I had to rent a car to attend the invite-only CIO Innovation Summit that’s taking place this week in Muskoka, and as I was picking up a vehicle and transferring my bags, my six-year-old son asked me, “Daddy, do all cars drive the same way?”
It was one of those wonderful questions that only a child will ask, and it momentarily threw me, because yes, I guess on some foundational level you’re always steering a wheel and pressing pedals, but anyone who’s rented a car knows they certainly do not all drive the same way. And yet here, I realized, was a great big data problem worth solving: how could a car rental firm optimize information on our preferences and make sure that the vehicles make available to us had the mirrors positioned the right way, or the driver’s seat, or that it included just the right mix of automatic features? (Note to Uber and Lyft: This could be your next big opportunity!)
In some ways, this is the kind of thing that we’re discussing at the CIO Innovation Summit. To make sure we were developing the right kind of program, though, we conducted an informal survey with a group of 35 IT leaders from a cross-section of industries including manufacturing, health care, education and others. The results showed some interest in big data but a lot of sharp disagreement about the impact of analytics on hiring, skill sets, the management of information and the need to ensure the business was getting the proper benefit.
The complete slide deck I presented on Monday is included here, but look for a lot more coverage of this event in the next edition of CanadianCIO‘s digital magazine.