CIOs Will Find That the Most Valuable Data Comes From Outside

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Adam Hartung says CIOs are too focused on creating data about internal operations and need to augment that with external data about market conditions.

Companies are awash in data. CIOs have done a great job of building a hardware and software infrastructure that produces data on just about every part of operations.

But today this is merely table stakes. Just like we expect 100 percent IT uptime, today we also expect to never be without real-time information on our operations. However, now that everyone has this timely internal info, it's no longer a competitive advantage. Good internal information is now a minimum requirement, insufficient for assuring success.

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Yet internal data generation (and analysis of that data) is where the vast majority of IT resources are spent. CIOs are too often focused on creating and maintaining an infrastructure that generates internal information that has declining value in a fast-changing world.

Competition today demands business leaders have a lot more information about their marketplaces, including information about customers' use of technology, buying patterns and opinions, and about competitors' changes in price, technology adoption, new products and distribution. Plus companies need information on regulations, global supply chains, commodity prices, economic growth, and so on. The list of external data critical for business decision-making is now longer than the list of important internal metrics.

The "I" in CIO is not for infrastructure management; it's for information. Leading CIOs know they need to spend a lot more management time and IT resources on making sure that they can identify the most important external information for company decision making, obtain that information, track it, and put it into the hands of fellow C-level executives to make the right decisions.

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