2014 Wrap-Up: What’s New, What’s Next?

2014.jpgStrategic IT decision-making was a big focus in 2014.

Ideas like integration, innovation, and accessibility were all hot topics for CIOs. While 2014 brought a barrage of enterprise-based technology issues to the forefront—mobility, security, IoT, and big data—the final takeaway was the “how” rather than the “what.”

How are CIOs going to sift through the noise and make careful, deliberate decisions regarding the implementation of new IT strategies?

As we look ahead to 2015, we also retrospectively look back at some of the important IT Peer Network conversations of 2014:

Pay vs. Passion in the Age of Data Science

In 2014, analytics cemented itself as a key aspect to develop within business strategy.  It truly went from a “nice to have” to a “need to have” strategic component.  With this increased awareness of its importance, analytics has also caused some issues as the industry is currently experiencing growing pains.  For example, the supply of qualified data scientists, who analyze and interpret the data, is still catching up to the growing business demand of having a more descriptive set of analytics.  IT Managers and CIOs should be wary of individuals attracted to the data scientist career path.  Many have pursued the profession solely for a bigger paycheck and a presumption that they will get hired quickly.  Michael Cavaretta, data scientist and manager at Ford Motor Company, recommends ways employers can find data scientists who want to cultivate their passion and add value to an organization:

“Some have proposed that we look at individual’s activities beyond formal education; participation in Data Science contests like Kaggle, TopCoder, or InnoCentive, or volunteer organizations like Data for Good, DataKind, or Code for America. Joining a Data Science oriented MOOC is also mentioned as a way to measure an individual’s passion for the field. Completion of a relevant, and well-regarded, MOOC is a good signal, but completion rates average less than 10%. But for individuals that don’t have formal Data Science training; people looking for a career change, or holding degrees without significant computer programming and/or statistics requirements MOOCs can be a valuable, and many times inexpensive, alternative.”

Strategic Leadership for Managing Evolving Cybersecurity Risks

As we've seen in recent current events, security will continue to be a hot button concern into 2015. With internal and external security breaches on the rise, Matthew Rosenquist, cyber security strategist at Intel, discusses the challenges and best practices of establishing a sound security structure:

“Cybersecurity is difficult. It is a serious endeavor which strives to find a balance in managing the security of computing capabilities to protect the technology which connects and enriches the lives of everyone.  Characteristics of cyber risk have matured and expanded on the successes of technology innovation, integration, and adoption.  It is no longer a game of tactics, but rather a professional discipline, continuous in nature, where to be effective strategic leadership must establish effective and efficient structures for evolving controls to sustain an optimal level of security.”

IT Leadership – How Do I Get There and How Do I Move Up?

There are many great technologists, but in order to take on the role of IT manager and be a true partner in the business, taking initiative is highly encouraged. Edward Goldman, CTO, enterprise segment at Intel, states that by taking charge and being an active participant an individual can flourish and become a very effective IT leader:

“As I've worked over the years, I have come to a profound discovery regarding career promotion. When you start to climb the ladder, your boss is the one that promotes you. But as you reach the middle rungs of the corporate hierarchy, it’s actually your peers that promote you. And as you get closer to the upper reaches of executive level leadership, it is the peers in your specific industry or executives outside your current path that are the ones that move you up the ladder. More often than not, this happens much sooner if you get directly involved rather than simply being in the right place at the right time.”

German National Football Team Uses Real-Time Analytics for a Competitive Edge

The uses for analytics in professional sports is endless.  In an industry where statistics and data have ruled for years, the technology for analytics in sports is booming.  R. Paul Crawford, data scientist at Intel, discusses why more and more professional sports teams are leveraging analytics to find a competitive edge and optimize talent:

“Like many other businesses, the sports and entertainment industry is starting to test and operationalize big data analytics. The annual MIT Sloan* Sports Analytics Conference has seized the mantle as the place to (at least publicly) talk about sports analytics. Optimized, personal training regimens, as well as perspective on overall team performance, enable teams to make the best use of their sometimes fantastically expensive talent investments…”

Information Technology is a huge investment for most businesses.  Choosing the right IT platform and strategy will be key for the enterprise in the coming year. According to a study by IDG Enterprise, Computerworld Forecast 2015, spending is expected to rise in 2015 - with a focus on security, cloud integration, and business analytics. The mobility and IoT space will see increased spending, too, as products like the Edison platform—Intel’s small, inexpensive, powerful processor—continue to allow entrepreneurs and designers room to innovate.

Thanks so much for being a part of our community this year. We can’t wait to see you back in the IT Peer Network in 2015!

To continue the conversation on Twitter, please follow us at @IntelITCenter or use #ITCenter.