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AR/VR, AI tech make list of best-read Data Mill columns in 2016

CIOs are on to the next new thing. From virtual reality technology to artificial intelligence to digital business, CIOs are educating themselves on all of it, according to this list of the best-read Data Mill columns in 2016. I take this as a very promising sign indeed, for the new year will almost certainly require new ways of thinking and new solutions to meet business challenges.

This roundup is a curated collection from SearchCIO’s Data Mill series, a column created in 2013 to capture “all things data,” as the tagline used to say, in particular the revolutionary impact of big data on business strategy. Looking back at this year’s greatest hits reveals just how much the big data conversation has changed in the span of a few years.

In 2014, the best-read column was a piece on Hadoop, a distributed file system that has become synonymous with big data. Last year, Spark, which processes big data in memory, ranked best. This year, the interest was more nuanced, with AR/VR and AI tech taking top spots.

1. AR/VR will change the way you work

Collaboration software tends to be a thorn in most CIOs’ sides. It can be intuitive, but if employees don’t use it, the investment is a waste. That pain might be eased with augmented and virtual reality technologies, which are poised to change how work gets done in the enterprise, according to two Deloitte Digital consultants. In this column, they describe the role CIOs will play when enterprises adopt AR and VR tech.

2. Bimodal IT doesn’t go far enough

CIOs who are undergoing a digital business transformation are likely familiar with bimodal IT, a term coined by Gartner. Bimodal describes a strategy that separates IT projects focusing on the delivery and maintenance of reliable, industrialized IT services from those innovative, fast-moving projects that require agility. Last spring, Forrester threw shade at the concept, advising that bimodal IT doesn’t go far enough. This column takes a look at Forrester’s research.

3. Define AI tech before investing

The first thing CIOs need before investing in artificial intelligence technology is to understand what AI tech means. Tom Davenport, renowned analytics expert and President’s Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College, says CIOs will need to “disaggregate” the term, especially for C-level executives. He explained what he meant during a fireside chat with Vikram Mahidhar, senior vice president of AI solutions at RAGE Frameworks Inc., at this year’s EmTech, an emerging technology conference hosted by the MIT Technology Review. This column covers the highlights.

4. CFOs on when to renew or replace software

CFOs are changing the way they assess technology investments. Instead of gathering requirements, they’re taking business capabilities such as skills and expertise into consideration. That’s a big change, Leslie Owens, executive director at the MIT Sloan Center for Information Systems Research, said at this year’s MIT Sloan CFO Summit in Newton, Mass. This column summarizes the discussion she moderated at the event.

5. The cloud or the edge? Depends on the use case

Basic analysis of the data created by an Internet of Things project is often done on edge devices such as smart phones, but that’s not always necessary. According to experts at the PAPIs event (a portmanteau for predictive applications and APIs), CIOs should first consider the use case. This story covers their discussion.