Gartner Says CIOs Will Need to Manage Both Technology and Business
Innovation to Gain Competitive Advantage with Big Data
Gartner Special Report Examines Long-Range Trends, Scenarios and Planning for
Business Executives and CIOs
STAMFORD, Conn. -- May 07, 2013
CIOs must realize that innovation needs to go well beyond the technology used
to manage big data, according to Gartner, Inc. To get maximum value,
enterprises will need to seek and embrace innovation in the way business
problems are analyzed with big data.
"Big data requires an enterprise to embrace innovation on two levels," said
Hung LeHong, research vice president at Gartner. "First, the technology itself
is innovative. Second, enterprises must be willing to innovate in the way they
do decision support and analytics. This second reason is not a technology
challenge, but rather a process and change management challenge.
"Big data technologies bring innovative ways of analyzing existing business
problems and opportunities. New data sources and new analytics can improve the
enterprise in ways that have never been leveraged before."
Big data's ability to analyze unstructured data, large volumes and disparate
sources leads to innovative opportunities. In most cases, there has been very
little precedence for the ways big data can add value to an enterprise. It was
never possible to run these kinds of analyses or access these new types of
data. Seeking value from big data technologies requires innovative thinking
and a willingness to accept and trust these sources and methods. CIOs should
treat big data projects as innovation projects that will require change
management efforts. The business will need time to trust new data sources and
new analytics and enterprises should start small with pilots that put full
transparency on the data, the analytics and the resulting insight.
However, big data isn't just about the large sources of external data, such as
public social network data. Creative CIO thinking can unearth valuable
information sources already inside the enterprise that are underused.
"Perhaps CIOs feel more comfortable starting with internal data sources,
because the thinking is that much of it is already being managed by ITV," said
Mr. LeHong. "However, in many cases, these internal data sources are not
controlled by IT at all. For example, call center recordings, security camera
footage and operational data from manufacturing equipment all represent
potential internal sources of data to investigate, but they are usually not
under the control of IT."
Therefore, CIOs and their teams will need to work with the business to fully
understand the pockets of data that are available. With some creative
thinking, even data that is already captured data can be made richer.
Enterprises that use big data technologies can afford to keep the full, raw
data, building up rich sources of data that can provide new insight. However,
CIOs will need to ensure that there is always a clear business purpose and
outcome for storing this new data.
Internal data has an additional advantage. It is a good starting point for big
data projects because the enterprise already owns the data, and it may be
easier and/or less costly than accessing external data sources. Also, compared
with external sources, the enterprise will be more likely to trust the
internal data because it comes from enterprise systems, logs and other
Some enterprises have used big data technologies to make existing analytics
faster. Although technology may enable faster speed, getting business value
from that speed often requires process changes.
Gartner research shows that early adopter enterprises that implemented faster
analytical capabilities changed their processes to get the maximum benefit
from the speed. For some enterprises, the speed in analysis provides the
ability to include a full week of sales data when running analytics, such as
price/promotion/markdown optimization. In the past, because these
optimizations would take a day to run, Sunday's sales data often did not make
it into the calculations. Now, with the ability to run the optimizations in
minutes, enterprises can include the full week's data — making their
optimizations immediately up to date with market activity.
"CIO's must ensure that big data projects that improve analytical speed always
include a process redesign effort that aims at getting maximum benefit from
that speed," said Mr. LeHong. "Before pursuing big data investments, ensure
that the evaluating team has a clear understanding of how faster analytics
will lead to an improved business outcome — and build this into the business
More detailed analysis is available in the report "CIO Advisory: Getting Value
From Big Data
Requires Innovative Business Thinking and Process Change." The report is
available on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=2293217.
Additional information is available in the Gartner Special Report "Long Range
Trends, Scenarios & Planning for Business Executives & CIOs." The special
report can be viewed at http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/cio-trends/
and includes links to reports and video commentary that examine long-view
scenarios, perspectives and advice to help CIOs harness business shifts before
Gartner will examine the business trends and implications for IT during the
complimentary webinar, "Chief Executive Concerns and the IT Implications"
taking place today, May 7 at 9 a.m. EDT and noon EDT. To register for the
webinar, please visit
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading information technology
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Janessa Rivera, + 1 408-468-8312
Robert van der Meulen, + 44 (0) 1784-267-892
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