Category Archives: Big Data

Big Data Comes to Bear on Healthcare

Big Data Comes to Bear on Healthcare

Big Data Healthcare

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is examining the use of big data for infectious disease surveillance, exploring the use of information taken from social media, electronic health records, and a range of other digital sources to provide detailed and well-timed intelligence around infectious disease threats and outbreaks that traditional surveillance methods aren’t able to. On the other side of the disease spectrum, big data analytics is also helping with the management of diabetes, a disease affecting over 422 million people globally and resulting in 1.5 million deaths per year according to the World Health Organization. Today, big data and big data analytics are delivering a range of innovative health care options as well as disease and illness monitoring and prevention tools that better the wellbeing of the world’s population.

Where is All This Data Coming From?

Thanks to the digitization of records, the spreading use of sensors, and the prolific use of mobile and standard computing devices, the data that is collected and recorded today is immense. But just because all of this data exists doesn’t mean it’s necessarily useful. Consider the ‘information’ gleaned from Twitter and Facebook posts, Snapchat and text messages, and Google and Siri question and answer sessions: certainly, some of that will be relevant to someone, but the sheer volume of non-qualitative data available can sometimes be a deterrent. Fortunately, the technology that’s evolving to collect all of this data is working hand in hand with big data management and analytics tech to ensure value.

Today, big data applications can predict future actions and with the widespread use of Internet of Things tech personalized data can be collected and monitored on an individual level. Applications such as Google Trends provide practical methods for using big data, while big data analytics helps navigate and utilize unstructured data that might otherwise seem irrelevant. And thanks to tools such as Hadoop, developers are able to construct predictive models that help organizations understand user responses and better tailor applications to these results.

Solutions for Healthcare

Already big data plays a role in biomedicine, advancing methodologies and skills and creating new cultures and modes of discovery. Some experts, in fact, believe the advances in medicine suggest we’ll be facing disruption in the industry as new systems and approaches prove their worth. Precision medicine initiatives already involve above a million volunteers in the US alone, along with several NIH-funded cohorts, and it’s likely that we’ll see the sharing of lifestyle information, genomic data, and biological samples linked to electronic health records as these schemes search for superior health care solutions. The benefits of these initiatives are collaborative and cooperative science, more efficient and better-funded research enterprises, and training advances, but all of this needs to be carefully balanced with the necessary privacy and security demands of big data.

Other advantages provided by big data analysis include a better understanding of rare diseases through the precision provided by aggregated integrated data, as well as predictive modeling able to advance diagnosis of illnesses and diseases both common and rare. Though many opportunities available through big data and big data analytics require a particular cultural shift, our high-tech environment already encourages this change.

Concerns and Further Investigations

Although experts see potential in the use of big data in the healthcare field, we’re also cautioned that unconventional data streams may lack necessary demographic identifiers or provide information that underrepresents particular groups. Further, social media can’t always be relied on as a stable data source. Nevertheless, big data research continues in many unique health care areas: multiple studies are investigating social media and online health forums for drug use and the existence of adverse reactions; one European surveillance system is collecting crowdsourced data on influenza; ResistanceOpen monitors antibiotic resistance at regional levels; and many others provide unique insight into our healthcare systems. The combination of traditional and digital disease surveillance methods is promising, and says Professor Shweta Bansal of Georgetown University, “There’s a magnitude of difference between what we need and what we have, so our hope is that big data will help us fill this gap.”

By Jennifer Klostermann

Zero-Rating and Data Consumption

Zero-Rating and Data Consumption

Zero-Rating

The ordinary mobile user often feels the need to backup their personal files only after they’ve lost it. It’s almost a cliché where a grad student loses their research because a laptop was lost or the father who loses years worth of their kids photos when their phone is stolen.

To combat this, cloud services have tried to become easier to use. Everything from automatic uploads to cross platform access has been implemented.

However, only one addresses the external circumstance that is the data cap: zero-rating.

