Preparing for Big Data: 10 Things CIOs Can Do Now

by Eric Liang

Emerging trends in many industries are opening up multiple opportunities for Big Data analytics.  Given the sensitivity of data security, and the fact that leveraging Big Data implies cultural changes that require time to take hold, CIOs need to start preparing diligently now for a secure, robust analytic capability.  WGroup has identified 10 things CIOs can do before even the first Big Data project is launched: 

  1. Review the organization’s strategic plan for opportunities to apply big data analytics.  Identify an analytics-savvy team within the organization to help with brainstorming ideas.
  2. Develop and execute an educational awareness campaign on Big Data possibilities.
  3. Inventory all the data that is available – structured and unstructured, internal and external, streaming and operational.
  4. Architect the required infrastructure and establish an investment plan.
  5. Identify potential third parties to assist if required in specific parts of the process, e.g., opportunity definition, hosting, data modeling, data sourcing, etc.
  6. Develop a Big Data pilot program that is concise, executable and delivers results quickly.
  7. Develop, identify and/or recruit the skills required to execute and capitalize on the Big Data pilot projects.
  8. Develop an organization strategy and governance model to support, manage, and leverage the expanded analytics capability.
  9. Update security policies and key procedures such as change control to establish a foundation for the program.
  10. Chart out the funding profile for a multi-year Big Data program – make it a key part of the strategic plan.

Big Data has the potential to generate significant value to an organization, but it is a multi-step, iterative journey, and the risks in terms of security, compliance and invalid conclusions are real.  By establishing a robust Big Data-ready operating environment CIOs can confidently lead the organization to embrace the opportunities Big Data can provide.

Further Reading: WGroup recently published a Strategy Brief titled “Starting Small with Big Data.” Click here to download a complimentary copy.

Top Ten Reasons for Using a Sourcing Advisor

by WGroup

Some clients tell us that they have considered or are considering running the sourcing strategy, financial modeling, RFP development, provider selection, contracting, and negotiation process for an IT or business process outsourcing project internally. WGroup’s point of view – the business case for using an experienced, strategy-based sourcing advisory firm can be very strong. Here are 10 considerations:

  1. Outsourcing is a highly specialized IT, strategy, and sourcing process.
    Crafting successful outsourcing agreements requires specialized skills, experience, and knowledge in several key areas including; financial analysis, risk management, IT operations, IT governance, service provider capabilities, IT outsourcing “market pricing,” contract negotiations, and contract development.
  2. Advisors understand the service providers.
    An experienced advisor, with a full understanding of the service provider landscape including their capabilities, reputation, pricing, strengths, delivery models, cultural compatibility, references, and market momentum, will ensure that you consider all appropriate options.
  3. Advisors ensure the full attention of service providers.
    Service providers will bring their best team and best pricing when they know that they have a fair chance to compete for your business.
  4. Strategy design is essential & long term governance must be established.
    Experienced advisors possess specialized skills to find and articulate the intersection between sourcing efforts and top-level business strategy. An experienced advisor ensures that long-term governance is never overlooked.
  5. Complete financial modeling is required.
    An advisor will: build effective and understandable cost models that capture the true costs of delivering IT services, convert client budget-based costs into something that can be compared to the deal pricing, and establish the cost of retained services and governance.
  6. Risk Management is crucial.
    Tracking, measuring, and mitigating risk is an ongoing process in an outsourcing deal. The associated risk to the company and its core functions must be focused on and managed by an expert.
  7. The RFP lifecycle is labor intensive and responses must be normalized.
    From writing the RFP, to facilitating provider questions, reviewing RFPs, and conducting due diligence, a lot of work goes into the RFP lifecycle. An advisor augments a client’s staff to ensure a well-organized and efficient RFP process. Beyond price, an advisor will help a client through a thorough evaluation of all provider responses to locate the best fit and value for the client’s requirements
  8. Price evaluation requires extensive market knowledge.
    An advisor can quickly identify proposal pricing and establish any areas that might have been over or under scoped. They will also guide a client through negotiating the best price for the services required.
  9. Contract development and negotiation requires a great deal of work.
    Master Service Agreement (MSA) creation, Statement of Work (SOW) creation, and all of the associated schedules are required in sourcing relationships. Only an experienced advisor can provide best-practice templates and customize them to the unique objectives of the client. Advisors also possess the negotiating skills and knowledge required to ensure the resulting contract is fair, balanced, and profitable for all parties.
  10. The value an advisor brings far exceeds an advisor’s fees.
    It has been WGroup’s experience that in every sourcing deal that we have supported, the additional value (including better price) built into the contracts we create far exceeds the sourcing advisory fees. Just ask our long list of satisfied clients!
Further Reading: WGroup recently published a Strategy Brief titled “The Next Generation IT of Outsourcing.” Click here to download a complimentary copy.
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