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Data and analytic topics on the minds of CIOs

25 Feb 2016

Article by Andrew White, a member of the Gartner Blog Network

I had the good fortune to be present at our US CIO Leadership Forum in Phoenix, Arizona this week. I was presenting on Open Data and How to Monetize Information Assets. For my sins I spent two days with nearly 20 1-1’s and conversations with CIO’s. We talked about a lot of different topics in and around data (and all its uses) as well as analytics. Here are the highlighted or most frequent topics:

  • How to set up bimodal (CIO’s want to exploit mode 2 delivery) information governance, MDM, as well as data science lab and/or CAO led analytic initiative and keep BI as mode 1
  • How to set up a CDO (broad focus) or CAO (narrower focus) organisation and leader, within CIO’s office or in business side
  • How to start an information strategy spanning all things data as well as analytics, given current starting point and in flight initiatives
  • Establish right-sized information governance before it’s too late to be effective and not too late that we risk failure

These were really interesting conversations. CIO’s were looking for straightforward answers, toolkits and templates to help frame the response and answer, and put them on the right path forward with guardrails. Thankfully we have a range of toolkits and frameworks just for this purpose. I referred to particular notes several times, such as:

1. Staffing the Office of the CDO  – This note explores the scope and depth of what the CDO would lead. This could result in focusing on all uses of data including analytics (e.g. CAO, or BI leader and data science etc.). Some clients were also only focused on the CAO element of this work, but as many were also focused on data used to assure business process integrity as well as compliance and monetisation. 2. The Chief Data Officer’s First 100 Days – This note is described by its title. 3. How to Start Implementing the Bimodal Office of the Chief Data Officer – This is where we explored the classic mode 1 (e.g. reporting and BI) and the need for a different delivery model with mode 2 for other initiatives (e.g. advanced analytics, master data management, etc.). 4. The Chief Analytics Officer’s Vision Sets the Narrative for the Business Analytics Strategy – This note helps the CDO or CAO, whenever focused on analytics (as opposed to all uses of data) to develop an analytic vision that is business relevant. 5. Strategic Road Map for Enterprise Information Management – The most often used framework I used to explain and relate vision, strategy, metrics/business case, governance, organisation, process, and infrastructure across all the initiatives CIO’s want to manage different. 6. Gartner’s Business Analytics Framework – I referenced this framework when we drilled down into specific analytic project and program concepts.

There was healthy debate to be had re CIO and CDO. The majority of CIO’s I spoke with were quite keen and happy to promote, launch, or hire the CDO role within their own organisation, or even take on the role more explicitly themselves by adding the CDO title to their name: CIO and CDO. Most also recognise that the role needs to be led out of the business, not IT. So it seems there is a groundswell of opinion that the role is needed – even if the business does not quite recognise this yet.

Another interesting but less frequent conversation concerned:

  • Assuming I have a mode 2 program alongside a classic mode 1 organisation, and assuming I am successful with the mode 2 delivery, how to assure ongoing success since the work that gets thrown at mode 2 will grow quickly and it might get bogged down and start to operate as a mode 1 organisation.

I might re-write this item as: How to manage the migration of initiatives from mode 2 to model 1?  This is a most fascinating dialogue. We have not written that much on this transition phase yet – though our BPM colleagues have started with Maturing Bimodal: Five Best Practices to Ease Transitions Between Mode 2 and Mode 1. In principle we talked about creating a transition team that sits between the two modes of delivery so that you can keep the free-wheeling mode 2 team active. You do this by handing off completed mode 2 projects (those that you now want to standardise and ‘bake’) to a new team that manages the transition outside of mode 1 control and also without slowing down mode 2 work.

The two and a half days were inspiring and I hope that everyone attended had an informative time. Hope to see you next time.

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