To be frank, if not for zero-rating, you could argue that not many people would use the cloud as the round-the-clock backup it was intended to be.

So what is Zero-Rating?

Zero-Rating is the practise of mobile carriers allowing users to use a data-consuming service without counting the data used against their cap. Meaning if video streaming app X is zero-rated, I can as much data as I choose through the app and it would not have an impact on my total data cap with the carrier.

cloudtweaks-pokemon-comic

For example, when Pokemon GO first launched in the US, T-Mobile offered customers a limited time offer where data used through the app had no impact on the customer’s data cap.

In short, it’s an incentive tool for mobile carrier that gives customers access to everything from content streaming to gaming on mobile.

But how does zero-rating affect cloud?

It comes back to the issue of round-the-clock protection.

Even with 3.4 billion mobile users across the world, almost 1 in 3 report data loss on mobile. While the circumstances for data loss varies, a big component of why people don’t backup constantly revolves around data caps. Simply put, no one wants to use precious MB to back up personal files because it’s conceivable that they would lose a device (or data in said device) that is with them 24/7.

Yet, mobile users are a walking contradiction when it comes to valuing their data and backing it up. One study found that while 90% of users value the data on their mobile devices. only 10% reported that they backed up their data on a daily basis. Furthermore, 72% of people polled reported that photos and videos were their most important assets on mobile – and every now and then, you hear about these users who lose chunks of precious moments stored on mobile devices.

mobile-cloud

You could argue that the decision to not back up stems more from our own psyche than any technical obstacle. Psychology Today reports that human beings are ill-prepared to deal with risk that do not pose as an immediate consequence.

In some ways, cloud adoption to prevent data loss suffers from the same branch of logic. While it takes a good personal cloud service less than 5 minutes to upload a day’s worth of photos, many of us don’t think to do it because we fail to foresee a mobile disaster. Hence, when disaster strikes, we may end up missing that pivotal group of files and photos that just so happened to remain in the queue to be uploaded.

This is where zero-rating comes into play.

In the aforementioned study, ‘ease of use’ was cited as the highest obstacle to users backing up their data. I would argue that it’s not easy to use an app intended to be automatic when you have to manually find Wi-Fi and enable the app to operate in those locations.

I mean with zero-rating cloud storage resembles car insurance except it has all the perks and nowhere near the price and headaches insurance companies cost.

So does Zero-Rating work?

Given the adoption of zero-rated service across telecoms across the world, my answer would be that zero-rating certainly has an appeal to customer. However, most of the fanfare as it relates to zero-rating revolves around content and OTT messenger services like HBO GO and WhatsApp rather than any cloud services.

From our own internal research, between cloud options that are provided with zero-service and without it, the difference is staggering. Between two mobile service providers in the same market, cloud options with zero-rating enabled have about 10x more growth in users per month than non-zero-rated clouds. A substantial endorsement for zero-rating cloud if it needed any further validation.

With the advent of services from mobile carriers – such as RCS – zero-rating is set to become even more prevalent than it is now. A trend which we have no doubt, would help reduce that total amount of data loss statistically significantly.

By Max Azarov

The Dark Side of AI Part 3 – The Brighter Side

The Dark Side of AI Part 3 – The Brighter Side

The Dark Side of AI Part 3

For the final part in this series I wanted to get away from the doom and gloom of A.I. being the end of the world. Ultimately it is this sort of fear that could lead to secrecy and a dangerous lack of transparency emerging amongst potentially condemned scientists. So to counter the problems and dangers associated with AI, I wanted to explore the most abstract and intelligent applications of Artificial Intelligence that is already having an impact on our lives.

A.I. Lawyer

Ross, the first A.I. lawyer, has been designed and built atop IBM’s cognitive computer Watson to handle the Baker & Hostetler bankruptcy practice (which is currently made up of a team of 50 lawyers). It has been built to read and understand language, suggest hypotheses when asked a question, and research case law and precedent to back up its conclusions. Ross also incorporates deep learning, allowing it gain speed and knowledge the more you interact with it.

