by Mark Raskino | March 5, 2014 | 2 Comments
This week I have noticed two new major Chief Data Officer (CDO) appointments, showing that this C-suite trend is continuing to progress steadily. We do not believe it’s a fad. As enterprises slowly recognize the centrality of information to their business strategies and the need to manage it as an asset, the requirement for active, executive level management becomes obvious.
- One of America’s biggest banks, Wells Fargo, appointed Mr. A. Charles Thomas as its CDO – an action significant enough to warrant a short article by Wall Street Journal technology editor Michael Hickens. This CDO reports to the bank’s CIO.
- The City of San Francisco revealed that Ms. Joy Bonaguro has started work as its CDO. Aptly for this digital age, the news came via a tweet from its CIO.
Several trends are confirmed by these appointments:
- Most CDO appointments are in the United States. It does happen in Europe and elsewhere, but its still heavily US dominated.
- The top two industries creating true CDO roles are banking and government.
- Women are highly visible in this role. About a quarter of CDOs so far, are female. That’s double the percentage in the CIO population.
However one trend is being challenged. Up to now, we have noticed nearly all the CDOs in the US are on the East Coast – and mostly within three cities: New York, Washington DC and Boston. These two major appointments are both located in San Francisco. It appears that the #1 tech state is starting to get the CDO idea too.
Is your organisation considering creating a true (C-level of thereabouts) chief data officer role? We have been tracking this for a couple of years. We have a detailed job description template and other useful research reports to help you get the rationale and the scoping right first time.
Category: Uncategorized Tags:
by Mark Raskino | February 17, 2014 | 2 Comments
Recently I returned to one of my amateur hobby projects: data visualization. The dataset from all of Gartner’s published hype cycle reports, is a good size to play with. There are over 2000 technology profiles, tracked and updated by Gartner analysts early in the second half of every year. If you can show all that data on screen at the same time, some patterns jump out. There are at least three major observations I can see in the 2013 data:
The technology pipeline is full.
All the way back to the trigger point on the left side of the curve, our analysts are tracking many new technologies. There is no sign that the information technology world is running out of innovation (sorry Tyler Cowan – I’m just not seeing a great stagnation here)
The technology flow is fairly even
I have been tracking our hype cycles for many years. There are times when some parts of the cycle get a bit thin, while others are fuller. That tends to create slowdowns and speed-ups in pressure on companies to adopt new things. Right now it would appear that the flow is fairly constant, whether you are an early, mainstream or late adopter.
Very few technologies die
We often point out that after the hype, few technologies really die. It is true that many emerge from the trough of disillusionment only to find narrow, niche markets. That may disappoint fans and investors who got overexcited early on. But nearly every technology eventually finds some use. (Note: the hype cycles track technologies, not individual products or companies). On the chart below you can see this observation as a lack of red bubbles - where our analysts are calling “obsolete before plateau” .
Category: Uncategorized Tags:
by Mark Raskino | January 16, 2014 | Comments Off
Wednesday January 15th 2014 was a classic dull, grey, wet day across the UK – as seen from my airplane window, on a day trip from London to Glasgow. The flights gave me the luxury of time to properly read a proper, high quality broadsheet newspaper: the Financial Times. The FT has a major section every day called ‘companies’ where its writers provide analysis of what’s going on in the corporate world. Here’s an interesting thing: 11 of the 34 articles, had at their core, the issue of IT and digital change to business models, industries and markets.
Here are some of the issues:
- The emergence of ”Zapp”- a smartphone app payment system, being built by Vocalink – an entity created by a consortium of 18 UK banks. Zapp hopes to fend off threats from other players in this hotly contested area of future banking.
- The news that one of those potential players – Square – is valued at around $5Bn, after some shares were privately traded.
- Private equity partner firms considering the IPO of an online travel company they have stitched together from multiple acquisitions – including “Opodo” – a company originally founded by a consortium of European airlines during the dot com boom.
