Enterprise software and data management strategy guide for CIOs

Managing software and data requires knowing how to align them with the enterprise's needs for efficiency and innovation. Learn more in this CIO guide.

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Software management is a critical and complex function of the IT department in achieving enterprise business alignment and innovation. Controlling and managing data is an even bigger task in an era when unimaginably large data sets are referred to as simply Big Data.

In this CIO Briefing, learn about the techniques and technologies that will help you organize your company's software and data management resources in support of its business goals.

This guide is part of SearchCIO.com's CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic management and decision-making guidance on timely topics. For a complete list of the topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefings section.

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Software management that aligns solutions with the business

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From his first day on the job, Subaru of America Inc. CIO Brian Simmermon saw his role as that of business analyst. Adopting this role is what has allowed him to deliver meaningful innovation by pulling together technology solutions for the company that align with business goals.

"In terms of innovation, I see the CIO's role as that of a senior business analyst, someone who brings to the table new ideas and who works productively with the business side," Simmermon said.

"You can always find a technology to solve a business problem, but you need to find out what the business problem is first," Simmermon said. The role Simmermon and his management team assumed was to be the only group that can see operations from one end of the company to the other, he said. This position is a "luxury," he said, that enables innovation solutions. "When we look to create business innovations and improve business processes, we are mandated to look at end-to-end solutions, not just solutions that are one-offs," he added.

Learn more in "Subaru CIO gets technology to align with business goals.” Also:

IT innovation through software management

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One day Steven John might be able to join a company that is not in dire need of an IT infrastructure overhaul. That day didn't come when he joined $4 billion crop-nutrient and fertilizer supplier Agriliance LLC in 2002 and had to rip out and replace a failed global enterprise resource planning implementation. And it did not come when the C-suite at global adhesives maker H.B. Fuller Co. came knocking on his door in 2007.

It is John's reputation as a "turnaround guy" that caused H.B. Fuller to come calling, and it is the reason we chose to profile him as one of our SearchCIO.com Innovators, a series we are launching this year to showcase business transformation shepherded by IT innovation.

IT innovation was not a term bandied about at H.B. Fuller before John entered the picture: The company's IT department in essence did not exist, having been replaced by a $150 million contract with a large outsourcing firm. "We were writing a very big check every month and had little management [over the contract], or transparency or metrics into the value we were getting out of that relationship. … Aside from a revenue stream for [the outsourcing firm], it wasn't beneficial to either party," said John, CIO of the $1.4 billion St. Paul, Minn., company that develops adhesives, sealants and paints for customers in dozens of markets, and has 3,300 employees worldwide.

Find out more in "A CIO's journey to bring back IT innovation.” Also:

Managing data size and complexity

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When State Street Corp. Executive Vice President and CIO Christopher Perretta crafts his IT strategy, he has a legacy to uphold. The Boston-based financial services company has a reputation for being a leader in technology. These days the cutting edge rests on managing large data sets.

"For us, it is about access to huge amounts of financial data that we can put at our customers' disposal. IT's job is to build the structures that allow them to access it more easily, to augment it and manipulate it much faster than they have in the past," Perretta said.

Warren Ritchie, CIO at Volkswagen Group of America Inc., also has Big Data on the brain. Mining the large data sets generated by the connected car, as today's computerized vehicles are called, is crucial if the automaker is to keep up with its U.S. competitors, he told an audience of CIOs at this spring's Forrester IT Forum. "This is the role IT is trying to get to from a strategy perspective," he said. To that end, he is hiring competitors' specialists who have expertise in connected-car technology.

Learn more in "Large data sets pose huge challenges for CIOs, but boost careers too.” Also:

Controlling data collection with classification and integration techniques

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Chris Brady, CIO of Dealer Services Corp. in Carmel, Ind., is on the hunt for a data management solution that will simplify -- and speed up -- data retrieval for the car dealership finance organization.

Most of the company's data sits in an ERP system. Brady said she's looking at cloud services and advanced data processing capabilities such as columnar databases and parallel processing to speed up data replication and data transfers, and make copies of data more easily accessible.

The catch? The cost of data transactions to a cloud provider can be high. "The cloud sounds great, and I'd love to get there to take advantage of their processing power, but moving massive amounts of data across bandwidth is a challenge, and [cloud providers] charge for bandwidth in and out of the cloud," Brady said.

Find out more in "Data classification vital part of data management solutions.” Also:

More resources

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This was first published in July 2011
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