Rather than relying on researchers and experts to find obscure precedents and case law, Ross can read through the entire history to help you get the most accurate information quicker and more efficiently. Ross can even monitor ongoing cases and new court decisions that may affect the verdict of your case! As if we didn’t already have enough lawyers…

A.I. Personal DJ

SoundHound is a music and artificial intelligence company that is attempting to merge the two into a brand new speaker – the Hurricane Speaker. The speaker combines a voice controlled personal DJ/assistant, music recognition software (that allows you to sing a tune to it for recognition), and a vast music collection from which to draw from.

The speaker will be capable of selecting music based on a your mood, creating personalised playlists with its Predictive Analysis Library (PAL) algorithm, as well as providing updates on weather, sports, setting alarms, and generally helping to organise your life.

A.I. Doctor

ResApp Health is an Australian “digital healthcare solutions” company, who have been working on an app that can diagnose respiratory conditions using the microphone on a smartphone (acting like a stethoscope). The app applies deep learning algorithms to analyse cough sounds in an attempt to identify conditions such as pneumonia, asthma, bronchiolitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

But this is not an isolated use of machine learning in medicine. Enlitic is using Google’s deep learning open source tech to build an A.I. capable of diagnosing and suggesting treatment in order to help doctors solve medical issue much like a complex data problem. As a test they ran their algorithm with lung CT scans in an attempt to diagnose potentially cancerous growths, comparing it to results given by a panel of world’s top radiologists. Enlitic beat this panel comprehensively, successfully diagnosing every case of cancer when the panel missed 7%, whilst misdiagnosing 19% less cases than the human experts. Survival rates for cancer grow exponentially the earlier it is detected! For bonus points enclitic also helps doctors by showing them similar cases and helping to analyse trends that would be impossible for one doctor to see or consider.

A.I. Journalists Aid

With the associated press already using automation to cover minor league baseball games, it was only a matter of time before A.I. grew into a larger part of journalism. The next step in that growth comes via JUICE, a project funded by Google’s Digital News Initiative, and has been described as a tool to help journalists “discover and explore new creative angles on stories they write”. JUICE is being designed as an add-on to Google Docs, it uses AI systems to analyse what you have written and find creative and productive angles from which to approach the article or story. It is connected to around 470 news sites and automatically runs what they call “creative searches” to pull up relevant articles, cartoons, and multimedia that could be useful to the story. The project is aimed at improving the quality of journalism and helping writers find new ways of approaching their work. The system has had successful trials on journalism students and is expected to be more widely available at some point next year!

Although artificial intelligence can seem like an incredibly scary prospect, it is definitely a tool that has been and can continue to be used to improve many people’s lives and generally be a fantastic aid to the progression of society. However, there is a great deal of caution required in the pursuit of this technology. We cannot allow complacency of the same magnitude that we have allowed in nuclear power, climate change, and cyber security.

By Josh Hamilton

The Dark Side of AI Part 2 – What Are We Doing About It?

The Dark Side of AI Part 2 – What Are We Doing About It?

What Are We Doing About It? 

In a way the creation of Artificial Intelligence (The Dark Side of AI Part 1) has become this century’s nuclear power. Yes, nuclear power could help fuel the world in a much more sustainable way that fossil fuels, but the threat of nuclear war is always possible once nuclear power has been created – this risk vs reward is mirrored in the search to create artificial intelligence.

kaplan-jerryIn the book, Humans Need Not Apply, author Jerry Kaplan suggests that for humanity the future is inside a zoo run by “synthetic intelligences“. He suggests that rather than enslave us, A.I.s are much more likely to keep us on some sort of reserve and give us very little reason to want to leave. Because of the horrifying nature of these types of scenarios, often associated with the creation of AI, scientist have long grappled with how to combat the possibilities of an out of control A.I.

Isaac Asimov proposed three laws of robotics, in his 1942 science fiction novel Runaround, that many suggested could be the answer to preventing an AI uprising/takeover (the same 3 laws that prevented an uprising in I, Robot…).

