bridge_with_sun_shining_through_spansI don’t count anymore, but I believe it is the third or fourth year in a row that analytics and business intelligence have been ranked in the Top 3 priorities of a CIO. You as analytics-friends believe, “Ah good news, the attention is all ours.” But is that correct? One could easily state that CIOs, their BICCs, and all their analytics resources have failed, since apparently they didn’t do their job. Otherwise analytics wouldn’t be in the Top 3 anymore …. 

CIO_priorities

In fact, there are a few good reasons why analytics remains in the top priority list. One of them is called digital transformation:

  • Digital transformation to a big extent is dependent on analytics when it comes to getting value out of changed or new business models.
  • The vast majority of digital transformation initiatives are driven by analytics. Think of the Internet of Things or the countless Big Data projects.
  • To more quickly respond and adapt to business performance, more and more enterprises have started using the closed loop portfolio. This closed loop leverages all aspects of analytics, tightly integrating business intelligence, planning, predictive analytics, and risk and compliance.
  • But there’s more. CIOs have started adopting Bimodal IT. Driven by the digital economy CIOs need to act more agile towards business while —in parallel—respecting and maintaining their traditional way of delivering reliable and stable information systems. The agility comes from the business-centric approach and strongly focuses on connecting resources, insights, and business models.

Digital Transformation Requires Bimodal IT

Bimodal IT is the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the other on agility. Mode 1 is traditional and sequential, emphasizing safety and accuracy. Mode 2 is exploratory and nonlinear, emphasizing agility and speed.

Bimodal IT graph

Surveys genuinely agree that Bimodal is the preferred approach for a CIO to deliver better digital performance. CIOs have long recognized the power of platform approaches to information and technology architecture. What’s different now is that new digital opportunities and evolving threats, including new commercial and ethical challenges, reveal that platform dynamics need to penetrate all aspects of the business. And one of the most important aspects happens to be business analytics and business intelligence.

Bimodal IT Breathes Agility and Business Centric Approach: Analytics as a Service

The second mode of Bimodal IT is new and interesting. The key words here are agility, customer experience, and business centricity. And it is exactly these elements that drive analytics again to the top of the CIO’s priority list. No wonder:

  • Agility : The agility towards IT management and digital transformation requires enterprises to really quickly respond to change. To judge, adapt and value this change, immediate insights are needed. Insights which are created by analytics. The agility here should be seen in its widest framework, taking also into account that digital transformation for the CIO means working with constantly changing small teams. These teams require the analytics as a service-product they can use as needed.
  • Customer experience: In previous blogs, I explained the importance of customer experience as part of digital transformation. The focus is on a contextualized and personalized experience for the customer. And again business analytics play a key role here. Initially B2C —but soon B2B—customers want personalized and tailored information in real-time any place anywhere, as part of their user experience.
  • Business centric: Today’s Bimodal CIOs drive their architectures based up business centricity. Business priorities guide IT priorities; business direction and strategy guide IT direction and strategy. This is the only way to adapt to digital transformation and its accompanying initiatives. Business is crystal clear—they require analytics that is easy to use, agile towards data blending and visualizations, but yet still governed to a certain extend.

Buffet Model: Analytics as a Service-Product

buffet_happy_people_cartoonThe above will need the CIO to work with analytics in an adapted way. Analytics needs to be offered as a service product that the business or instant project teams simply adapt and consume. To be successful, the analytics capabilities should be extremely agile while still respecting the core of data governance (delivered through mode 1 of Bimodal IT). Personally, I believe this can be done using a kind of analytics buffet.

The analytics buffet might serve following components:

  • Governed self-service storyboards on key domains of corporate data
  • Governed self-service data sets on key domains of corporate data
  • Governed managed dashboards for online data exploration on key domains of corporate data
  • Governed ready-to-use analytical views and/or semantic layers on the in-memory corporate systems for performing operational BI and allow to blend with non-corporate data

This blog originally appeared on Iver van de Zand’s blog and has been republished with permission.