Dave Williams, CIO of Merck Animal Health, strives to deliver the capabilities for business users to become autonomous in their usage of data and responsible for the management of data quality. The hope is to eventually strike a balance between technology and user proficiency, shifting the IT department's emphasis away from building internally.
Self-service analytics is rapidly shortening decision cycles as users are able to gain and share new insights throughout the extended enterprise. This in turn will enable IT to focus on strategic projects, ostensibly to drive more value for the business.
"When we build self-maintained analytics, the business users can do it without IT's support," says Williams. "We should strive for that so that we're irrelevant." By “irrelevant” Williams means reaching that hallowed state of IT nirvana in which hardware and software run in the cloud, tended to by several vendors, with little care and feeding by the IT department. For the foreseeable future, though, Williams must contend with the kind of data quality issues that many CIOs are struggling with as they increasingly look to software to find morsels of useful data. Some 41 percent of 550 executives surveyed by the Economist Intelligence Unit said they struggled to maintain data quality. Thirty-three percent suggested that managing the data alone was a challenge.