Because of our focus in creating and implementing mobile supply chain solutions, we pay close attention to the world of IT, including hot topics, pervasive challenges and upcoming opportunities. To help you frame your strategic IT framework throughout 2015, we’ve compiled a list of the three biggest industry issues. Consider this your cheat sheet as you prepare for what’s ahead—and in our opinion, it’s some pretty exciting stuff.
Top 3 IT Issues in 2015
Leadership and Collaboration
If you’ve been in the IT world for any length of time, you’re likely familiar with the traditional corporate structure in which IT is typically isolated and rather independent from other departments.
The times, they are a-changin’. Given the rapid pace of change in technology, IT’s not just busier than before—there are also more demands on their time when it comes to working with other departments on technology initiatives and other related matters.
That’s exactly why IT leadership and collaboration with other executives and departments made our list. CIOs and IT leaders must be prepared to absorb greater leadership responsibility while breaking down some of the historical divides that may exist between IT and other parts of the company.
One prime example? The CIO and CMO relationship, which previously existed in a largely siloed environment. New research published by Econsultancy shows that only 23% of CMOs think collaboration between the two teams is at or approaching the “right level.”
When you think about it, both teams are in a position to increasingly rely on each other. The marketing department is responsible for initiatives and strategies that help drive brand awareness, sales and lead generation, among other critical business goals. Yet it’s IT that has a better grasp on the current technological landscape and what digital tools and channels will be the best fit to help make marketing goals a reality.
“If both teams are aligned strategically, however, digital transformation can become a reality, which can lead to improved marketing effectiveness, customer experiences and ultimately customer loyalty,” writes Glen Hartman for Econsultancy.
This sort of leadership and collaboration certainly doesn’t happen overnight—and it can be difficult depending on the current company structure and culture. That said, however, it’s an area that’s absolutely worth time and attention from any company’s IT leadership, especially as the need for continued collaboration and synergy will only increase from here.
As the Mobile Supply Chain Company™, mobility is our sweet spot. Yet it’s a topic that can be complex, even daunting, especially when you’re considering implementing an enterprise-wide mobility strategy.
In today’s digital economy, an effective enterprise mobility strategy is about so much more than simply using smartphones and mobile devices to complete work tasks. In fact, in a study published by the IBM Institute for Business Value, organizations interested in embracing mobility “are increasingly focused on developing mobile strategies to help engage, inform and forge new opportunities with customers, partners and employees.”
Mobility is no longer a value-add: it’s a critical part of your overall business strategy and workflow. One example? Leveraging the power of mobility to optimize end-to-end supply chain processes, giving you the technology you need to be more efficient, cost-effective and successful.
Before implementing a mobile strategy, it’s critical to take a close look at your organization as you develop your priorities, what you want to mobilize and what benefits you might expect. That way, you can better evaluate prospective solutions and use them to create tools like mobile apps that will enable you to quickly meet current business requirements and easily adapt to future needs.
Once you have your mobility priorities and action plan identified, it’s a good idea to ensure you have buy-in from other parts of the company and that your mobility strategy will benefit them, too. We’ve already talked about the importance of IT leadership and collaboration, but mobility is undoubtedly more effective when it spans the company rather than being confined to small silos that hinder the full potential of your chosen technology.
Strategic Collection and Application of Big Data
They say information is power. And thanks to the Internet and increasingly widespread technology, we have access to a virtual avalanche of information, otherwise known as big data (or, if you want to get even more specific, hadoop).
The numbers speak for themselves. By the end of 2016, we’ll enter what Cisco calls “The Zettabyte Era,”during which annual global IP traffic will reach 1.6 zettabytes (1 zettabyte = 270 bytes) per year by 2018. And by the end of this year, the worldwide market for big data-related hardware, software and professional services is projected to hit $30 billion.
Stats like these certainly paint a compelling picture. For CIOs and IT executives, however, the real challenge is not only efficiently collecting and harnessing big data, but also analyzing and implementing it in a way that drives strategic business decisions and processes.
That is, after all, the true value of big data. As Greg Satell wrote for Forbes, big data “represents a fundamental shift in how we do things. In effect, big data opens the door to a Bayesian approach to strategy where we no longer try to be ‘right’ based on controlled research and small samples, but rather become less wrong over time as real world information floods in.”
Big data makes companies smarter. And, when used correctly, it can have a lasting impact on the business, including through increased revenue, more efficient operations and better insight into customers that can not only increase the customer base, but also help make them more loyal.
What makes big data tricky is finding an efficient way to not only collect it, but also analyze the information and implement the findings. Before you get started, it’s also important to discover how your company defines big data—the definition and approach will likely vary from business to business. You’ll also want to examine your current data collection tools. Sensors? RFID tags? Machines? Customer transactions? These—and many more—should be combined with Internet-based data to create one large pool from which you can capture trends, behavior, performance and other pertinent analytics, then use those findings to work smarter and faster while better serving your customers.
And there you have it! Once you’ve had time to absorb our thoughts on next year’s IT priorities, we’d love for you to join the discussion. Does our list align with what’s on your immediate radar? Or are there other topics that are demanding increased consideration? Feel free to leave a comment and let us know what’s happening in your company.