One of the biggest topics in business this year is big data and related analytics. Thousands of companies are rapidly investing heavily in these technologies and practices, knowing that they are core to accelerating their advancement and also just maintaining their market presence.
In recent news a local university, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), announced the formation of a center for the study of the means to acquire, transform and apply Big Data into “actionable information.” RIT’s Data and Predictive Analytics Center will focus on “collecting, transforming, modeling and visualizing data sets.” The Center’s directors expect to enable the discovery of means to make predictions, which in a manufacturing environment may entail maintenance and process decision-making and alternatives, evolutionary option formation, and perhaps even process improvement guidance. Also, just last week there was a global conference in New York diving into all manner of implications and best practices for advancing big data applications and their potential. Thousands of people attended to hear subject matter experts speak on applications and case studies in Big Data ventures, tools, and plans.
Also making the rounds is advocacy for the current emphasis at senior management levels for a CDO. Now, to an investment banker a CDO is a collateralized debt obligation. To a meteorologist a CDO is a cloud formation called a central dense overcast. However, in our world of production and manufacturing automation, a CDO is a Chief Data Officer. If you don't know what that is then you're in the majority … For now.
It's clearly reasonable to assume that a CDO is going to be the peer, shoulder-to-shoulder with the other executive office holders, in a manufacturing company. In addition to finance and information, this C-suite officeholder will be responsible for driving analytics, data collection, and implementation support throughout the organization. Technology and worker-driven intelligence, along with human-machine interface issues, are going to be prominent in driving the agenda of early CDO efforts. Architecting and designing systems to collect, analyze, and apply the massive quantities of data that are available all around production and manufacturing operations will be top priority. Scientists, mathematicians, programmers, statisticians and engineers knowledgeable in and experienced with data acquisition, analytics, and process systems will be in even greater demand.
Now that you know what a CDO is, do you have one, do you foresee the creation of that position at your firm? If you do not, then how do you strategically manage the data that is waiting to be harnessed and applied? Who will organize and lead your firm’s foray into this new world and collaborate with the vendors and service suppliers who will bring these technologies to life in your workplace? Are your competitors doing more with the available data in their world than you are with your own? And who is guiding your customers?
As you think about these questions and develop your path forward and identify your role in this evolution, remember to seek out the resources from your integrator partners and other sources in the market, such as in academia and collaborative networks.