On day one of IBM Vision 2012, a panel of IBM customers discussed some of the latest trends happening in the IT industry and how those trends are specifically affecting their organizations.
Moderated by Gartner analyst John Hagerty, the panel included Exelon, McCormick & Company, Inc. and American Express.
Before posing the questions, Hagerty outlined the five key industry trends according to Gartner that were ranked high by industry CIOs: tension between business and IT, consumerization of business analytics, embedding intelligence into business processes, big data and predictive/prescriptive analytics.
How are these trends affecting your workplace?
· Brad Trychta, Director of Financial Systems at Exelon: “Big data and putting a strategy around it, and how you put data governance around it? We get a lot of external data from third parties into our tools, so regulating it and getting it standardized.”
· Rob Cox, Director of Analytics at McCormick & Company: “Getting more information in decision-makers hands, faster and in a customized way. We’re also wrestling with global data and being able to bring it in from different systems from around the world and put it into decision-makers hands quickly.”
· Chris Haines, Vice President, Operational Risk Management at American Express: “Enhance the intelligence of the data especially with the increasing complexity of how we’re using it. We’re taking data acquired through customer service and trying to use it for increasing regulatory demands, and ensuring we’re making the right risk-based decisions on that data.”
Is Big Data something you’re actively working on?
· Exelon: “Yes, with our growth because of the acquisition of Constellation, we have a bigger influx of data coming into our system.”
· McCormick: “Big data is an issue. With IBM Cognos TM1 we’re trying to measure profitability by each individual product. Also we’re looking at it from the bottom up and examining each individual commodity that drives the profitability of our products. Being an agricultural based business, if the price of a certain spice goes up, then how will that impact the products? There’s a tremendous volume of data to model scenarios.”
· American Express: “We are actively working on it. We have a wealth of data and can marry merchant data, card member’s spend data with partnerships with membership companies to enhance the customer experience.”
What is your organization doing to become more analytically sophisticated?
· Exelon: “We have built a center of excellence over the last three years that focuses on raising the technology acumen of our finance organization. We have great technical accountants and finance people. The center is designed and tied into these jobs. These people have to take training and get certified in order to use the data.”
· McCormick: “Building analytical sophistication in our decision makers is something we take very seriously. We formed the McCormick Analytics Center focused on helping people understand what data is available to them and how to access it. Want to drive forward the vision of giving customized views of data to meet their needs. We spend a lot of time and effort training users to understand how data should be used going forward and transition them away from making decisions with gut and experience – the old way.”
· American Express: “We’re trying to connect some of the expertise in the control functions with business people. If my job is marketing, in the past culture my job was being an innovative thinker. Now, we want to ensure that marketing is taking control and regulations into consideration as well. We want to use technology to guide the business person through the process in lay speed to raise their ‘Risk IQ.’ We want to take someone who doesn’t really understand risk and regulation and give them enough information and the right backbone in the system and walk them through the process.”
What are the big issues moving forward over next year or so?
· Exelon: “Dodd-Frank will be big and understanding the kind of impact it will have back into the financial and business analytics reporting.”
· McCormick: “Globalization of data and how to bring together data from all around the world that is organized and structured differently into one decision making platform. Customized data delivery is another thing we’re challenged with. Now that we have all this information, getting it to the decision makers in a way that they can digest it and use it. Finally, change management. Now that we have all this information at our disposal the challenge is to change the way we approach the business and make use of it will be a longer term initiative.”
· American Express: Big data will get even bigger. You don’t realize how much data you have because of the unstructured nature of it. You start to think, ‘How do I interact with my customers?’ They come to my website and every time they click I capture that data. What does that mean? What do they do next when they click in one place? How often do they buy the next product? What are they buying? What are the correlations? Where are they transacting and how are they transacting? What do they do when they travel? This wealth of data will let us more intelligently understand our card members and service them better.”
For more information:
· Read the other blog posts from Vision 2012: Day One Recap, Day Two Recap and the announcement of IBM OpenPages 6.1
· See the blog: “Managing Risk: A Global Challenge that Must be Confronted”
· Watch the keynotes sessions via LiveStream