From Data to Decisions

I’ve made my career in the world of enterprise computing and have lived through the barrage of marketing slogans that have accompanied decades of “paradigm” shifts. Do you recall the professed wisdom of these marketing mantras?

HP told us “Invent”, but maybe we should first….

“Think” as IBM had suggested or better yet…..

“Think Different” as has Apple, and do so sooner rather than later because…..

“Tomorrow Starts Here” so Cisco advises, so now …..

Microsoft asked “Where do you want to go today”?

These are all compelling calls to action that paint the picture of a world of endless possibilities  with the adept incorporation of the latest shiny technologies served up by these great companies. However, what often tempers this excitement is the challenge faced by today’s business leaders to navigate the tides of uncertainty in a business environment where competition is accelerating in highly contended markets served by ever evolving business models. Industry clichés will forever pronounce the next big IT trend of course that will be of course validated by Moore’s law, and will become marketing. These euphemisms will be aimed squarely at Corporate leadership, daring them to “change or be left behind.”

A change in tide

Yet technological change for change’s sake is under more business scrutiny than ever before. Today’s leaders are realizing that moving to the latest technology does not guarantee attaining competitive advantage.

“Killer apps” like CAE and platforms like “Web X.0” have fueled IT capital investments in the past. These advances enabled things like faster product development, globalization and new business models never before possible. However, since the dotcom bubble burst, and with a lack of new mainstream power hungry killer apps driving the need for “faster, better and cheaper systems”, “cost out” has become the new IT investment “killer app” enabled by virtualization and software defined everything on commodity platforms and in the cloud.

A surge of opportunity

So where do business leaders now look for IT to help grow their business? The solution is rooted in a simple call to corporate leadership to turn its focus to the “I” in “IT”; to turn the massive sprawl of information at their disposal into timely insightful decisions in ways never before possible. Today’s great companies must embrace the integration of business information in all its forms, wherever it lives, be it their proprietary information or that of others. This includes data and interactions streaming across social media. This is the only way to align IT investments with business needs as we cross the ever accelerating need for business innovation today. The crossroads of business and IT represents a very busy intersection these days, but opportunity exists for those organizations who work closely with IT to exploit information using discerning analytics in order to make data-informed decisions across the enterprise.


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