Data Is The Key That Ties It All Together

I’ve always looked at technology not just for technology’s sake, but for what it can enable for the business across the board. While speeds and feeds are important to some extent, I need to understand how technology adds to the top line, plain and simple. In today’s enterprises, your technology platform is part of your competitive advantage. It’s been a challenge to link business and IT together, but we’re starting to see it happen. 

There’s no other place I’m starting to see it more and more than in the area of "Big Data." Although already a hyped term, whatever you want to call it, big data, small data, ANY data, the reality is that it’s exploding. Consumers are empowered by social media and sharing honest feedback.  Sales and marketing organizations are hungry to analyze, as close to real time as possible, all this sentiment and feedback, and other external data from blogs, wikis, online surveys, Twitter, Facebook and the tons of other consumer sites. This in turn allows them to re-iterate, revamp, revise and/or further tailor their products and offerings for a more targeted audience. Other areas, such as finance and HR, also want to analyze their own internal data from enterprise applications and internal collaboration tools, in order to better service their employees/customers and maintain employee satisfaction. The reality is that there is data coming from everywhere, in every way shape and form. 

Today, nothing ties the IT environment to the line of revenue-generating businesses more than data.  As I start to see our own sales and marketing strategy roles advise Forrester clients on how to move ahead and leverage data in the age of social media and consumer empowerment, I think about how I/O teams can enable these strategies with the many different capabilities at their reach.  Establishing your cloud models, whether it is private, public or a hybrid environment, is the first step. Efficient, automated, flexible and agile IT environments are the foundation for enabling a variety of different services to be delivered to your internal clients, which in turn, become the end product and/or service to the business’s customer. 

More importantly, now, more than ever, the ties between CIO, I/O teams, and sales and marketing are tightly coupled, and the need for open lines of communication is critical.  IT organizations need to proactively understand what initiatives are underway in sales and marketing and vice versa.  These areas become more highly dependent of each other as enterprises continue to try and maintain their competitive edge in a time where markets are moving rapidly and the rate of change is neck-breaking. The need for a role which understands the dynamic between these functions is critical. A focus must be put on how the combination of these areas can ultimately create the best customer experience.  Because at the end of the day, your customer’s experience is the only thing that matters.

Join us at Forrester's Infrastructure & Operations Forum: “Build The Extended Enterprise: Differentiate With Customer-Centric I&O” on November 9 and 10, in Miami, Florida. We look forward to seeing you there!