This may look like a career-killing title for a blog post, but let me explain.
Oh - just to correctly name sources; I stole the title from an article Nicholas Carr wrote in the Harvard Business Review in 2003.
In all the hype and buzz surrounding #BigData #InternetOfThings #MachineLearning #Digitization and so on, the tech is portrayed as a huge differentiator in competitive advantage. Well...it's not. The tech is highly irrelevant in terms of competitive advantage (not saying that it is not a prerequisite!). Some companies might have an edge for some time, purely based on some innovative use of tech, but it will not last. It will be copied extremely fast over and over again by others. "Tech will be commoditized.....'.
So if tech is not a differentiator, what is? Because there is obviously something buzzing....
You know what is a differentiator? Data.
You know what is a differentiator? How you use data to delight your customers
You know what is a differentiator? How you use data to improve healthcare, balance in-equality, fight crime or supervise vital infrastructure
You know what is a differentiator? How you respect privacy of data not only because you want to avoid litigation, but because you want to be trusted and valued.
Data must be nurtured, managed and governed aggressively and - most of all- must be enabled to be exploited to the max in order to get a good return or help the common cause. It is by far the ultimate proprietary asset.
So if you want to change strategy, embark on a road of datafication, be more data-centric or data-driven, you might want to spend your investment Euros or Dollars not in tech right away - resist that urge. Invest it in people first; data-strategists, data architects, data modellers, data analysts (ok ok...data 'scientists'), data quality experts, data privacy experts and so on. The tech will come...
Some statements about c-level:
1.Tech is not a differentiator
2.Tech should therefor not be represented on the c-level
3.Data is a differentiator
4.Data should therefor be represented on the c-level
5.If your CIO is about the Information (not the tech!)? Yee - good for you!
6.If your CIO is about the tech? Well, in my opinion you don't have a CIO - you have a Technology Manager
A Chief Data Officer should not be necessary if you have a true CIO. If you don't, get yourself a Chief Data Officer. Someone seasoned in the field of (respectfully) exploiting data and information for the ambitions and goals of your organization.