- Alan Mulally – CEO of Ford, reported saying that “personal mobility” is at the center of the company’s strategy thinking. In the industrialized world, young people are becoming far less interested in driving and car ownership. That is in part because the internet, mobile and social give them such freedom of personal interaction without movement.
It is also because electric, self driving and digital media service vehicles will fundamentally transform our relationship to cars, and thus the selling propositions for them.
- ASOS, the highly successful UK based but internationally operating online-only fashion retailer, announced revenue growth of 37% in just 4 months.
- But Debenhams – a major traditional UK department store had a poor Christmas holiday season – with financial and retail sector analysts remarking that it may be “behind the curve” with its online offering.
January 15th wasn’t a special day. You can expect to see more and more of this kind of industry change and disruption news, as the era of digital business heats up. Tech-related structural change is set to be a major topic of boardroom conversation this year and next. CIO’s should make sure they are well informed, broad thinking and ready to give a business strategy opinion – if they are invited into the conversation.
Category: Uncategorized Tags:
by Mark Raskino | December 16, 2013 | Comments Off
At this time of year I am busy co-writing our annual CIO resolutions report and analyzing the early data returned from our new annual CEO survey. It made me think about the relationship between the two roles and what kind of tech gift might inspire a bigger conversation in 2014. Here are some ideas that I came up with – what others would you add?
For the transportation and logistics CEO – a drone.
After the Amazon “Prime Air” PR – it just has to be a drone doesn’t it? Playing with one might help a business leader get a better sense for the idea. There’s the easy to use, app controlled, Parrot AR Drone. Or you might splash out on something more professional – there are now plenty of quad copters and octo-copters, offered for use as camera platforms to the TV and movie industries.
For the CPG CEO – a 3D printer
By now everyone has seen this technology in the press or on TV, but maybe your CEO hasn’t experienced one in action, up close. The power of what a cheap consumer 3D printer can do is awesome – so it’s a bit like introducing a 1979 CEO to the Apple II microcomputer. Pick one from the may consumer 3D printers but also point him to the Porsche website , where he or she can download a file and print out a Caymen S model as a starter project.
For the fashion industry CEO – a connected smart watch
Wearables are definitely going mainstream and the first smart-watches are already out there. Are they too ugly? Do they do anything useful? Can you start carrying your phone in a less accessible, hidden pocket now? It’s just one of those things I expect you have to wear for a few days to get a true opinion on. There are plenty to choose from – browse smart watch news
For the Insurance Industry CEO - Oakley Airwave ski Goggles
The internet of things is coming. It doesn’t just change the game for product companies – it creates many “business moments” of opportunity. These ski goggles connect to an iPhone, track your skiing movements and relay them into a head mounted display. There’s a multi-button wrist controller to connect the two devices. Imagine the moment of adrenaline and fear, staring down an almost-too-hard off piste run. Now – shouldn’t an insurer’s logo be on one of those controller buttons?
For any information-based industry CEO – a very large UHD (4K) TV
You’ve got data – BIG data – but maybe it’s not being properly exploited. It’s an unseen asset. Why not generate some killer art-style data visualizations and pop them on a memory stick and show them on one of these fantastic screens, mounted on the wall in your CEO’s office waiting lounge area. 8,294,400 pixels, sure can display a lot of data-points.
For a health industry CEO – a gift basket of different personal health sensor devices
There are so many personal and wearable smart health sensors these days – for weight, pulse ox, cardiac rhythm, blood pressure, glucose, physical activity etc. Many integrate with smartphones to help people gamify and change their personal health habits. Make sure your CEO is fully aware of progress.
Category: Uncategorized Tags:
by Mark Raskino | December 4, 2013 | Comments Off
I’m often asked whether the CIO should report to the CEO and why. About 40% do; the majority don’t – even in this digital age when tech seems so important to everything. Looking back at the last 15 years or so, I think it’s quite clear that CIOs usually report to CEOs when there is a “great” IT mission in play. If there isn’t one, then IT is more of a maintenance function making sure business-as-usual runs smoothly – and that might not warrant the CEO’s frequent attention.
