Welcoming Big Data Technology amidst Changes
By Darren Cockrel, CIO, Coyote Logistics
Most businesses these days are after more and more data; they’re looking for new ways to apply it to improve service and offer new options—to help create something more desirable than the competition. That data hunger, and the technology challenge that follows, is about how to get that data, protect it and leverage it, and find the insight that others can’t.
As far as changes in technology, self-driving vehicles and commercial drones are going to be big in the news for the next few years, but most people will be spectators in that change. Wearables are probably in there, too. But my highest interest is how each of us is part of welcoming, ignoring, or resisting some of the technology-enabled, crowdsourced solutions that compete with taxis, food delivery, dry cleaning, and so on. That “gig economy” will affect employment statuses, quality of life in the U.S., service expectations, and even our connections with others.
Achieving Complete Data Visibility
Be tenacious and pragmatic. That data is very valuable. Get the data however you can, whenever you can, however it can be offered to you, then sort out standardizing and interpreting.
Anything that limits or slows your integration will limit the valuable data you have.
Technology to Manage Big Data
In general, it’s back to data. For transportation, it’s finding how to keep assets in motion and keep those assets full. No one is happy moving an empty trailer. Finding previously untapped ways to move goods will also stay top of mind. And it all requires very intelligent, typically proprietary, and rapidly adaptable technology.
What steals a Good Night’s Sleep?
An “all is fine” goal isn’t the mindset that a growing and adapting shop needs. IT is part of a business, and most businesses want to grow and change forever. Technology that isn’t changing is a museum piece, not part of a thriving business.
IT is part of a business, and most businesses want to grow and change forever
As for a top worry, it has always been finding, hiring, and retaining terrific talent. Without good people, the good ideas don’t matter.
IoT and Mobile in the Big Data Arena
The trucking industry is looking at a big shortage in qualified drivers, and the drivers we do have will see tighter limits on how many hours they can drive. Fewer people driving fewer hours. In that environment, everyone needs to keep the wheels moving and the trailers full. Again, it’s back to the data, but the IoT and mobile are a big part of the puzzle to enable higher utilization through tracking and location-based predictive availability.
Revolutionizing Business Segments with Technology
I’ve been happy to see the maturity that we can now get from many cloud-based providers in the internal and back-office spaces of our business. This lets us focus more on the technologies that customers and carriers care about.
“Get the data however you can, whenever you can, however it can be offered to you, and then sort out standardizing and interpreting”
IT has been a tightly intertwined part of Coyote since day one.
IT and the Business
IT actively participates, and drives when needed, to make process changes. To be invited to those conversations, you need IT people who don’t over-complicate every meeting and who don’t spend their time trying to invent new problems for the team to solve. Be on the team.
One of my least favorite phrases is “IT and the Business”. If you aren’t part of the business, then what are you part of? The whole thing creates a damaging divide. IT is part of the business, just like sales, operations, HR, marketing, or finance.
Handing the Security over to a CSO
This seems to depend on the business itself. For some companies, a chief security officer (CSO) might make sense as a peer to a CIO; in others, the IT security function is a part of IT. I’ve even seen shops where the CIO reports to the CSO. If it helps improve the company, it seems like any of these are fine options, so long as the right levels of interdependence and trust are there. If you pull the big titles away and ask, “What is the job that needs to be done here?” Then I think the needs and arrangement will be pretty clear.
Suggestions from the Expert
It’s important to earn trust, have a plan, and execute well, but after that, you need to find ways to stay fresh in your approach. You’ll come in with all sorts of ideas and input from others, but what will sustain you as CIO is finding out how to question the decisions you’ve made and rethink where you are based on the needs you see today. Don’t get too entrenched in your way of managing before you start to ask, “What would my replacement do?” or “What advice would I give myself?” It’s pretty straight forward to step in as a new person and rethink the ideas of others, but it is harder, I think, to rethink your own ideas.