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More corporate boards and CEOs of industrial companies recognize the competitive advantage Big Data analytics can provide. And in many cases, the CIO has a seat at the table, too.

In a recent survey of 250 global executives, 85% said the board of directors was a primary or strong influencer of Big Data analytics adoption strategy within their companies. The CEO was seen as a key driver among 86% of respondents, while 72% saw the CIO as a strong or primary influence.

“To get the big outcomes, the CIO now has to be part of the business leadership team,” said Matt Reilly, senior managing director at Accenture Strategy, which sponsored the report with General Electric Co. More than half of respondents said Big Data analytics makes up 21%-30% of their company’s technology spend, and 76% said they plan to increase that investment. That “puts the CIO squarely in the discussion,” Mr. Reilly said.

The results highlight the increasing strategic importance of Big Data, and suggest an important role for the CIO as industrial companies use new technologies to boost the bottom line. As companies adopt sophisticated sensors to collect field data in real time, or to monitor the health of machines on the factory floor, the CIO’s technological expertise will likely be a vital strategic asset.

Sectors surveyed included aviation, wind, power generation, power distribution, oil and gas, rail, manufacturing and mining. The report also integrated some survey data from the health-care sector. More than two-thirds of respondents said they believe they could lose their market position in the next one to three years if they don’t adopt Big Data strategies.

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        • 4:02 pm October 12, 2014
        • Michael Segel wrote:

        So is the author really saying that CIOs need to have some 'Big Data' project just to keep their board members happy? Or is it more important to develop a realistic Big Data options and strategy?

        CIOs can go out and spend money on appliances from Oracle or Teradata giving them the ability to check a box off on a checklist, however that would be money wasted.

        The first thing that they should do is to develop a strategy and plan of action.

        Having spent the past couple of years helping companies adopt Big Data strategies, the hardest task is aligning the existing silos within the enterprise to create effective solutions. Compared to the business and management issues, the technology is incredibly simple.

        • 10:20 pm October 10, 2014
        • Wayne Sadin wrote:

        I'm for anything that gets the Board and the CIO talking. What the article seems to say, however, is that Big Data is what is gaining the CIO a seat at the table. Huh? Does that mean that the CIO doesn't have a seat at firms that don't invest in Big Data?

        I'm going to suggest that CIO's have always had more contact with their Board at firms whose strategy is technology-intensive. It's kind of a funny list of industries (wind?) on the face of it. Maybe they're all information-intensive industries (or plan to be)? In which case where's Financial Services? Or maybe they're Internet of Things industries, for whom thousands or millions of sensors make the difference.

        If your industry makes decisions based on data, the CIO gets to be part of the conversation. That's not new.

        What I think is new in this article is the fact that traditionally back-room IT users, like manufacturing, are realizing that IoT is going to be transformative and that the CIO had BETTER be involved in strategic discussions going forward.


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