How CIOs can survive and thrive in a swirl of change

How CIOs can survive and thrive in a swirl of change

Today's CIO has to be able to successfully collaborate across departments, be customer-focused, and tap the power of data analytics.

CIOs face unrelenting change as part of the job description. Today they must deal with change coming at them from all fronts. More than ever before, CIOs now have to knock down walls, connect corporate silos, keep customers in their sights, be willing to fail fast and pivot to a more successful strategy -- one that usually involves wielding the power of data analytics.

[ Related: CIO 100 Winners Turn Analytics Into Money-Making New Products ]

At least these are some of the early themes this week at the CIO 100 Symposium in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. [Disclaimer: the CIO 100 Symposium is produced by's parent company.]

Are You Ready for Analytics 3.0?

The biggest of these challenges today is finding solid footing in the shifting data analytics landscape.

From the early days of analysis reporting and Excel spreadsheets to predictive, real-time data analysis today, CIOs have had to change their approach to data analysis practically every year. Now CIOs should focus on improving management decisions at scale with cutting-edge data analysis tools and techniques.

"You need to be out and ahead of this issue," says Thomas Davenport, author and professor in management and information technology at Babson College, as well as the keynote speaker at CIO 100. He gave attendees a six-step recipe to help them cook up what he calls Analytics 3.0 -- fast, pervasive impact in the age of smart machines.

A Future of Change

Bob Beauchamp, president and CEO of BMC Software, reflected on all the changes tech executives had undergone since he stood on stage at the CIO 100 event in 2002, shortly after the September 11 attacks, as well as what CIOs might have to deal with in the next 12 years.

Going beyond mobility and the Internet of Things, Beauchamp envisions a future where the next-generation gets around in self-driving cars leading to the end of America's fascination with automobiles. These and other cultural changes mean CIOs in certain industries will have to help their companies reinvent themselves through technology.

All CIOs will be affected, of course, if America suffers another "black swan" event, such as terrorism attacks that take out major data centers crippling the cloud services ecosystem or an ebola outbreak forcing people to flee germ-gathering cities for the safety of rural communities. These events, Beauchamp says, will drive data centers back in house and put a whole new meaning to support of remote workers.

While no one can predict what will happen, one thing for CIOs is certain: dealing with unrelenting change, Beauchamp says.

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