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  1. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  1. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

However, these laws were designed to be flawed and deliberately vague, or Asimov’s books wouldn’t have made for great reading. The books explore the imperfections, loopholes, and ambiguities that are inherent to these laws and ironically they have only taught us how not to deal with A.I.. But are there ways to protect ourselves? Or are we all doomed to live in a human zoo?

The UN have recently been discussing a banning the use of autonomous weapons, in an attempt to combat the idea of A.I. vs A.I. warfare, and have declared that humans must always have meaningful control over machines. Yet that doesn’t ultimately protect us, the UN have notoriously little power, so it is up to science to provide a solution!

A.I Fears

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Many leaders in the field of A.I. and Deep Learning have come together to sign an open letter to humanity and the scientific community, to combat the fears associated with Artificial Intelligence. The letter itself discusses both the huge benefits that A.I. could provide and weighs them against the great dangers that come hand in hand, with the overwhelming message that emerges being one of caution,

“The potential benefits are huge, since everything that civilization has to offer is a product of human intelligence….We recommend expanded research aimed at ensuring that increasingly capable AI systems are robust and beneficial: our AI systems must do what we want them to do

The letter itself has been signed by a wide spectrum of scientists and politicians from across the world including Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Google’s director of research Peter Norvig, co-founders of DeepMind (the British AI company purchased by Google in January 2014), MIT professors, and experts from technology’s biggest corporations, including IBM’s Watson supercomputer team and Microsoft Research. This type of global collaboration and initiative is key to maintaining control of our creations.

This group are not the only people concerned about the implications of creating Artificial Intelligence, there are many who are actively working on practical solutions. Perhaps the most famous of these is Google, and their work on an A.I. “kill switch”. Developers at DeepMind, Google’s artificial intelligence division, have collaborated with Oxford University researchers to develop a way for humans to keep the upper hand with super-intelligent computers. According to Google’s Laurent Orseau and Stuart Armstrong, members of the Future of Humanity Institute, humanity might need to have some sort of “big red button”, to stop AI from carrying out a “harmful sequence of actions” – in other words humans hold the ultimate trump card to combat a rogue A.I..

The most open and positively reviewed way to combat this problem has been the transparent and collaborative approach fostered by the Future of Life Institute (FLI). David Parkes, an FLI researcher and Harvard professor, has been attempting to teach A.I.s in a system to compromise to help a system of A.I.s to reason and work together. This research will only become more important as computing power develops.

The best way to ensure that A.I. doesn’t lead to an end to humanity is to create an open and collaborative environment for research and development. Google, Facebook and Microsoft all have researchers exploring machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques, and competitors at Open AI worry that the currently open nature of this research will close off as the findings grow exponentially in value. Humanity must remain united on this problem, or else, much like the development of nuclear weapons, this could spell the end of the world.

By Josh Hamilton

Progressions and Predictions of Marketing Technology

Progressions and Predictions of Marketing Technology

Predictions of Marketing Technology

In Gartner’s 2015 Data-Driven Marketing Survey we saw three new technologies entering the hype cycle, Predictive B2B Marketing, Ad Blocking, and Mobile Wallet. Further, the 2016 Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing and Advertising suggested that the combination of four key data-centric marketing driving forces including personalization, real-time marketing systems, the employment of contextual clues, and the convergence of Martech and Adtech would lead to more appropriate uses of IoT devices and analytics, and machine learning and personalization bolstering data-centric marketing tactics. As Gartner’s 2016-2017 Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Spend Survey predicts higher marketing budgets in 2017, one wonders what marketing technology holds for us in the year to come.

