit from that speed," said Mr. LeHong. "Before pursuing big data investments, ensure that the evaluating team has a clear understanding of how faster analytics will lead to an improved business outcome — and build this into the business case."
More detailed analysis is available in the report "CIO Advisory: Getting Value From Big Data
Requires Innovative Business Thinking and Process Change." The report is available on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=2293217.
Additional information is available in the Gartner Special Report "Long Range Trends, Scenarios & Planning for Business Executives & CIOs." The special report can be viewed at http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/cio-trends/ and includes links to reports and video commentary that examine long-view scenarios, perspectives and advice to help CIOs harness business shifts before their competitors.
Gartner will examine the business trends and implications for IT during the complimentary webinar, "Chief Executive Concerns and the IT Implications" taking place today, May 7 at 9 a.m. EDT and noon EDT. To register for the webinar, please visit http://my.gartner.com/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=202&mode=2&PageID=5553&resId=2392415&ref=Webinar-Calendar.
Gartner, Inc. (NYS: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is a valuable partner in more than 13,000 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, and has 5,500 associates, including 1,400 research analysts and consultants, and clients in 85 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.
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