9 CIO Tech Priorities For 2015 - InformationWeek
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1/20/2015
09:06 AM
Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
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9 CIO Tech Priorities For 2015

What's on the agenda for CIOs this year? Top executives at last week's NRF Big Show had plenty of advice for retailers, but these tips apply to any customer-facing company.
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Data security risks, privacy concerns, big data, and innovation. These were among the hot topics at last week's NRF Big Show 2015 in New York. It's the biggest show in retail, but these are priorities that suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and service firms should consider as well.

This slide show sums up priorities and pointers shared by top executives during NRF educational sessions and "Big Ideas" customer panel discussions sponsored by Alteryx, SAP, and SAS. Here's a sampling of what we learned.

Data security was a hot topic in 2014, with multiple retail security breaches, but any company with a valuable brand has to consider customer data risks, said David Massey, CIO at department store Bealls. It's not enough just to meet requirements like opt-ins and PCI compliance. You must foster internal debate about the value of data collected and the risk of having it exposed.

There are ways to take advantage of mobile and sensor data anonymously, said Brooks Brothers CIO Sahal Laher, with iBeacon, WiFi, and RFID-sensors all presenting possibilities.

Big data and Internet of Things are important CIO priorities for 2015, but eBay entered the big data era 10 years ago. Today, the company is preparing for "gargantuan data." Guyatri Patel, eBay's director of global data infrastructure, said companies should be thinking about real-time data streaming, real-time analysis, and continuous updates of predictive models.

One consistent theme at the NRF show that holds useful lessons for CIOs in any industry is the need to look beyond channels. That's hard for retailers because they started with stores and added catalogs, direct mail, and, most recently, online and mobile options. Multi-channel is a reality in many businesses, but it's important to remember that customers think of you as one company. Who gets credit doesn't matter, and disparate technology systems set up for different channels had better be integrated.

Innovation is another priority for CIOs and other tech leaders. Read on for ideas on how to budget for innovation, how to set aside time for it, and how to pick, choose, and prioritize which projects will go first.

Doug Henschen is Executive Editor of InformationWeek, where he covers the intersection of enterprise applications with information management, business intelligence, big data and analytics. He previously served as editor in chief of Intelligent Enterprise, editor in chief of ... View Full Bio

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IMjustinkern
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IMjustinkern,
User Rank: Strategist
1/28/2015 | 4:59:50 PM
PCI 3?
Any of the chatter hit on expectations (or inability to hit expectations) with PCI DSS 3.0? Seems pressing for retailers small and large. Also wondering, seeing as so many have had breaches/leaks even with PCI compliance, if some are saying the hell with it.
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
1/24/2015 | 10:03:04 PM
Re: Omnichannel
"I complexly agree unfortunately I have only seen a few retailers implementing the reality  of Omni channel, I still receive hard copy flyers and coupons in the mail when they have my email address and my mobile number. "

@impactnow: IOT is going to solve all that. For example, your home appliance IOTs will be able to select groceries for you and other kind of things you might need, and then send a ping to your smartphone at the exact moment you cross a grocery or a hardware store, which would then be content marketing if the hardware store or the grocery store uses omni channel technology.
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
1/24/2015 | 9:59:55 PM
Re: Trying to hit two birds with one stone
"Adressing data risks and at the same time taking advantage of anonymous information without crossing a few boundaries isn't easy as it sounds."

Of course it isn't easy, but again, it should be, if it was then hackers would have the leading edge in cracking down anything we put up. However the materials and infrastructure:both technical and managerial needs to be present. I think your "difficulty" lies there.  
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
1/24/2015 | 9:57:22 PM
Re: Consumer as Chief Strategic Officer
@SunitaT0: I like this kind of an Omni-Channel presentation, I might have to take up on your idea and present it to our boss. If you think about it, CEO as a consumer makes perfect sense. He can tell what the omni channel needs and is missing. 
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
1/23/2015 | 10:30:44 PM
Consumer as Chief Strategic Officer

An Omni-Personal approach begins by putting the customer at the core of your business thinking, before you even start mapping out channels. This means making the unrelenting pursuit of consumer insights paramount to the organization. The exercise begins at the very top, with CEOs and other C-level executives pushing for and demanding stronger consumer findings at all points in the consumer journey. This insights gathering initiative should be lead by research and innovation but should be truly cross-functional, with all different teams asking the important question: what does the consumer want and need?
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
1/23/2015 | 10:23:07 PM
Re: Trying to hit two birds with one stone
"Adressing data risks and at the same time taking advantage of anonymous information without crossing a few boundaries isn't easy as it sounds."

Not easy, but it can be solved. What are data scientists for then? Data risks can be solved with better security in cloud, and cloud security is a hot topic in many firms still: the reason being that cloud security is still loosely based on network security, with a centralized approach, which shouldn't be the case in my opinion.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Ninja
1/23/2015 | 11:52:46 AM
Re: Omnichannel
I complexly agree unfortunately I have only seen a few retailers implementing the reality  of Omni channel, I still receive hard copy flyers and coupons in the mail when they have my email address and my mobile number. One retailer, Macy's recently introduced the ability to redeem coupons via your account without bringing a hard copy coupon. This should be the case for all loyalty incentives as well, if a company gives a client a loyalty incentive why do they make it so cumbersome to use? It should be directly linked to their loyalty number. Groupon has also started seamless redemption by name for some of their offers and it's very convenient especially when travelling or when your phone dies unexpectedly.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
1/22/2015 | 5:34:02 PM
Re: Omnichannel
I did include a few points on Omnichannel. The key theme I kept hearing over and over is that companies have to stop operating in silos. The channels have to be integrated and the customer insight transparent across all channels because customer journeys weave in, out and across multiple channels. Customers assume you know them no matter what channel you're in, and they're really put off when they encounter inconsistencies from channel to channel.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Ninja
1/21/2015 | 1:10:15 PM
Omnichannel

All great points to focus on, but I am curious about whether the retailers had new strategies outlined for implementing Omni channel. Did you see any great examples of Omni channel that are working well?

D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
1/20/2015 | 9:33:50 PM
Three points on innovation: do POCs, set asside time and budget, and set up a matrix of priorities
Personally, I like the three points of advice offered by NRF CIO Council members:

1. Do POCs in which you can gather meaningful measurement and feedback.

2. Set asside time (hackathons and co-innovation days) and money (in a separate budget) for innovation.

3. Set up a matrix of priorities, putting high-value/low-complexity projects first and sidelining low-value/high-complexity ideas.
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