The vast amount of business data generated by IT service transactions presents a largely untapped opportunity for CIOs to become the “enterprise data broker” - feeding intelligence to different parts of the enterprise to help them improve business performance.

In a recent discussion paper, I talked a lot about the changing role of CIOs – and the need to balance agile, service-based IT with their traditional legacy IT. I suggested that innovation should be applied to both sides of this hybrid world, with CIOs tapping into their support networks to ensure they are ahead of the curve.

For this follow-up piece, I’m focusing on how innovation could be applied to the traditional side of the IT see-saw. What new approaches can we take to managing core business applications like HR, finance, CRM, ERP, etc., and what does the future of these applications look like?

Let’s take a moment to consider the huge volumes of IT data generated during the course of normal IT service operations. Not only can this provide useful information about the performance of IT services, it can―if analyzed correctly―also provide valuable insights to the efficiency and effectiveness of internal business processes and user IT interactions.

Yet this is very rarely leveraged or exploited, so there’s a definite opportunity for CIOs to improve internal business performance. By making analytics a core competency of the central IT function, they can empower business users to access the data and insights they need to drive improvements. To make this happen it needs the same thinking and philosophy to be applied to the organization’s internal data as is often applied to its external market and consumer-facing data.

The Enterprise Data Broker

For the CIO to take on this “enterprise data broker” role, they need to be able to manage, govern and analyze the growing data volumes in their traditional IT estate more effectively. A new level of support is required, covering not only technical data management, but also the wider issues around governance and analytics as part of an integrated Data Access Framework (see the diagram below).

Managed Services: The Next Generation

As discussed in Destination Digital, the trend toward platform computing and as-a-service delivery is with us to stay―and I believe it will soon be commonplace within traditional IT environments too. As the demand for enterprise data insight grows, CIOs will be applying innovation to their legacy infrastructure in order to broker that insight. Here’s how I see it:

First, an ‘aaS’ data platform would provide the foundation, aggregating both structured and unstructured data in a type of holding area. Second, would come a new generation of Managed Services, delivering real-time transparency on the performance of IT, including services delivered by cloud suppliers. Finally, analytics would be applied to the IT data to get meaningful information from it and to help make better decisions that positively influence internal business performance.

Big Opportunities…

Today’s proliferation of IT data offers a rich source of information for CIOs to leverage. By offering an analytics function that directly drives business improvements, they can raise the profile of IT across the enterprise and clearly demonstrate its value. This will bring IT far closer to the business, as decision-makers seek out real-time, data-driven insights to inform their strategies.

Such insights will also allow CIOs to improve their own performance. They’ll get more information about users and their behaviors related to specific devices and services, and this will lead to the provision of better support, more operational efficiency and reduced operational overheads.

Further Challenges…

While all of this sounds like good news for both business and IT, it does of course raise a number of questions. Where do you begin? How do you start discussions internally? Is your service provider capable, and on board? Does it align with agreed business and IT strategies? And where is all of this growing data going to be stored?

I’ll be revisiting this topic soon, looking at how to address some of these pressures and further support the CIO’s move to Hybrid IT. In the meantime, please do leave a comment below.

(About the author: David Blackwood is an analyst with Capgemini. This post originally appeared on his Capgemini blog, which can be viewed here).

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