A great IT endeavor is one where a technology based change to the business is going to have a multi-year, material affect on financial performance. That means either the revenue or the profit of the company is impacted in a way the investors will notice and care about. There have been many of these great endeavors – some of them quite general purpose and multi-sector for example:
But often the great endeavor is industry specific. And sometimes an industry can have a fallow period where there is no obvious IT great endeavor. For example I spent many years in airline IT, where over the decades there have been a number of great endeavors that had huge bottom line implications:
Frequent flyer programs
Schedule and reschedule optimization
Web direct selling
Most of these things were capable of moving the profit margin of an airline by a couple of percentage points – with serious financial performance and competitive effects. But it’s hard to see a new thing of quite such scale in the airline industry right now. Giving crews tablets is cool – but it won’t be big enough to move the share price of a large airline ( e.g. “IPads Help Airlines Cast Off Costly Load of Paper In the Cockpit, Navigation Charts Go Digital; American Sees $1.2 Million in Fuel Savings” ). I have no doubt something really big will arise again for airlines, from some combination of newer technologies: mobile, social, cloud, data science, robotics etc. ( if you know what that thing is – let me know ).
This week we all saw the video from Amazon, suggesting that one day soon battery powered, autonomous octo-copters might bring goods to your door. Others have already had that idea – like the Dominoes pizza “Domicopter“. Perhaps “drone delivery” is a new great endeavor in the making, for a generation of transportation and logistics CIOs. Reports suggest experiments of some kind have probably been undertaken at UPS and FedEx. From such ripples, massive industry progress waves arise – as we are seeing with the arrival of e-cigarettes in the “tobacco” industry.
Every CIO should ask himself or herself: what is the *great* endeavor in my industry, in my time. If it isn’t in play yet, is it coming soon? If it hasn’t been invented yet – could my team be first?
Category: Uncategorized Tags:
by Mark Raskino | November 28, 2013 | Comments Off
The quote in the title of this post comes from Peter Sondergaard‘s section of the Gartner Symposium keynote 2013. I just keep on seeing more examples that show how it is true. This week I noticed 3 news stories that provide more evidence.
Argos Digital Store
Reuters reports that Argos is introducing “digital stores”. Argos is a major UK home goods retailer, that for many years has operated an unusual catalog shopping in-store model. Now it is doing away with paper catalogs and replacing them with tablet based versions. Take a look at the picture – perhaps this is one way store based retailers can compete with Amazon.
Marlborough maker to introduce an e-cigarette in 2014
The Wall Street Journal reports that PMI – the manufacturers of Marlborough and other big brand cigarettes has announced it will enter the e-cigarette market next year. It will be joining Lorrilard, BAT and others who have already responded to the rapid growth in this category that has been largely developed by start-ups. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is just an “electrical” product. Lorrilard’s “blu” brand already has wireless and social features. Digital innovation in this area will become very lively indeed.
Coca Cola and Target are setting up technology incubators in India
The excellent online news source Quartz reports that these major US firms are investing in tech firms in India to help generate digital business ideas and opportunities.
The definition of a ”tech” company has been changing for several years. Many companies that apply information technology to serve a customer need have been categorized this way by the business media and the investment community – even if they don’t sell technology. LinkedIn, Groupon, Twitter, Pinterest and others are seen this way. If non-tech firms start to apply information technologies directly in what they are selling – surely they are becoming tech companies too? We must at least admit that the boundary is becoming very fuzzy indeed. Tesco sells its own Tablet called Hudl and has its own streaming movie service called Blinkbox, Nike makes and sells Fuelband, Nissan has declared that it will introduce a self-driving car (one might say ‘robot’) by 2020. Technology will become a central competency for many more companies over the next few years.
