Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

Jeanette Horan, CIO, IBM

Jeanette Horan, CIO, IBM

By Jeanette Horan

Most CIOs will tell you that one of their top priorities is helping functions like sales, marketing, and HR stay agile, collaborative and equipped to make data-driven business decisions.

Take IBM for example. The information that IBM’s many departments need to do their jobs resides among more than one petabyte of Big Data (that’s one million megabytes). That’s a lot of data and business opportunities to be analyzed. For the past few years, IBM has called upon the cloud for business analytics to boost resource flexibility, departmental collaboration and enable faster, more informed business decisions.

At IBM we’ve been able to save $25 million over the past five years. Here’s what we’ve learned…

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Standardized cloud services boost resource flexibility

The cloud standardizes the way computing resources are made available and enables complex organizations to consolidate a plethora of different products into one consistent model.

IBM now uses fewer than five standardized business intelligence tools for the more than 200,000 IBMers who call upon its analytics cloud. This has not only helped IBM cut significant costs, but has also afforded us immense resource flexibility, as the company is now enabling our teams to be more productive and manage fewer computing resources.

Look to analytics for small wins to drive big victories

Whether you are IBM, a big bank or a startup, all of your company programs must contribute to the bottom line. The only way your workforce can drive revenue growth on a consistent basis is if they can make fast, informed business decision backed by solid data.

IBM’s marketing organization, for example, has cloud-based software to manage and integrate cross-company marketing campaigns (and the sales leads that follow) across digital, social, mobile and traditional marketing channels.

This approach has helped us increase direct interactions with first time customers by 32 percent. IBM has also increased customer responses to our marketing outreach tenfold while running fewer campaigns, illustrating the targeted effectiveness that data driven insight can deliver. These types of internal metrics have helped me drive new value and forge a closer relationship with our CMO.

Get more advocates by asking the right set of business questions

So how do you start?  One way to increase the relevancy of the CIO office is to ask critical business questions like, What are your business objectives with this project?  And, What are the key performance indicators?

For IBM, this meant identifying specific goals and obstacles. So, if a marketing manager in a local country wants to minimize “spray and pray” emails in favor of more targeted offerings, we’ve got to ensure customer profile data is up to date and readily available. By revealing the key performance indicators and starting with the end objective in mind, IBM’s technology office is now joined at the hip with its marketing leaders.

IBM can cite how a game-changing technology like cloud-based analytics is playing a key role in breaking down business silos. And for me personally, driving new value and tighter collaboration with my peers inside the business is a metric I (and any CIO) would be proud to sign up for.

SP Cloud Infographic May 2013

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