CIO Success: Business and IT working together

If greater data analytics is a business priority then a stronger relationship between IT and the business is essential for long-term success.

As digital technologies continue to permeate everything we do, today more than ever, we are becoming a data-driven society.   

Data has become critical to nearly all sectors - from finance to marketing - but the differentiation for many is the ability to harness that data in order to gain insights that benefit the business. For any industry, it isn’t about the amount or complexity of data, it’s what the business does with that data that matters. 

Employees who have the ability to work with their own data and analyse it in order to make more informed decisions can add a real competitive edge to an organisation.  They are often the ones who know the right questions to ask and the pressing challenges they need to resolve.  But employees getting their hands on data can be a scary thing for IT teams who require data governance and security.  

Today, we’re seeing that IT teams within organisations are leading the charge to empower employees with their data while ensuring that data is secure.  They are setting a strong data foundation that in turn, sets the business up for success.  

If greater data analytics is a business priority then a stronger relationship between IT and the business is essential for long-term success.  

The challenge

So what hinders this relationship? According to our recent study, a large proportion of CIOs (75 per cent) view data analytics as a key priority for their business – which is no surprise. Having said that, 40 per cent of CIOs polled also warned that ‘a lack of data analytics understanding and skills’ across the wider business is a ‘major’ barrier to becoming a fully data-driven organisation. Despite this, more than a third of CIOs (36 per cent) expect their data analytics budget to increase this year as the need for data in business increases.

This research shows the current challenge for CIOs lies in expanding the use of data analytics across the business. Companies are most successful at this when IT is collaborating with the business to enable the use and purpose of data analytics.  With IT at the helm pushing boundaries and guiding its employees through their data challenges, the transformation to becoming a data-driven company can unlock new business goals and results. 

Data for all

Encouragingly, a majority of CIOs surveyed are positive about their progress towards becoming data-driven, with two thirds (66 per cent) saying they are ‘satisfied’ or ‘quite satisfied’ with what they achieved in 2016.  Looking ahead, the vast majority (93 per cent) stated they were either ‘very confident’ or ‘somewhat confident’ that the wider business and IT will work together to become more data driven this year – a strong sign that the ‘buy-in’  and focus placed on data is coming from the top down, and filtering to employees across roles and departments. 

One company that is doing this particularly well is global commercial real estate firm - Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).   JLL enables its people to harness the power of data while ensuring that data is protected thanks to its IT department. The company has quickly become data-driven because employees are encouraged to work with data, from the top-down.  Now, employees can quickly analyse areas such as cost-efficiency or building energy consumption - ultimately improving customer service.  With a collaborative approach between IT and the business, JLL offers both data governance and flexibility, giving JLL’s business teams the power to make data-driven recommendations for its clients. 

Conclusion

What’s the takeaway in all of this?  Businesses need to ensure that data is a clear priority by not just talking about it but by putting it into action.  What does this mean?  By encouraging everyone – from the long-standing board member, to the newest intern – to bring data to the centre of every business conversation and decision.  IT leaders and CIOs can lead this charge and be successful in protecting the data and providing flexibility so the business can work with their data to drive business success.  

Expanding the use of data analytics across an organisation is a challenge, but it’s a challenge that is only worth taking on when the business and IT work together.  

James Eiloart, SVP EMEA, Tableau Software