The Innovative CIO

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I was talking with the CIO of a global company (no names, no pack drill) about innovation. The conversation was about innovation and in particular, innovation via big data. The CIO put it bluntly, “I invest in these because I want to create and bring new key business capabilities to the business stakeholders before they […]

I was talking with the CIO of a global company (no names, no pack drill) about innovation. The conversation was about innovation and in particular, innovation via big data. The CIO put it bluntly, “I invest in these because I want to create and bring new key business capabilities to the business stakeholders before they know they need it, and before they know it is even possible”
 
We found in our report launched this week that IT is increasingly being bypassed by business leaders in search of analytics.

This is really key in my view for the tension between the business and the CIO; how often has a boardroom conversation or email dialogue been, “I see XYZ are doing this, why are we behind?”
 
The CIO in this case has created an incubation approach within IT that is willing to not only create business-use case driven POCs, but also willing to push the absolute boundaries of data science and big data technologies into new use cases.  By building a sandbox Business Data Lake they were able to try new use cases, and then leverage the same data sets to other line of business users.
 
It picks up in part from the observations I made on “fail fast” in this blog regarding adoption approaches. The cost level is low, time to value is low and it becomes clear very quickly from the POC if the business case works to move from initiation to pilot to enterprise deployment.
 
Three learning points (paraphrased) from the CIO:
 

  1. Get comfortable with “fail fast” and be ready to move on quickly. If you get the first 80% in 4 weeks, that’s often enough.
  2. Don’t always look for “where has it been done before” – we might be the first ever, that brings risk and opportunity.
  3. To do 1 and 2, get smart, open minded people who want to learn and are happy to fail, learn and adapt.

So, in short – pushing the boundaries of big data hasn’t just strengthened the CIO from a technology perspective – it has empowered them as a business innovator to the board.

What do you want to try today?

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