How CIOs can lead their company’s information business

HOW CIOsHere is a brief excerpt from an article written by Janaki Akella, Sam Marwaha, and Johnson Sikes for the McKinsey Quarterly, published by McKinsey & Company. They explain why, in data-driven companies, CIOs — and new chief data officers — should think big and help accelerate bold changes throughout the enterprise. To read the complete article, check out other resources, learn more about the firm, obtain subscription information, and register to receive email alerts, please click here.

To learn more about the McKinsey Quarterly, please click here.

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Companies across industries are placing major bets on big data, expecting it could dramatically improve business processes and overall performance. As they move ahead, one issue that looms large is finding senior-leadership capacity to manage the huge program of organizational change that data analytics demands. Top-team members, fully engaged with their existing responsibilities, often find themselves straining to plan and implement big data strategies.

Senior IT leaders not only are well equipped to lead and shape these activities but also have a huge part to play in accelerating change across the enterprise. To lead this transformation, CIOs must reimagine their role, seeing themselves—and encouraging others to see them—as chief executives of an information business. Like any chief executive, the CIO should bring vision, direction, and organization to the company’s big data investment priorities. That means engaging internal customers on their biggest challenges while attracting the best talent and suppliers; most important, it means being accountable for execution and results. The CIO’s mission encompasses both internal demand (raising the sophistication of analytics among businesses and functions trying to capture evermore value) and supply (spanning technology infrastructure, data, analytics expertise, and intuitive tools to match rising demand). To help companies raise their game on how they use data and analytics for competitive advantage, CIOs should master four critical roles:

o as venture capitalist, showcasing the “art of the possible” to internal customers by highlighting the most promising ideas to apply big data and advanced analytics

o as product manager, assembling easy-to-use big data and advanced analytics “products” designed to match patterns of use by internal customers

o as recruiter, motivating and retaining the best talent

o as business leader, building the discipline to enable transformational change and impact at scale

In this article, we describe some of the steps CIOs are taking in each of these areas and offer insights from the chief executives of information at AIG and Merck.

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Big data represents a transformational shift for the business and a once-in-a-generation opportunity for CIOs to help their companies accelerate bold changes and generate vast value. To seize this opportunity, CIOs need to master four critical roles: as venture capitalist, product manager, recruiter, and business leader.

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Here is a direct link to the complete article.

Janaki Akella is a principal in McKinsey’s Silicon Valley office, Sam Marwaha is a director in the New York office, and Johnson Sikes is a consultant in the Stamford office.

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