The ability to unlock the power of data will be a major factor impacting a company’s future success, say CIOs.  The trouble is, that’s also one of their biggest challenges.

In the 2018 Canadian CIO Census, almost 30 per cent of those surveyed said that making data actionable is a top priority, up from 17 per cent in 2017. But they admit that the key to opening that door isn’t easy.

“We see data as a great idea but we struggle with monetizing it,” said Corey Cox, Vice-President of Information Systems, Tandet Group, said in a panel discussion at the Canadian CIO Summit.

“We hear so many platitudes about data,” added Jim Love, ITWC CIO and Chief Digital Officer. “Some say it’s the new oil.  But we don’t need platitudes — we need real ways to extract the value from our data.”

Turning platitudes into action

 To gain an edge in the volatile gold mining industry, companies need to find ways to do things differently, said Joe AbiDaoud, Vice President of Information Technology for Yamana Gold. The effective use of data is critical. The key is to identify use cases that will drive your business forward, he said. For example, Yamana Gold is using the data from sensors to track the location of equipment in underground mines as workers move it so they can maximize the productivity of each shift.

Similarly, Cox described a situation where a customer complained about spending too much time on the repair and maintenance of one piece of equipment. “A direct expense scenario suggested there was nothing out of line,” he said. But when they dug deeper, a data analysis pinpointed the problem. It wasn’t that the equipment broke down more often, but that supplier took too long to fix it. As a result, the company was able to get compensation and change the supplier’s procedures.

“People need to understand the implications of not having data in the same way they understand what it’s like not to have money,” said Cox.

Start by improving processes

Abidaoud advised that businesses should start with small projects that can show the value of data, and to engage business managers. “It’s important to look for opportunities to either enhance the process or make better decisions around it,” he said. It’s vital, because as Cox said, “Data is driving every decision made today.”

To learn more about how to start getting more value from your data, see:  “Meeting the Data Challenge:  Insights from IT Leaders in Four Sectors.



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