This year's CIO Conference was literally awash with data, as speakers highlighted the challenges and strategies that organisations need to adopt as they face the inevitable data tsunami.
With the theme "The Next Decade CIO: Navigating the Data Conundrum", this year's event saw over 150 IT leaders gathered at the Marina Mandarin Hotel in Singapore to ponder current IT issues and to honour the five winners of the CIO Asia awards 2013.
The keynote speaker Puni Rajah, chief analyst at analyst firm Canalys, encouraged those present to "embrace the [mobile] revolution before it is imposed upon you," in her presentation "Data 'Spring': The Revolution will be Mobile".
Photo: Puni Rajah
To give a sense of the power of mobile devices, she highlighted how today's ubiquitous smart phones each hold more compute power than the space craft that first landed on the moon. Companies need to resist the temptation of just "rolling forward into the new year, by changing a little bit, with a bit of growth, a bit of tweaking," warned Rajah.
Instead, companies need to be prepared for these data-intensive times. "Where data capture used to be expensive, it is now casual and abundant, with the possibility of 400 billion transactions a day within the planning horizon of today's companies."
Rajah suggested some strategies that are inspired by the book The Cluetrain Manifesto, which was built around 95 theses.
The first thesis is that "Markets are Conversations", as the Internet has provided a means for anyone to connect and have useful "conversations".
These conversations can help an organisation respond to changing market situations and to grasp business opportunities. "How are you, as providers of enterprise IT, helping organisations to listen and to harness conversations that happen around it?" queried Rajah.
The second theses is that "hyperlinks subvert hierarchy", which have changed the way we relate by bypassing formal hierarchies. Traditionally, competitors in the same industry are alike with similar setups and departments. Now, competitors can look very different as markets get smarter, more informed, and more organised.
"In the progressive world, the org chart is hyperlinked and not hierarchical. You find an expert when you need an expert, and respect for hands-on knowledge wins over respect for abstract authority," observed Rajah.
"While networked conversations may appear confused and sound confusing to traditional corporations, the progressive companies are organising faster than traditional ones, and have better tools, more new ideas, and no rules to slow them down," said Rajah.
Rajah cited how Burberry introduced 'Chatter' to allow employees to socialise issues and solutions via groups, which led to a faster time to market, less stress and a 30 percent reduction in email.
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