Category: Uncategorized Tags:
by Mark Raskino | November 20, 2013 | 6 Comments
This week I attended an interview presentation at the UK’s Institute of Directors ( IoD ) . The interviewee was Simon Calver, the CEO of Mothercare – a 52 year old British high street retailer with over 300 stores and $1Bn in revenue, specializing in baby and toddler care products for new parents. During his talk, Simon said a number of interesting things but one quote stood out to me:
“First and foremost we will be a technology business”
He pointed out that the company already gets about 25% of its sales online with a double digit growth rate, while its store business has low single digit growth. No surprise then that he also said
“There’s no reason why we can’t think of that [online] eventually becoming over 50% – that’s an aspiration”.
Simon came to Mothercare from Lovefilm.com an online video rental company founded in 2002, which as CEO he helped sell to Amazon. But he wasn’t always a dot.com guy. His career started in marketing and business operations at Unilever and Pepsi. He also spent time at Dell. So he has a balanced view of both sides of the business world – the digital side and the traditional side.
Later in his talk he said: “Every retailer should ask themselves: ‘what would this business look like if it was over 50% online’ “.
I couldn’t agree more. If Mothercare has already reached the 25% tipping point – every company should take heed. But Simon was also careful to point out that he will
“Use the stores as competitive advantage in an omnichannel model”.
The key insight is that the stores and their staff can offer a service experience – for example measuring a mother to be for maternity bra, or fitting a baby seat into car safely.
I am absolutely convinced we will hear many more traditional business CEOs declare ”we must become a technology business too” over the next 2 or 3 years – and they won’t all be retailers. The digital business revolution is well underway.
Simon (right) Calver at the IoD November 2013
Category: Uncategorized Tags:
by Mark Raskino | November 7, 2013 | 1 Comment
The title of this post, is the title of a presentation I have been giving at our Symposiums in the US and Japan. Next week I will deliver it in Barcelona ( session link here ). It’s a position. It’s one I have taken several years to become confident of. I now believe that in due course, every single industry will be deeply digitally disrupted and new mastery will be required. Today’s leading incumbents might change enough to remain in charge, but sometimes they will lose to new entrants coming in from unusual directions. Many boards have read Clayton Christensen, but it’s still very difficult for big public companies to overcome the innovator’s dilemma in practice.
Often the changes taking place will fail to follow previous template patterns and so business leaders will misread and ignore them until they become perilous. In that regard, digital disruption is rather like a retrovirus – it keeps mutating and changing shape. So, just because you have understood how to deal with the way e-commerce dis-intermediates, doesn’t mean you know how to cope with the effects of crowd-funding that social has enabled.
Most importantly, the physical technologies: 3D printing, the wireless and sensor enabled ‘internet of things’ and intelligent robotics – now put all the physical industries in play. It is not just the information and service industries anymore. We all saw and understood how music and news could be disrupted. These were inherently ‘bit’ industries (as Nicholas Negroponte pointed out a long time ago). Now the ‘atom’ industries are all set to be deeply revolutionized – with unpredictable consequences.
For me, the tipping point example was the e-book. Amazon had already taken a big chunk of control over the book industry by 2006 by revolutionizing its distribution with e-commerce. The second step was to revolutionize ‘book’ ( deliberate grammar ). The very concept of book – what it is, how it works, the rights over it, the function of it, the price of it – the “who gets paid what” of it – all those things are changed. An e-book has fewer “pages”, it’s average price has more to do with what Amazon and Apple think it should be – than your favorite 150 year old publishing company. When you die – it won’t be passed down to your relatives – but if you lose it, it can magically reappear in your hands and remember what page you were on. This kind of profound change to products and services themselves is the new digital revolution that lies ahead of us.
Now we have confirmatory examples – it’s happening to cars and its even happening to tobacco. Every time, it looks different, like a retrovirus. For example I just mentioned tobacco. What do you think about “electronic cigarettes” - are they part of the ‘digital’ revolution or is that something else? Well, they contain a micro-controller and they recharge via USB. Some already have limited wireless capabilities – so you decide.
