Fresh from his keynote speech at the MIT CDOIQ Symposium at the MIT Campus in Cambridge, MA, talking about the Four Eras of Information, Tom Davenport, professor at Babson College, research fellow at MIT Center for Digital Business and senior advsior at Deloitte Analytics, joined Stu Miniman (@stu) and George Gilbert (@ggilbert41), cohosts of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, to discuss turning data into information and provide advice for people in the role of Chief Data Officer (CDO).
Davenport changed the title of his speech from the Four Eras of Analytics to the Four Eras of Information. He explained that he thought it was important for people who aren’t working directly with analytics to realize the importance of analytics is more about how to turn data into information.
“So on a whim, I changed it … to ‘Four Eras of Information’ to broaden it out in a sense and make people realize that the whole world is changing. It’s not just about analytics,” he clarified.
Unifying with C-level execs
“I went back and confirmed my suspicion that Usama Fayyad was the world’s first chief data officer at Yahoo,” Davenport said. “And I looked at what Usama did, and it was very much data product or offense. I think they were going in the direction of ‘what interesting data products can we create,’ so I think we saw what I call a lot of 2.0 companies in the Big Data area in Silicon Valley saying it’s not just about internal decisions from data; it’s what can we provide the customers in terms of data. Not just access but things that really provide value. That means data plus analytics.”
Davenport’s advice for the CDO is to balance offense and defense. “Defense is a tricky area to inhabit as CDO, because if you succeed and prevent breaches and privacy problems and security issues, no one necessarily gives you any credit for it or even knows if your work was successful,” he said. “And If you fail, it is obviously very visible and bad for your career.”
He recommended that CDOs supplement defense with an offense that involves activities such as analytics, adding value to information and digitalizing data products. He also recommended presenting a united front with all other C-level executives who are involved with the organization’s data.
Humans versus the machines
Referring to his new book Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines, Davenport said that things have become a little more optimistic for the future in terms of jobs being replaced by machines. He made two points as to why he is hopeful. One is that there will be many jobs for people involving working with these technologies.
“If you’re willing to go with the flow and learn about new technologies, I think there are plenty of opportunities,” he said.
The other aspect of hope is that technology is usually a slow transition. He explained that if you keep up with technology and add value to smart machines, you will be safe.
Watch the full interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of the MIT CDOIQ Symposium.
by Marlene Den Bleyker