BI Gives a Competitive Edge to the CIOsHead-IT

By Vijay Talele , Director - Delivery , Clover Infotech

The nineteenth century was about industrialization and the twentieth was about technology. The post Y2K era is about Information. The proliferation of unstructured data has assumed great significance in strategic decision making across industry verticals and geographies. The effect has changed the way information is gathered, consumed and analyzed to derive insights for business. 

The Evolution of the CIO
The amount of data on the internet tends to double itself within three months. The role of the Chief Information Officers or Head of Information Technology has undergone a significant transformation due to exponential increase in points of access viz. internet, mobile, point of sale etc. and the volume, variety, velocity and veracity of data (popularly known as the 4Vs of Big Data).

The CIOs or Heads of IT are not only responsible for ensuring seamless functioning of the applications and the underlying infrastructure but also for creating value for the business and contributing to the top line and the bottom line. 

Information Technology – Bedrock of Business Decisions
Most companies would have implemented ERPs and CRMs to create reports which aid senior management with inputs for decision making. While IT can facilitate these reports, it is important to be able to co-relate these reports and gain business insights from them. It is at this point that business intelligence comes in and helps business users ask the right questions and derive the required answers.

It is amazing to have internal data being analyzed to create relevant reports. It is even better to be able to derive intelligent business insights from these reports. The CIOs of today are creating this framework over the existing ERPs, CRMs, SCMs, and even the Decision support systems to enhance the probability of better business decisions. Does it stop at Business Intelligence?

The SMAC effect 
The exponential growth of data has resulted in the wider acceptance of Cloud technologies. This coupled with the advancements in storage technologies and processing speed, has enabled organizations to optimize their infrastructure footprint and reduce total cost of ownership while tackling the growth in data volumes and subsequent storage requirements. 

With social media becoming a critical element in business strategies and mobile phones becoming much more than means of communication, data has grown big. This growth has been fast; actually very fast. 

CIOs have understood this phenomenon and are coming to terms with the importance of “Big Data and Analytics”. 

The internal systems and enterprise business systems help store business critical data in structured formats. The structured data is processed further to derive business insights. However, studies have indicated that it may be a very small percentage of the total relevant data and “unstructured data” is the major stakeholder in the relevant data pie. Within the organization as well as outside, there is a lot of unstructured data. 

From Business Intelligence to Analytics
With unstructured data complementing the structured and technologies such as Hadoop enabling to leverage unstructured data, the role of the CIO has gained further prominence. The CIO of today is one of the most important members of the strategic decision making team.

CIOs willing to implement such technologies are able to provide real-time insights on most aspects of business. These inputs have enabled strategic teams to rework and tweak their plan A in real-time rather than waiting for it to falter and switch to plan B. 

While business intelligence enables them to make sense of data captured within the company, the effect of coupling it with unstructured data (Big Data) is priceless. The CIOs of today are creating a real-time analytics framework with as many relevant inputs as possible from structured and unstructured sources. The framework is thus, able to give accurate real-time business insights which are invaluable. 

These insights are presented in neat and easily comprehendible formats due to the various tools and technologies available for Analytics. At Clover Infotech, we understand these requirements of the customer, and have partnered with principal organizations such as Oracle (Endeca Information Discovery, Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition), SAS (Visual Analytics), Informatica (Meta Data Management) and also with Microsoft and SAP. 

However, we follow a consultative approach where we first understand the customer’s IT landscape and then propose solutions that enable them to seamlessly create a BI and Analytics framework. We first ensure that the customer is convinced and realizes the value proposition and then give our suggestions on the solutions to be implemented depending on a thorough study of the customer’s business model and IT landscape. 

The Empowered CIO

The new age CIO is aware of the evolving dynamics of IT and the compelling changes owing to proliferation of data. I believe the CIO who is able to view the business from a strategic perspective and augment the Business Intelligence framework with “Big Data and Analytics” is an empowered CIO. Such CIOs/ heads of IT will become increasingly important in the formation of business strategies and will be aptly poised to leverage IT for business excellence and growth. 

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