There will be no exceptions. Every product and every service will be revolutionized over the coming decade. So much so, that old core competencies will be gutted and replaced. But don’t ask me to predict what will happen to your industry – you have to invent that. There’s no pre-packaged business application software this time. But there has never been a better time for those who understand what technology is capable of and have the creativity to exploit it.
If a cigarette can be digitally substituted then almost ANYTHING can.
Image Source: Michael Dorausch via Wikimedia Commons CC.
Category: Uncategorized Tags:
by Mark Raskino | November 6, 2013 | 1 Comment
Whenever a new job role or title emerges in business, the reaction is usually a mixture of confusion, misinformation, conflation and denial. My role as a Gartner analyst is to help in creating research that will answer questions chief executives have about IT and business. So when a new C-level leader title arrives, related to IT, I need to be able to explain it. Is it real or has a trend been over interpreted from just a handful of cases? Why are companies creating the role and what does it really do?
Chief Data Officer is one of those titles that has been rising in visibility over the last 2 or 3 years. My analyst colleagues in our information management team, research the tools and techniques that these leaders will apply – such as Infonomics, MDM, Data Science and Open Data. My task is to ensure we can answer the CEO’s questions about CDOs – things like “who are these people?” and “do I need one?”. So I have been taking another look at the early-bird CDOs recently.
Here are five 2013 CDO facts that might interest you.
CDO Fact #1 There are over 100 chief data officers (carrying that actual job title) – serving in large enterprises today. That’s more than double the number we counted in 2012.
CDO Fact #2 Banking, Government and Insurance are the top 3 industries for Chief Data Officers – in that order. However we are now seeing other industries rising.
CDO Fact #3 65% of Chief Data Officers are in the United States. 20% are in the UK. There are now CDOs in over a dozen countries.
CDO Fact #4 Over 25% Of all Chief Data Officers are in New York or DC. It’s a regulatory catalyzed trend – at least in the early stages.
CDO Fact #5 Over 25% of Chief Data Officers are women. In case you are wondering - that’s almost twice as high as for CIOs (13%)
New, technology related C-leader titles are like buses: you wait for ages – then 3 come along at the same time. We are also watching the “chief digital officer” role very carefully. At this stage I think the ratio of digital officers to data officers is around 2:1. It’s a real large-enterprise C-leader role, but it has different industry clustering. There is also a rapid rise in the number of people carrying the job title “chief data scientist” – however at this early stage the majority of those professionals are in smaller technology and information analytics specialty services firms.
Category: Uncategorized Tags:
by Mark Raskino | October 24, 2013 | Comments Off
With enormous relief, over the course of this year I have come to the conclusion that we are at last returning to the idea of truly, strategically, inventive IT leadership. It’s an idea that has been so suppressed for a decade or more, that I was almost giving up hope.
A few weeks ago, I was privileged to be asked to present some Gartner Research perspectives at an event for the awarding of the Fisher-Hopper prize. This award was created, late in their lives,by Max Hopper (founder of American Airlines SABRE) and Don Fisher ( CEO co-founder of clothing company Gap ). Both men shared a vision of CIOs as inventive leaders within their organisations – discovering and applying whole new methods of business organisation and optimization, using the power of computing. It won’t surprise you that this year’s winner, from the retailer Kroger, spent time in his acceptance speech acknowledging his years at FedEx and the influence of its founder Fred Smith - another true IT believer. But Fisher and Hopper felt an unease at the turn of the century – that the CIO was becoming too much of an order-taker / service-provider. There had to be more to the role than simply implementing the next standard business application software package, followed by a series of incremental adaptation requests from “the business”. So they set up a lifetime achievement award to recognize great CIOs, who have made strong original technology enabled business contributions to their organisations and to the evolution of the role. Interestingly, the judging panel consists of serving and ‘renaissance’ CIOs – retired executives who knew what it was to create moderately enduring competitive advantage, through inventing new IT enabled business methods. I am convinced Fisher and Hopper were right to create this important award. The leaders from a decade or two ago, have a lot to teach the current generation by mentoring.