Early Adopters

ws_martech_leverage-stackIn the second annual State of Marketing Technology report from Walker Sands, it’s suggested that marketers are becoming more comfortable with the ever increasing variety of tools at their disposal, many adopting martech devices more quickly. Unfortunately, more than half of today’s marketers aren’t managing to keep up with these changes. Though many marketers are seen jumping in with both feet, taking advantage of what one expert summed a landscape of nearly 4,000 solutions, just as many others are entirely overwhelmed by the new technology and requirements of the evolving digital marketing space. Surprisingly, this tremendous array of tools has not led the majority of companies to seek a single vendor for their marketing cloud, a solution which might offer greater ease of use and comfort. Instead, the majority of organizations both large and small are focusing on the integration of best-of-breed architecture to provide the best solution for each requirement, no matter the mix required.

Integration and Best-of-Breed

Along with the data suggesting best-of-breed architecture leads in martech selections, Walker Sands’ study finds that integrated best-of-breed marketing technology is the most popular and the majority of respondents believe their companies are well able to leverage the power of integrated best-of-breed tools. But fragmented best-of-breed stacks shouldn’t be disqualified just yet; currently, 21% of participants indicated use – just 6% less than those using integrated best-of-breed stacks. In fact, integration didn’t rank particularly high when respondents were asked what would better help them leverage the full power of their current marketing technology stack; instead 39% of respondents submitted that better strategy was key to this improved leveraging, and improved analytics and more training also ranked high on the list of ‘keys to fully leveraging martech stack.’

Virtual & Augmented Reality

Both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have recently been moving toward the mainstream with a range of industries developing methods to incorporate the once ‘science fiction’ tech. The advertising and marketing industries are no different. According to the IDC’s annual tech projections, “in 2017, 30% of consumer-facing Global 2000 companies will experiment with AR/VR as part of their marketing efforts.” As marketers recognize the value of interfaces for direct customer engagement, this evolution is occurring faster than expected and the IDC expects virtual and augmented reality adoption to reach mass levels by 2021. In just five years it’s projected that over a billion people globally will regularly use a virtual or augmented reality platform to access data, content, and apps.

It appears that, despite martech concerns such as ad-blocking tools and the effectiveness of some of the digital marketing and advertising tools, the role of digital marketing advertising moves from strength to strength and the plans for spend in this area remain high. A shift of offline media spending to digital channels is also being noted, suggesting that in years to come some of the better digital marketing tools we’re just coming to grips with today will hold an important position in the martech stack. 2017 will probably only see the foundations of a few of these innovations.

By Jennifer Klostermann

The Skill & Training Mandates of Big Data

The Skill & Training Mandates of Big Data

Big Data Mandates

For some years a dearth of data scientists and analysts has caused concern, with McKinsey expecting a demand for analytical expertise 60% greater than available supply by 2017. Additionally, Gartner predicts a shortage of 100,000 data scientists in the US by 2020. In more recent findings, Accenture reported the vast majority of its clients intended to hire employees with data science capabilities but over a third cited lack of talent an impediment. It should come as no surprise that this relatively new, but booming, arena is undergoing significant shifts; big data has suddenly been recognized as a valuable commodity, organizations are investing in big data analytics to improve strategies and operations, and universities and colleges are creating and streamlining data analytics training programs to meet these new skill requirements.

Big Data Analytics

In businesses around the world, the role of big data analytics has grown. Though big data is readily identified as a golden ticket to business success, most organizations are only just coming to terms with the need for suitable data science skills to turn this barrage of information into valuable and constructive insight. Some of the benefits gleaned from analyzed data and predictive analytics include targeted marketing campaigns that provide well-timed offers to the right people, exceptional customer service through better anticipation of needs, and progressive business models able to leverage connectivity for greater success.

As valuable as the data science tools we currently utilize are, industry experts believe the future holds much more. The International Institute for Analytics expects automated data curation and management to free up data scientists and analysts to do more of the work that interests them in future years while the IDC predicts that through 2020 spending on data preparation and self-service visual discovery tools will grow two and a half times faster than traditional IT-controlled tools for comparable functions. Unfortunately, the skills shortage is likely to persist, and Forrester believes the demand won’t be met in the short term, “even as more degree programs launch globally.”

