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How CIOs Leverage Business Intelligence to Drive Smarter Decision-Making

By Fergal Glynn
Business.com / Business Intelligence / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

CIOs were once considered the back-office technology experts, but today's CIOs are leveraging business intelligence to drive innovation.

CIOs are increasingly leading the digital transformation charge at their companies today.

Even a few years back in 2013, CREinFocus reported on survey findings indicating that 83 percent of CIOs had visionary plans including business intelligence and analytics to increase their competitiveness.

The advantages of leveraging Business Intelligence (BI) are clear: reductions in costs, increased revenue, a sharper competitive edge in the market, and so forth.

The foundation of these advantages lies in the ability to make more informed decisions fueled by the data BI provides. 

CIOs Play a More Prominent Role in Leveraging BI to Drive Innovation 

Despite a growing awareness of the benefits of business intelligence, Gartner predicts that by 2020, "only 50 percent of chief analytics officers (CAOs) will have successfully created a narrative to respond to rapid change and link financial objectives to BI&A initiatives and investments. Additionally, 40 percent of enterprises’ net-new investment will be in BI&A."

Gartner points out that, as we're now well into the digital age, companies, leadership executives in particular, must recognize the importance of looking beyond the typical applications for BI and analytics (gaining operational efficiency, cutting costs, etc.) and to ways to transform business intelligence into actionable insights that enable companies to deliver greater value to their customers. 

Related Article:3 Ways to Optimize Your Business Plan with Business Intelligence

CIOs are increasingly finding themselves at this junction, investing in IT that goes beyond improving existing processes or protecting company data but technology that helps to move their companies into the future and gain an edge over the competition. In fact, that's precisely the role that Warren Neuberger, CIO for PGi, says that today's CIOs should be filling.

"IT has to have the ability to constantly reinvent itself," says Neuberger in an article for CIO Review. "Without the ability to reinvent itself, IT will remain little more than a cost center rather than providing true, strategic value to the business." Neuberger says he thinks of his IT department in terms of customer experience, serving two customer segments: both the company's internal employees and the external customers. His focus is on how the company's back-end technologies can support and enhance the customer experience through every interaction with the business. 

CIOs with this mindset are playing an important role in innovation and are even leading the digital transformation charge at their respective companies more so today than many would have expected from a C-suite executive largely focused on back-end processes and systems years ago. 

Related Article:Reinventing Business Intelligence: 7 Ways Big Data is Changing Business

G6 Hospitality CIO Jeff Winslow Leverages BI and Technology Innovation to Gain a Competitive Advantage 

Jeff Winslow, CIO of G6 Hospitality, LLC, shares how his company has leveraged technology and business intelligence to innovate in an article at CIO Review. Following his company's acquisition by Blackstone in 2012, Winslow says they've been focused on a complete overhaul of their technology platforms.

But their goals extend beyond improving efficiencies within their corporate properties to enhancing operations and providing better support services and solutions to G6's franchisees and business partners, an undertaking that involves identifying, testing, and deploying solutions rapidly. 

In fact, G6 set a clear goal to become the leader in the economy segment and has been pushing ahead full-force to achieve that objective. One facet of the overall effort is the transformation of G6's digital ecosystem, including the launch of a revamped, fully-responsive website that better serves travelers.

Additionally, G6 implemented an innovative system to take better advantage of business intelligence to gain and maintain a competitive advantage. The system, called the G6 Revenue Optimization Workspace (GROW), leverages competitor rates, the company's proprietary Central Reservations system, Property Management program, and all booking channels, all variables that work together to optimize occupancy and rate. 

Technology Is the Cornerstone of Innovation, and CIOs Are Leading the Way 

Technology is responsible in large part for the innovations happening across many industries today. In fact, technology is the catalyst for the completely disruptive startups that are shaking up traditional industries the way Uber has transformed transportation and companies like TaskRabbit have transformed the outsourcing economy. 

Business intelligence is at the core of these transformations, providing the insights both startups and established companies need to identify consumer pain points as well as the real-time data critical for rapid iterations and agile development to respond and adapt to demands. With myriad business intelligence tools and other data-driven solutions, spanning everything from tools for marketing and sales teams offering valuable customer insights to data visualization tools that turn raw data into digestible insights for the non-IT professional, the CIO's expertise is essential for gaining buy-in from other C-suite executives and key stakeholders.

Related Article: How Business Intelligence Software Will Improve Your Business

Not only do CIOs help their companies identify the best BI tools for collecting, aggregating, and analyzing data, but they're also the executives that hold the knowledge to transform those insights, such as a primary customer pain point, into tangible solutions that eliminate frustrations for employees and external customers alike, provide the technology required to outpace the competition, and leverage intelligence for the development of innovative products, solutions, and processes that move companies into the future. 

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