Irving Wladawsky-Berger's Insights on TechnologyBy Samuel Greengard Print
Irving Wladawsky-Berger, an IT industry executive for more than 40 years, offers his thoughts and insights on current trends in technology and the IT field.
BL: How does this changing technology landscape impact CIOs and other top IT executives?
IW-B: There is currently an interesting set of discussions taking place about whether the CIO position is evolving to become the chief digital officer. Traditionally, the CIO was viewed as the key executive handling IT operations across the company. This remains an extremely important function.
But somebody in the organization must take responsibility for pulling together all these digital strategies and technologies. Someone must take a strategic view and orchestrate all these different capabilities and services, including the cloud, with legacy IT infrastructure—especially as more and more executives in different departments dictate technology decisions or play a role in making key decisions.
BL: Clouds have clearly moved into the mainstream over the last couple of years. Are companies becoming more comfortable with the concept and less fearful about security?
IW-B: Many companies have recognized that they're a lot more agile and strategic through the use of clouds. This approach also allows an organization to bypass capital investments and the constant challenge of finding IT people with the right skills.
In many cases—particularly for smaller firms—cloud service providers offer better security than an organization can achieve internally. The most important thing is to focus on security and engage in the necessary review process so that the right protections are in place.
BL: What else should business and IT executives think about moving forward?
IW-B: Many of the most disruptive ideas come from the start-up world and then, over time, make their way into more established companies. Business models are evolving and changing due to the convergence of digital technologies. Data is at the center of everything. It's not so much about big data; the focus must be on smart data.
Organizations must go beyond merely collecting data. It's all about how they analyze it and put it into play. It can be used in so many ways: to understand customer behavior, introduce predictive maintenance or optimize revenue streams in ways that wouldn't have been possible a few years ago.
BL: How can business and IT leaders begin to get their hands around big data?
IW-B: First, it's probably best to move away from the term big data. In the end, it's all data. The difference today is that we've entered a high-volume and high-velocity environment. The challenges and opportunities are huge.
The key is how you approach and leverage the data. There's a growing need for data scientists and subject-matter experts, particularly in vertical industries. We are moving away from people using their gut to make decisions and toward more scientifically driven decisions. This is happening across industries and it's even affecting the design of organizations. It's truly a revolution.
BL: Any final thoughts?
IW-B: Radically different times demand new and different thinking. IT leaders need to take a very strategic view and help lead the organization into the future.
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