CIO Strategy: Data-Driven Culture (Part 1)

Blog Post created by ttucker Employee on Jun 17, 2015

In a recent CSC World article entitled "6 Survival Strategies for CIOs," CTO Dan Hushon writes that CIOs should make data-driven decisions not just about the business but about IT:


"Many firms say they are data driven, but their big data projects focus on customer acquisition. How many perform deep analytics and root cause analysis on their core systems, for continuous improvement? As CIO, you need to put the right metrics behind your progression toward innovation.


"Create a culture that holds itself to a quantitative discipline and establish relevant key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, your goal might be: This year, we’ll spend 30 percent of our time and budget doing something new. If you establish such a goal and can produce results on your investments in innovation, more funding will follow."


This reminds me of an often overlooked fact of TBM: it helps improve data, but not just for managing the business of IT. Instead, by putting dollar amounts on all sorts of data, such as IT assets, CMDB, user entitlements, time tracking, personnel records, utilization data, incidents and more, TBM helps IT improve the overall quality of management data. This has benefits far beyond traditional TBM use cases.


I'll give you an example. One of our Oil & Gas CIO members recently told me how TBM helped improve their user entitlement data. His team discovered that by using entitlements to allocate application costs back to the business units, the business units took notice of their entitlement data. In turn, they helped fix the entitlement errors, such as records that weren't updated after an employee transfer or termination. As a result, the company arguably reduced its risk, improved compliance and made it easier to manage software licenses.


In another example, a Fortune 500 insurance provider CIO found that TBM helped them prioritize their data quality work. By putting a dollar figure on their data, they discovered where to focus. Instead of focusing on data quality problems that represented smaller costs, they focused on those that represented the bigger costs. As it turns out, the bigger costs also represented their most important business applications, assets and labor pools.


Many CIOs tell us their data is bad. They believe this inhibits TBM. But it also inhibits being a data-driven IT organization. No IT leader should think that improving data quality is a TBM problem; it's an IT management problem, and one that impacts IT's ability to deliver efficient and reliable services. TBM helps overcome the IT data quality problem in more ways than one, while providing the more direct benefits associated with TBM.


In our metrics work, we've hypothesized that TBM data quality is an indicator of IT transformation. IT organizations that are well managed, highly automated and data-driven will have good data. In turn, their CIOs foster a data-driven culture. We believe this is more than just a survival skill; executives like Rebecca Jacoby at Cisco, Larry Godec at First American, James LaPlaine at Aol, Debra Bailey at Nationwide Building Society, Carl Stumpf at CME Group and many others use data to thrive in their roles by making a difference for their businesses.