Digital transformation

CIOs are playing an increasingly important role in business growth. The trend is not surprising, given that new revenue opportunities in today’s digitally driven businesses often stem from the data that CIOs and their teams are tasked with collecting, managing and analyzing for fresh business insights.

“A large part of the CIO’s role is to identify business opportunities that consume technology, and we see that evolution squarely in data monetization,” said Tim Rehac, Principal Technology Consulting, Americas Cloud Lead at Ernst & Young LLP.

While business leaders traditionally take the lead on identifying new products to develop or new markets to enter, the sheer amount of data organizations are collecting can make it difficult for them to make accurate, quick decisions that lead to winning bets. Aligning with the CIO, and the tools and services their teams provide, can increase the odds for success.

“We’re throwing off all this data exhaust, and some of it may have significant value,” Rehac said. “It’s an opportunity for organizations to differentiate by seeing trends earlier and reacting more quickly.”

There are two main approaches to data monetization. One involves leveraging data to better understand customers and market trends to create new products, enter new markets, or improve workflows and services to improve customer loyalty and retention – all of which can drive revenue growth. The other is the growing practice of actually selling your own data on public cloud exchanges.

In either scenario, the CIO is uniquely positioned to help the business. The CIO is both the gatekeeper and the most knowledgeable navigator of the many data collection points and intersections that can yield the most valuable data and most insightful results.

“With all the change going on in the world, the leading companies are those that can sense change happening quicker and react to it,” said Rehac. “That sensing is best done through casting a wider net of data capture, from your own business and from other businesses, and turning that aggregated data into insights quickly.” Those insights can lead directly to new revenue opportunities.

Start small, scale quickly

The ongoing migration of IT infrastructure and tools to the cloud has made it easier for IT leaders to play a starring role in revenue generation. CIOs are moving quickly to unlock value from their data that the business can turn into new or incremental revenue streams.

One immediate benefit of using the public cloud is the access it provides to marketplaces for selling data-based products. This approach allows an organization to start with a small investment to test out interest in a new product before heavily committing to it.

“We see this every day with our clients,” Rehac said. “They identify a nugget of data, talk to potential customers, put it in the marketplace, and see what happens.”

Cloud environments also make it easier for organizations to rapidly aggregate data across multiple data sources, correlate it and enrich it — to ultimately glean insights into monetization opportunities. It’s an approach that financial services companies have long used to package and sell trading system data. Now, other industries, including retail, health care and manufacturing, are also seeing the benefits.

As organizations across all industries rely more heavily on digital capabilities and data-driven expertise, CIOs play an important role in finding new sources of value from the avalanches of data generated by digital transformation efforts. Defining and deploying a cloud-based infrastructure for collecting, storing, securing and accessing data will help build trust in the data and unlock new insights for monetizing it. Working closely with business stakeholders is critical for identifying new opportunities to create value and build revenue across the business. Getting this right is a challenge, yet CIOs are uniquely positioned to help master it.

Learn how to transform your business through data and insights.

The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Ernst & Young LLP or other members of the global EY organization.