Data Analytics A Boon To Business Enterprise

Ralf Schneider, Group CIO, Allianz
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Ralf Schneider, Group CIO, Allianz

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

The big challenge is to progress our business and services in line with increased amount of information. We strive to use the data in a creative and innovative way to keep identifying patterns and to provide unique, individualized services. At the same time IT security remains at the top of the agenda. So from our vendors I expect solutions to real-time analytics and IT security.

The areas in business environment where solutions do not yet exist or not up to the mark, and which if existed, would've made job easier

Our main goal is to optimize the evaluation of the collected data, ideally in real time. Up until now, several experts have had to pre-segment, filter, cluster and load the data into chunks before the user can access it. The other expectation is cyber security. The threat level is continuously increasing and the attackers are constantly enhancing their attack vectors.

Manner in which data is used to head off problems and complications before they happen

On the one hand, data analytics can help us provide new products which are specically targeted  each individual customer. With real- time analytics we can even go further and provide customized services in real-time. On the other hand real- time analytics can also help us to identify fraud.

Thoughts on how IT strategic planning supports organization-wide efforts to improve quality, cut costs and improve efficiency in the financial sector

In theory, IT strategic planning should enable economies of scope, but this is quite difficult to implement. What we are now indeed able to realize are economies of scale. We can optimize costs by centralizing global sourcing for services and products all of us need, i.e. where the volume is sufficiently large, such as telephones and mobile phones.

We are not neglecting other opportunities. For example, we are rigorously perusing an IT platform strategy with distinct global solutions for our core insurance business, as well as for other IT platforms such as BI, Web and core functions.

Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment

We have been talking about virtualization and it has and will have a big infuence on our business environment. It includes server virtualization as well as virtualization of the workplace, virtual desktops and the use of private devices in the corporate environment. A further inuential trend is real-time analytics and the new customer touch points which evolved from the shift of our communication with the customers towards social media.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

In the past, the IT department was reduced to a mere cost center for technological supply. It took a lot of time and patience to polish up the image of IT. Progressively people are starting to see how important IT is. It is an enabler and a driver for business change and for growth with a clear impact on the bottom line.

Lessons learned and advice for fellow CIOs

First of all, it is important to properly define the role of the CIO, as well as whether he should focus on managing demand or delivery or both. My advice is to clarify the CIO role with all stakeholders.

Secondly, the larger the organization, the more difficult governance becomes. My advice here is to find out how much governance is necessary depending on the size of your organization.

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