As 2014 comes to an end, it is important that we reflect on trends and lessons learned in the past year, as well as anticipate what’s ahead in 2015. There are several trends that captured our attention at MetricStream. Our world is increasingly risky – there are new risks confronting businesses, and risks are interconnected in complex ways. Our world is increasingly regulated – organizations face unprecedented regulatory requirements and scrutiny. Our world is increasingly mobile – we live in the era of smart devices, and as such, we are connected to one another in new and exciting ways. Our world is increasingly social – digital media has given all of us an amplified voice and many new platforms to share it. Our world is increasingly global – businesses are made up of employees, partners, customers and supplier ecosystems in all corners of the globe. Our world is increasingly cloudy – organizations are fast-realizing the benefits of moving more and more data to the cloud. Our world is increasingly data-driven, and organizations are realizing the power and competitive advantage that Big Data brings. All of these trends, taken together, have significantly and fundamentally changed the way individuals live and work, and the way organizations operate.
Let’s take a closer look at what the future holds in 2015.
Generation C users will come of age. Businesses around the world have started planning for the coming of age of Generation C users – users marked by their highly social, savvy and digitally-connected behavior, who thrive on content, curation and community. Generation C users will be our customers and employees tomorrow – and it is imperative that we better understand them, their behaviors and their interaction paradigms, which are different than those of our employees and customers today. On top of this, digital media continues to blur the lines between our personal and professional lives, with social and sharing behaviors becoming further embedded in everything we do. In order to meet new enterprise demands (and the demands of its evolving workforces), organizations will need to fill critical IT-related roles including the Chief Information Officer, Chief Data Officer, and the Chief Digital Officer, who, together, will be responsible for staying ahead of major technological changes and paradigm shifts. More importantly, these leaders will need to understand all of the associated risks – and opportunities – that these changes bring about.
The Big Data opportunity is big. Big Data is marked by the unprecedented volume, variety, veracity, and velocity of structured and unstructured information, which if harnessed can provide a significant competitive advantage. In the year ahead, organizations will continue to rapidly adopt and leverage sophisticated Big Data processing technologies that can aggregate and analyze data spanning social media and location-enabled sites, multimedia, documents, emails, weblogs, surveillance records, medical records, threat and vulnerability scanners, supplier data, regulatory feeds, e-commerce transactions, voice notes, audio transcripts, stock trades, transaction logs, geo-spatial data, and more – in near-real-time. The biggest challenge facing organizations in 2015 will lie in their ability to distill the signals from the noise.
The rise of the chief data officer. We are starting to see the emergence of a new critical organizational role - the Chief Data Officer. Emerging from the organization’s Data Scientist role, these individuals have strong math and science skill sets, are extremely communicative and collaborative, and are passionate about data. The Chief Data Officer will work hand-in-hand with other key business leaders including the Chief Digital Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, and Chief Risk Officer who, together, will be responsible for turning information into insight that can drive better decision-making.
The risk-intelligent CIO will play a more frontline role. In the year ahead, we will see the continued proliferation of devices and information touch-points across the organization and extended enterprise. In 2015, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) will be responsible for ensuring the same user experience, reliability and security across various platforms and devices. As businesses build out their digital ecosystems, CIOs will need to establish a foundational risk and governance framework that supports business continuity, data security and privacy. The CIO role must also continue to evolve, right alongside our increasingly digital organizations, helping to set the risk appetite, manage new technology risks, ensure regulatory compliance and drive the business strategy.
GRC technology is heading towards cloud, convergence and enterprise-wide adoption. In 2014, organizations invested in technology risk management frameworks that encompassed on-premise, cloud and mobility deployment models. In the year ahead, more organizations will continue to turn to the cloud for its benefits, such as its proven ability to handle data storage and processing demands in an elastic manner, quicker and improved business ROI, and improved verifiable standards around data security and service reliability. Decision-makers and key users have begun to realize the benefits and synergies that exist between policy, risk and compliance management, and in 2015, we will see more and more organizations adopt a common technology platform that can harmoniously manage all of these areas together as an integrated, enterprise-wide program.
Amidst such change, we are seeing organizations of all sizes, and across all industries embarking on and continuing forward in their journey to become better governed, more risk-aware, and more compliant. By bringing together the right teams of people, the right GRC tools, and the right mix of technologies, business leaders of today and tomorrow will be better equipped to contextualize information about their business, support data-driven decision-making, drive superior business performance, and thrive.