Nexus of New Forces - Big Data, Cloud, Mobile and Social

Michael Hedges, VP and CIO, Medtronic
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Michael Hedges, VP and CIO, Medtronic

A strategic technology may be an existing technology that has matured and/or become suitable for a wider range of uses. It may also be an emerging technology that offers an opportunity for strategic business advantage for early adopters or with potential for significant market disruption in the next five years. These technologies impact the organization's long-term plans, programs and initiatives. When considering innovation, organizations cannot ignore the new forces: Big Data, Cloud, Mobile and Social. What is interesting is that most of these forces have an effect outside of the corporate walls, mostly in the cloud or directly in the consumer's pocket. The value of these forces will materialize for the organizations that can seamlessly combine the information or business functionalities with their existing systems; integration is a requirement. The connectivity and scalability of integration platforms must cope with the increased volume of information exchanges.

Analytics is increasingly delivered to users at the point of action and in context. With the improvement of performance and costs, IT leaders can afford to perform analytics and simulation for every action taken in the business. The mobile client linked to cloud-based analytic engines and big data repositories potentially enables use of optimization and simulation everywhere and every time. This new step provides simulation, prediction, optimization and other analytics, to empower even more decision flexibility at the time and place of every business process action.

Challenges in Meeting the Needs of Enterprises

I look forward to more use of mobility, more cloud (both private and public), and the utilization of 'big data'. In addition, we need to be very aware of cyber security; everything we build or buy must include a security review/security element. I would expect technology providers to offer not only tools but also ideas and education on how these tools will help drive something within the business (change, growth, productivity, etc.). I also expect them to clearly articulate that buying (for example a cloud solution), may just be the start; much work may still be necessary to integrate into existing legacy systems.

Although we do well in many areas, one that could always be improved is actionable analytics. We need to use data as a driver for growth and identifying new business models. The days of the one data warehouse are dead. The future is going to be about tying together multiple sources of data, both external and internal, to drive some significant event. Secondly, cyber security and privacy regulations are becoming big issues. We can't know future events and their impact, so we need to constantly assess developments in this area, being careful not to minimize or overstate the situation, in order to stay ahead of these issues whenever possible.

Technology Trends Impacting Enterprise Business Environment

First is Mobility. This is very important and we will in the future adopt more mobile cloud based applications. This includes personal or private clouds where employees will be able to do their jobs more effectively from anywhere at any time. Secondly we have Big Data and Analytics. We have implemented HANA so we can leverage and use very large sets of data at great speed and use this for predictive as well as actionable analytics.

Responsibilities as a CIO

The responsibilities of a CIO are changing in the sense that we must become much more relevant, proactive and helpful, because with the availability of cloud and mobility systems our businesses feel they can do everything themselves. In the past they had no choice but to seek out IT for solutions. The continuing lesson is that our role is rapidly evolving. IT is becoming more and more of a broker of services versus delivering a piece of hardware or software and hence we need to be relevant and proactive in this new role.

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