Hard-pressed CIOs put big data on the back burner

By Derek du Preez
05 Oct 2011 View Comments
Depressed businessman

SAN DIEGO: CIOs are reluctant to drive infrastructure change in the enterprise to accommodate big data analytics, due to a backlog of projects.

Data analytics is more likely to be pushed through by other executives on the board, such as the CEO or CFO, according to Teradata's CEO, Mike Koehler, who was speaking at a Teradata Partner User Group conference in San Diego this week.

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"You look at companies that are leading in analytics and data, and they are treating data as a corporate asset. The data needs to be assembled, governed, managed, integrated and shared. Not all companies are there, and in fact I think the ones who are, are in the minority," said Koehler.

"It takes a change in operations, budget and control, which means it is a big step, and as a result, needs to come from the top. It can be a CEO pushing through a corporate initiative to get visibility to risk across all customers, for example.

"[It might also come from marketing], as a marketing executive also has a lot of visibility of the business because they are intersecting so many departments. It might also be finance that takes the lead because it is a neutral department looking across the corporation."

Hermann Wimmer, president of EMEA for Teradata, agreed with Koehler and said that finance and marketing tend to push for big analytics data.

"Finance probably has the biggest involvement," said Wimmer. "Change is often driven by smart finance people, and by marketing people who have a good influence across the business."

In contrast, CIOs are often less enthusiastic about adopting data analytics.

"A typical corporation today has a lot of things they have to get done and the CIO has a backlog of requests to get through. No company is sitting around waiting for something to do," said Koehler.

"As a result, the CIO is sometimes reluctant to change. In a way, the inertia of the company sometimes gets in the way of doing something differently, changing and centralising their data."

Wimmer agreed: "Setting this up is not an easy thing to do, so they obviously try to start it later. This is the problem. I can see that a CIO has other more pressing challenges."

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