Now, CIOs must use data and digital technologies to grow their businesses. Here’s how.
The past year has been a stark reminder to CIOs of the importance of data. In times of crisis, companies with reasonable control over their data have embraced digital transformation faster than others.
CIOs, familiar with trends and customer preferences, have been able to effectively change the business models of their companies, for example, by embracing e-commerce, providing e-learning and exploring new markets. Additionally, with the increasing use of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), analyst Gartner says the demand to do more with data will only increase.
So how can CIOs help their businesses get the most from their information in the post-Covid era? Four digital leaders give their advice on best practices.
Focus On The Inglorious Part Of Big Data First
Nitin Chaturvedi, chief digital and technology officer at KFC Global, says the data has two key elements: the exciting part, including technologies like AI, VR and IoT, and the less exciting part, which includes infrastructure and standards.
If most businesses want to focus on the exciting parts, it’s the infrastructure that matters. “I think it’s almost like bamboo; unless your roots are strong, your tree will not rise. For me, it is therefore essential to focus on the roots,” he explains.
When the foundations are reasonable, you can start exploring some of the exciting things about the data. For example, over the past 12 months, KFC has bolstered its digital channels in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Traffic to the web application increased significantly in 2020 as click & collect became more popular.
Many of these innovations are expected to remain significant in the post-Covid era, according to Nitin Chaturvedi. According to him, CIOs exploring new digital areas must ensure that data is integrated to create a cohesive and unique view of customers.
“They need to think about how they integrate data across all these different consumer touchpoints because touchpoints have increased to build a better view of the consumer. And to serve it better, you need to integrate data across all these touchpoints,” explains Nitin Chaturvedi.
Use Real-Time Data To Help Make Tough Decisions
Daniel Duran, CIO of global beverage giant Concha y Toro, explains that while his company’s winemaking processes are rooted in 150 years of tradition, the company’s future success is closely tied to the real-time exploitation of data.
“When the grapes are cut in the vineyard, you don’t have a lot of time to go through the fermentation process because the grapes degrade in the truck. We must therefore go quickly,” he explains.
With brands such as Casillero del Diablo and Don Melchor, Concha y Toro is present in more than 140 countries, making it one of the largest wine companies in the world. Data is critical at harvest time when the company is moving trucks loaded with grapes from different parts of Chile to its wineries.
“We monitor the number of tonnes of different grape varieties that we send to different wineries. For the past few years, we have been carrying out daily monitoring to determine how many tonnes have arrived in each cellar. Today, we can do it every hour,” explains Daniel Duran.
Concha y Toro processes vast amounts of data on its technology platform, Pure Storage. The vision the company creates enables employees to make smarter decisions. Daniel Duran explains that if there is a problem in a cellar, for example, employees can tell a truck driver to change his route and head to another destination.
“In terms of information, we understand that every improvement we make helps create a better process,” he says, suggesting that CIOs need to focus on processing the information as quickly as possible. “If every employee has the information in near real-time, we believe they will make a better decision than if they are given this information later. ”
Do The Groundwork To Integrate The Different Data Sources
Warren Breakstone, Managing Director and Product Manager for Data Management Solutions at S&P Global Market Intelligence, focuses on how his company can deliver helpful information. According to him, integration is one of the critical elements for the success of big data.
“One of the first things we do is recognize that decisions are rarely made with discrete data; decisions are made with the convergence or integration of data. Our clients apply their own added value, experience and analysis to make a decision,” he explains.
S&P Global Market Intelligence provides real-time data to a variety of businesses. According to Warren Breakstone, the company’s clients range from investment management firms to insurance companies to blue-chip companies who want to use the data to develop new business models to compete with new entrants.
The organization has partnered with technology company Snowflake to deliver datasets to financial industry clients through its cloud-hosted environment. According to Warren Breakstone, technology leaders who want to develop valuable information from multiple sources in the future must ensure that their information is accessible in a consistent manner.
“When we think of integration, we think first and foremost about the integration of our data, which is how we link disparate data sets so that customers can get an additional value using this data. If you’re a consumer of one of our datasets and now you’re interested in another dataset, we’ve already done the hard work and linked the two datasets,” he says.
“So when you add that second set of data, your ability to take advantage of it is accelerated because we’ve already done the linking work for you. So it all depends on how we define integration – and, from a data perspective, that’s central. ”
Focus On Exploiting Data In A Safe And Secure Manner
Mark Gannon, director of information solutions at Sheffield City Council, believes that leveraging big data is essential in the future to provide excellent customer service.
“It’s about using business intelligence and data to help us be more efficient and effective,” he explains. “We have to do everything technical in a very fluid way so that we can focus on the advice. ”
Mark Gannon acknowledges that big data has proven its worth over the past 12 months. Working with his counterparts in other public sector organizations in the UK, he now wants to combine public data sources. “In two years, I think digital services will be an integral part of everything. ”
However, it also recognizes that using data to respond quickly and effectively to a rapidly evolving pandemic has led to new ways of working. As economies emerge from lockdowns and large organizations seek to create new data-driven services, CIOs in all organizations will need to ensure that data remains safe and secure.
“I think data is a big problem for CIOs, especially when it comes to its quality. With the Covid, people had to switch to telecommuting very quickly, so I’m worried about data loss and leakage,” he says. “When we get back to some normalcy, whatever it is, we’ll have to ask ourselves where this data is. I think it’s not just a question for me; I think it’s a question for all CIOs. “