By Kelly Meyer
The age of Big Data has forever changed marketing tactics for businesses. Companies can now collect and use more information than they ever thought possible. Each mouse click or finger tap from a prospect provides companies with in-depth information about customers’ buying habits, online behaviors, interests, income levels, pain points… the amount of consumer data that can be collected is virtually limitless. Businesses today understand that this wealth of information is marketing gold—but they haven’t yet figured out how to extract that gold. With so much data processing occurring 24/7, how can a single CIO possibly keep track of what’s relevant? Far more importantly, how can he leverage the data strategically to generate a competitive advantage?
The Role of the CIO Has Drastically Changed
The Chief Information Officer’s responsibilities go well beyond managing IT and include, but are not limited to:
- New technology evaluation
- Internal efficiencies strategizing
- External strategy planning
- Emerging business trend forecasting
Historically, the CIO’s priorities lay in “keeping the lights on.” However, with the explosion of big data, meeting all daily priorities has become a daunting challenge. Now, managing, securing, and data mining is a CIO’s unofficial second day job. To address this trend, many companies have started calling the CIO the CDO (Chief Data Officer), but the title shift indicates that his responsibilities have been augmented, not changed.
As CIOs focus more on implementing internal efficiency initiatives, external efficiency is also rising in importance. Customers’ order fulfillment expectations have become much more demanding. Consistent, lightning-fast delivery speed is now a critical component to customer satisfaction. CIOs in the B2B field, especially, know that if their customers’ orders aren’t at the doorstep on time, the company will be forever stamped with the label “noncompliant” and will be viewed as the broken link in the supply chain.
Because of these high-stakes, the process of building consumer trust is also now harder than ever… which, of course, makes effective data analysis even more important, since it is an essential building block for gaining trust more quickly and easily.
Big Data Can Become a Big Headache
As a result of this priority sway, today’s CIOs find themselves keeping track of more data on a daily basis than the human mind can comprehend. All day, every day, data flows in regarding current customers, nurtures, and new leads. Companies who actively use Google Analytics can even access the “real-time” feature, which allows already-exhausted CIOs to observe the second-by-second behavior of site visitors in order to determine Web flow effectiveness. The biggest question that new data brings is, “How can companies use all of this data effectively?”
Effective Data Management Increases Your Odds of Success
In my line of work (selling business technology), I have noticed that over the past few years, my client discussions have evolved to include the entire executive team and IT. Successfully running a business now requires everyone to process too much data in too little time, but there is relief ahead. The term Business Intelligence has become a buzz word for companies who are committed to growing their revenues by delivering an outstanding customer experience, and the term itself has become synonymous with efficiency and successful operations.
When companies have quick access to real-time, relevant data using analytical tools to turn that raw data into actionable information, the CIO can finally rebalance his priorities. With increased analytical abilities, the CIO can and will benefit the entire company by distributing the flow of information in an efficient way that is tailored to each specific business unit.
Real business intelligence isn’t just about the software, it’s about understanding the kind of information each business unit needs and knowing what form suits them best. Real business intelligence is about keeping the lights on.
Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net