Big Data Training

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No matter the pessimism of some of our top analysts, educational programs aimed at bridging the big data skills gap are increasing and advancing. For those commencing training, a shortage of skills is a distinct advantage as they prepare for a market in which they have the upper hand. At the end of last year, RJMetrics reported that only 11,400 professionals classified themselves as data scientists and 52% of all data scientists had achieved their titles in the last four years. Many companies simply can’t wait for the next batch of graduates to meet their needs and some of the more progressive are implementing their own training schemes which encourage skill development within the organization. Along with STEM schools, online training platforms, and university partnerships, in-house training may help enlarge our skills pool.

It’s interesting also to note that Gartner expects an increase of citizen data scientists in the coming years; states Rita Sallam, VP of Research at Gartner, “Through 2017, the number of citizen data scientists will grow five times faster than the number of highly skilled data scientists.” As businesses and educational institutions provide their own investments into big data skills, it’s important to remember the opportunities technology has offered and continues to offer the self-made individual; opportunities abound too for the unconventionally trained but astute data scientist and as we navigate the current skills gap many have as much sway as their graduate colleagues.

Taking Advantage of the Talent Gap

According to SAS, a provider of industry-leading analytics software and solutions, it’s possible to turn the “analytical talent gap into an analytical talent dividend.” Developing key insights from MIT Sloan Management Review Research Report, “The Talent Dividend,” SAS highlights the value of finding talent that already exists in the business, integrating new hires with existing specialists, and pairing data scientists with business domain experts for better results. Practical business leaders are quickly learning that an innovative approach to talent cultivation often affords greater rewards.

Article sponsored by SAS Software and Big Data Forum

By Jennifer Klostermann

IBM to Double Workloads on SAP HANA® on a Single Server

IBM to Double Workloads on SAP HANA® on a Single Server

Enabling Up to 8 Databases on a Single IBM Power Systems Server, IBM Helps Companies Break the Barriers of Platform Virtualization for SAP HANA

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Today IBM (NYSE: IBM) announces that IBM has expanded the infrastructure choices for companies considering using the SAP HANA® platform to transform their business. Available immediately, companies can deploy up to eight SAP HANA production databases on a single server using the virtualization capabilities of IBM Power. This will help clients to more easily break down barriers of platform virtualization and deploy more SAP HANA workloads on a single server, offering greater flexibility to match a client’s specific needs, ranging from cloud models to balancing critical workloads.

SAP HANA provides enterprise application customers the ability to run their transactions in real-time, combined with real-time analytics to gain insight into their businesses. This includes workloads such as recording a sales transaction, notifying the warehouse to ship from inventory instantly after receiving payment for the order, while sharing real-time insights across all such transactions with decision makers through-out the organization. IBM Power Systems help make it easier to consolidate multiple SAP HANA instances in combination with other applications. This feature offers many benefits to companies, including:

  • Simplifying the integration and management of multiple SAP® systems, including planning for coordinated failover/failback scenarios
  • Increased savings through a smaller footprint and accelerated speed to production
  • Streamlining and consolidation of workloads, enabling test, development and production systems to run simultaneously on the same server.

In addition, Power Systems include the necessary resiliency to run SAP HANA in the most mission-critical environments. This is important as clients migrate their business-critical workloads to SAP S/4HANA®. The Power Systems predictive failure alerts and smart memory resolve potential problems before they occur and provide system administrators with early notification that an automatic resolution has occurred, avoiding system downtime.

Power Systems leadership in flexibility and RAS offers:

  • Live Partition Mobility, which enables clients to move live applications from server to server
  • Elastic Capacity on Demand, enabling system administrators to grow or shrink capacity based on business need
  • High-Availability components designed to deliver more than 99.997% uptime.

Kennametal very much values the reliability, flexibility, scalability and consolidation capabilities of the IBM Power Systems platform, which enables us to plan landscape growth and environment management flexibility as our operational requirements change,” said Steve Parker, Director of Application Development at Kennametal. “If we decide to pursue a strategy of infrastructure consolidation and simplification, it’s good to know that we have a ready-made platform to support that.

