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Predictive modeling's uses in finance, retail; what is a cloud architect?

Ever since the financial crisis of 2008, finance departments have been skeptical of the value of predictive modeling. Still, they’re finding that current models are more advanced, and that collaborating with IT with analytics and stress testing is advantageous in today’s tricky risk landscape, Senior News Writer Nicole Laskowski explains in this week’s Data Mill.

Many retailers are buying into preemptive shipping, an anticipatory system that ships goods before consumers even buy them. Igor Elbert, data scientist for one such retailer, high-end fashion and home wares retailer Gilt, spoke with Laskowski how he uses predictive modeling and machine learning to power the company’s preemptive shipping practice, as well as the challenges he faces doing so.

What exactly are cloud architects? And are they critical to a company’s success? In a series of Ask the Experts, analysts Kyle Hildendorf of Gartner and James Staten of Forrester illuminate the role. In four parts, find out how each analyst describes the cloud architect’s function, why companies require one, what skills a cloud architect should have, and more.

Independent consultant and SearchCIO columnist Bryan Barringer is no stranger to the process of getting a small business up and running — at the ripe age of 12, he inspired his family to start a video rental business, which eventual became Blockbuster. In his inaugural column of a series, the self-professed “serial entrepreneur” imparts advice on how take your idea and turn it into a burgeoning business.

In other SearchCIO happenings…

If Apple CEO Tim Cook’s open letter is any indication, Apple is looking to put user privacy front and center of its business strategy — a smart move in light of recent security troubles and product releases that will constitute the iOS 8 ecosystem. For CIOs, this could mean that soon, employees will be using both personal and corporate devices to store various types of data, which has the potential to put IT in a tight corner. In Searchlight, see how an expert suggests to balance the fine line of user trust and data privacy.

Figuring out the value of using the cloud isn’t as simple just evaluating the services you’re looking to employ. It’s a little more complex than that, said Forrester analyst James Staten — it requires analyzing the business problem you’re looking to solve, and you can’t do it in a vacuum. On the Total CIO blog, Features Writer Kristen Lee outlines how CIOs can go about the challenge of performing a cost analysis for the cloud.

When it comes to business intelligence (BI) and data analytics, small businesses are behind their large brethren — and no wonder, because it takes a lot of financial and human resources to power the platforms to support those systems. But that’s changing. On the CIO Symmetry blog, read how BI tools such as Tableau Software’s tablet app are making data visualization more accessible for SMBs.

As technologies continue to innovate at a breathtaking pace, so do the skill sets modern IT departments need to keep up with them. In SearchCIO’s #CIOChat recap on the topic of IT hiring in the midst of today’s tech skills gap, learn how participants and experts advise employers and IT professionals to adapt, or risk falling behind.

Have you, like many CIOs and IT leaders, been faces with the quandary of whether to build or buy your organization’s big data architecture? Join SearchCIO’s editors and experts for our next #CIOChat on Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 3 p.m. EDT to talk about what big data means for your company, and whether building, buying or blending is the right decision.

And on SearchCompliance…

E-discovery continues to be a tricky task for businesses as big data continues to expand and, consequently, the list of legal and regulatory compliance mandates grows longer. In SearchCompliance’s latest handbook, get e-discovery tips and strategies to get the best of legal complications that can arise in today’s big data age.

According to a report partly conducted by FTI Consulting Inc., the daunting combination of data protection regulations and China’s state secrecy rules is becoming a massive concern for businesses that conduct business and e-discovery in Asia. In SearchCompliance’s Q&A with FTI Consulting Senior Managing Director Veeral Gosalia, get deeper into the study results and learn how various legal obstacles have affected multinational business dealings.

More light has been shed on Home Depot’s customer data breach, according to former information security staff members’ interview with Businessweek. In the latest IT Compliance Advisor roundup, read how lack of security oversight contributed to the vulnerability; plus, find out more on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s probe into corporate executives’ insider transactions, as well as how governance and other factors impact stock performance.

And that wraps it up for this week! Stay tuned for next week’s Symmetry roundup; in the meantime, keep on top of our stories by following @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance.

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