Big Data analytics and business intelligence were high on the CIO agenda in 2015, topping the Gartner survey of CIO priorities - and with data described as "the new oil" at the most extreme end of the buzzword spectrum. Here we look back at what CIOs told CIO UK in 2015 about data and analytics. [See also: Chief Data Officer - What's the role of the CDO]
"Our chocolate sauce is the data and our ability to mine and innovate using that data. We can now ask questions that we couldn't before."
Lance Fisher, SThree CIO
"Data and insight will be the main source of future differentiation and our customers are increasingly moving to social and mobile channels. IT will emerge as a different function that will be customer- and data-centric. It is the 'I' in IT we need to focus on."
Phil Jordan, Telefonica CIO
"We all have masses of data at hand, but understanding what to act on and what to ignore is the real business advantage."
Andy Caddy, Virgin Active CIO
"Technology alone can't deliver transformation, clever application can. For us, data analytics is king."
Sarah Flannigan, National Trust CIO
"The key is ensuring that the business users are aware of and adhere to security standards and the need for data protection. Similarly, with the advent of portable devices, in combination with email, the task is about encryption and education."
Catherine Doran, Royal Mail Group CIO
"So if you do Big Data analysis you miss things, but in a more insightful frame of mind, you can spot issues and clear them up. Make data egalitarian.. Data will be on the balance sheets."
David Jack, Metapack CIO
"To be clearer on the need for genuine analytics as opposed to flexible reporting. Genuine deep analysis should be provided though user-driven, rich data sets that incorporate as much partner and external data as is needed and the best analysis tools."
Chris Brocklesby, easyJet CIO
"There are still huge silos of data, which are often not shared at all, due to technology constraints, governance rules that have not kept pace with technology capability, or lack of trust and cooperation between different providers. A disruptive technology in healthcare can simply be the introduction of a system that allows the sharing of data."
Tracey Scotter, Sheffield Teaching Hospital ICT Chief
"It's very lucrative the Internet of Things and Big Data, but they are pointless as terms and they annoy me. It's about taking some business intelligence so that your operations guys can use it and generate business value."
Stuart Birrell, Heathrow CIO; then McLaren CIO
On the next page, see what CIOs were saying about Big Data analytics in 2014 >>
Big Data, analytics and BI - The 2014 CIO review
In 2014 Big Data was described as both "marketing verbiage coined by Gartner" by then Barclays CIO Anthony Watson, and elsewhere as "the future of our industry" in a popular round-up of CIO attitudes. We look at how attitudes towards Big Data, analytics and business intelligence have changed in 12 months with comments from CIOs, CMOs and business leaders.
"It's not about how big the data is. The big isn't in the data, it's in the outcome; what positive impact is there, what's the benefit that comes out of the work?
"People get caught up on how much data they have crunched, but I don't really care about terabytes and supercomputers. If that floats your boat technically it's fine but I want an intelligent outcome from it.
"That's where the big is and that's where the benefit is."
Mark Dundon, NHS Yorkshire and Humber Commissioning Support Unit CIO
"I'm not a fan of the term Big Data at all. We have significantly-sized datasets and the key for us is the correlation between those. Being able to identify things that work very well and seeing if we can replicate them in the wind tunnel and then on the track - completing that loop and aligning the results with our virtual models."
Michael Taylor, Lotus F1 IT director
"Financial organisations are understandably thought of as being in 'the money business' – but in reality, they're actually in 'the data business'.
"Banks are only now coming to the realisation that data is their biggest asset in the new digital economy."
Ian Alderton, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi CIO
"Today's projects have tens of terabytes of data because we are continually evolving our projects, so you create a lot of data with iterations. My team's challenge is to sort the wheat from the chaff. So we are looking at data archiving our low-use data and putting it on low-cost media."
Barry Smith, Foster and Partners Head of IT
"It's not about how big your data is, it's what you do with it that counts.
"We've been trading for over 15 years, we're a digital business but our industry has been somewhat commoditised - it's a dangerous place to be and not where we want to be.
"Data is critical to better serving customers in ways that our competitors can't. We've invested $500 million in R&D in the last year to update our platforms; we need to make sure we are relevant and can compete. Data is the differentiator."
Then Expedia CMO, now Monster marketing VP Andrew Warner
"I want it on Hadoop to get a more rounded perspective. We are using PowerBI and Qlikview as these tools mean we can allow the users to do so much more themselves. With these tools, users can fish in the lake and pull out what they want. The traditional technologies are limiting and struggle to scale. Relational databases were based on computer power."
David Cooper, British Gas CIO
"The application of Big Data is defending BT. We've put a lot of effort into researching and developing a Big Data analytics tool that majors on visualisation so we have the ability to look across the large BT network estate for intrusion or anomalies in terms of traffic patterns, which might give us a clue to where we are being attacked.
"Big Data visualisation will become important because to my mind the biggest issue is not the processing of big data, but its consumption by real humans. So the idea that you can visualise outputs in a way that is meaningful and actionable is one of my key research programmes."
Clive Selley, BT CIO
"It's incredibly easy to make all the information available everyone. What's much more tricky is to put barriers on bits of information that secure it in a way which is appropriate."
Janet Day, BLP CIO
"Hastings is a leader in using internal and external data in real-time. It can do multiple checks at the point of quote, including those of previous claims, and vehicle identification and analysis, whether the quote is given online or via a call centre."
James Fairhurst, Hastings Insurance CIO
"People delude themselves about what is valuable. The number of likes and followers your organisation gets on social networks is irrelevant.
"The data we have could be of real value to the NHS and our remit is to open up our data."
Richard Corbridge, Healthcare CIO
"There are now more Big Data experts than there are people in China."
JP Rangaswami, outgoing Salesforce.com chief scientist, incoming Deutsche Bank Chief Data Officer
"The analytics teams are exploring how to track the connections between events: how does an article about one of our products in the press or a marketing campaign correlate to subsequent visits to our websites or flows across our funds? If you look at other sectors telcos, for example, they have impressive source data to work with - we are just at the start of this in our industry."
Matthew Oakeley, outgoing Schroders Head of IT