In the period 2002 through 2007, I believe many business leaders sent IT to the strategic “dog house” – because it had generally swaggered, threatened, over promised and under-delivered. In the 4 years 1998 to 2001, those business leaders had invested a lot of net new money, to get past Y2K and to buy into all the new big packaged IT business ideas – CRM, ERP, Supply Chain Management, E-Commerce, Collaboration etc. For too many, the experiences were nightmarish. Major business applications projects took many years to pay back, not 18 to 24 months as the e-business bulls mislead them believe. Sometimes, the consequences of late and failed major IT projects cost CEO’s their jobs. And all the money spent on Y2K, won companies only a rushed and expensive desktop refresh, but not much else. Dark doubts lingered that the whole thing was some sort of IT industry scam in which CIOs had been complicit. So IT leaders were asked to clean up their act. We standardized and consolidated systems, we outsourced and off-shored, we secured and cost-controlled, we professionalized with COBIT and ITIL. We learned to manage demand, optimize portfolios, create shared services, perfect SLAs, partner with vendors, and recently even to support BYOD. In fact, despite initial howls of protest, in many ways CIOs did their level best to demonstrate that Nicholas Carr was right with the sentiment of his 2003 bombshell HBR article title: “IT doesn’t matter“. Collectively it seemed that IT leaders were being asked to standardize to the point where there was little or no chance of competitive differentiation using IT.
In the mean time, business leaders found easier paths to to profit glory. They fed on cheap money, whether it was directly lent by banks to fund corporate investment led expansion – or lent to the Western consumers at the end of every value chain, driving binge and bubble growth. In parallel they pursued high risk, high reward M&A strategies or setup shop in the BRICS countries to sell to the rapidly expanding emerging markets middle classes, while milking fatter margins from cheap labour cost-cutting. Frankly, business leaders didn’t need much deep IT enabled business innovation they just needed more of the same kind of IT at the same or better marginal cost – to fuel cookie cutter business recipes for expansion. But as we all know, in 2008 the debt fueled global party stopped.
Of course the last 5 years since the Lehman crash, have held everything back. Business leaders first had to slash back operations and that included deep IT cost cutting. Only by 2010 could they even start to think about post great- recession growth mechanisms. But in 2011 and 2012, aftershocks and secondary factors – like the Euro crisis and the ‘fiscal cliff’ fear delayed still further the opportunity to act on new strategic insights.
Now CEOs are ready. Many recognize that behind them lie 10 years of fallow-field opportunity. Technology has been completely revolutionized in that time, but it has been very under exploited. They have relatively done little, with dynamic BPM, mobile, social or cloud - in business strategy terms. They have barely started to understand the richness of opportunity the emergence of big data and the internet of things could bring. But they know it matters. Because companies like Amazon, Apple and Google have applied these capabilities to take a big chunk of control of the destinies other people’s industries – from music to movies and books to cars.
When CEOs turn to their own current IT organisation capabilities, they find them wanting. The IT function is perfectly tuned for for the job they have designed it to do – passive incremental order taking – but not for strategic innovation and direction setting. So the CEO tries to hire a new kind of CIO, sets a new technological outlook ambition for the firm and may also be prepared to fund higher risk models of internal innovation – all to catch up. The inventive CIO is reborn. This new CIO takes one look at the long list of dull-edged technology provider contracts supporting a long list of uninspiring incremental back office system maintenance and minor changes – and immediately recognizes a basic fact. We can’t get where my CEO wants to go with this level of semi-detached IT capability. Significant re-internalization and technology core competency building is inevitable. We see this starting to happen in automotive and retail already. We’ll see it in Pharma, CPG and others next.
The inventive CIO will strive to develop unique new technology capabilities for competitive advantage, using a powerful and creative internal technology resource base. If your company wants to remain a leader in your industry, information and technology must become a core competency again.
Category: Uncategorized Tags: