Mak­ing in­for­ma­tion count

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & technology - BENE­DICT KELLY

THE ACRO­NYM CIO refers to the chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer of a com­pany and is in­dica­tive of the im­por­tance that a mod­ern or­gan­i­sa­tion places on its tech­nol­ogy as­sets. Un­for­tu­nately, in the vast ma­jor­ity of com­pa­nies CIO may just as well stand for chief IT of­fi­cer, as CIOs are of­ten just glo­ri­fied IT man­agers.

How­ever, the 2007 sur­vey of IT pri­or­i­ties con­ducted by re­search house Gart­ner in­di­cates that the num­ber one pri­or­ity for CIOs in 1 400 or­gan­i­sa­tions world­wide is the de­ploy­ment of busi­ness intelligence (BI) sys­tems. BI is fo­cused on tak­ing the raw data that ev­ery com­pany col­lects and turn­ing it into use­ful in­for­ma­tion that can be used to make ev­ery­day busi­ness de­ci­sions.

James Ad­lard, pro­gramme di­rec­tor at Gart­ner Africa, says that the promi­nence given to BI by re­spon­dents this year may in­di­cate a shift from the tra­di­tional IT fo­cus and the emer­gence of a sharp­ened one on the im­por­tance of in­for­ma­tion within an or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“There’s a huge gap be­tween the po­ten­tial ef­fec­tive­ness of in­for­ma­tion inside an or­gan­i­sa­tion and re­al­ity,” Ad­lard says. “CIOs are tak­ing the drive to im­prove ef­fi­ciency out of the IT de­part­ment and look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties to de­liver im­prove­ments in the or­gan­i­sa­tion as a whole.”

He adds that while in­for­ma­tion is al­ready well utilised in the private sec­tor, gov­ern­ments and other pub­lic sec­tor in­sti­tu­tions lag be­hind badly.

That’s be­cause in­ter­na­tion­ally the pub­lic sec­tor is still fo­cused on rolling out in­fra­struc­ture and im­prov­ing in­ter­nal pro­cesses, some­thing that com­pa­nies have typ­i­cally al­ready mas­tered.

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