Our clients are consistently searching for ways to reduce their overall IT footprint and associated costs without sacrificing capability or performance,” said Kathy Bennett, Vice President for IBM Systems. “With IBM Power Systems we’re enabling companies with the means to use virtualization to match their deployment to their business, and bring processing and data closer together to reduce latency and speed decision making.”

SAP, SAP HANA, SAP S/4HANA and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE (or an SAP affiliate company) in Germany and other countries. See http://www.sap.com/corporate-en/legal/copyright/index.epx for additional trademark information and notices.

All other product and service names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective companies.

Technology Influencer in Chief: 5 Steps to Success for Today’s CMOs

Technology Influencer in Chief: 5 Steps to Success for Today’s CMOs

Success for Today’s CMOs

Being a CMO is an exhilarating experience – it’s a lot like running a triathlon and then following it with a base jump. Not only do you play an active role in building a company and brand, but the decisions you make have direct impact on the company’s business outcomes for years to follow.

The role of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) has evolved significantly in the past several years. Previously, the job was predominantly about establishing an identity — advertising, brand management and thinking creatively — but today it’s a lot more complex. CMOs are now charged with a variety of responsibilities that span technology, analytics and growth strategy, and because they’re often held accountable for contribution to company revenue, today’s CMOs are also responsible for optimizing operational processes and demonstrating measurable impact.

My personal roles in marketing have evolved over the years, as well. Before leading worldwide marketing strategy and execution as ThreatMetrix CMO, I directed the go-to-market strategy for IBM’s portfolio of Software-as-a-Service solutions. Prior to IBM, I served as a Vice President of Corporate Marketing at DemandTec and focused my role around building a modern demand generation engine and repositioning my company’s business to drastically increase our revenue.

In all of my years as a marketing leader, I’ve learned a few key lessons about what it takes to stay effective and deliver a positive return on investment for my department. Below are five tips for CMOs working to navigate today’s ever-evolving digital and mobile-focused business landscape:

1. Think like a CFO

To succeed as CMO, it’s crucial to embrace financial metrics and look beyond top-line spending numbers. Get comfortable speaking with your finance department about topics such as return on capital, budget variance, accrual accounting and revenue recognition as it applies to your marketing operations. Not only will this help build your credibility amongst other company executives, but it will also help streamline your decision-making process. Furthermore, being well-versed in the responsibilities of your CFO will broaden your business acumen and can also help refine your marketing strategy.

2. Align with sales

In addition to embracing financial metrics, it’s important to establish a close relationship with your sales department, because by deeply understanding the customer journey you’ll be able to strengthen marketing alignment to revenue and ultimately yield a stronger marketing-generated sales pipeline. To build a stronger empathy for your sales team, I’ve found it helpful to start by moving outbound sales development representatives out of the sales team and into marketing. Also, make sure you’re comfortable giving detailed product demonstrations (as sales reps development reps do) and work to ensure you’re prepared to step in and lead the sales department should there ever be a leadership transition.

3. Hire creatively

comic-facebook-friends

It may seem obvious, but it’s important to fully understand that the people you hire will drastically impact your productivity and efficacy as CMO. Build a marketing department of leaders who complement one another. Hire people with extensive business and marketing experience and also hire recent college graduates who can offer digital fluency and an aptitude for lifetime learning. Different perspectives from different generations of workers can offer enormous value, often leading to more creative solutions and better business outcomes. Additionally, by bringing together employees with different backgrounds, you as the CMO can unify your department’s strengths to benefit your individual employees and the business as a whole.

4. Embrace ABM

The school of Account Based Marketing (ABM) may just be gaining traction today, but I predict will be a strategic pillar for all CMOs in the near future. Implementing ABM can result in a variety of benefits, including a more focused sales and marketing strategy, a more closely aligned sales and marketing team, an improved buyer journey and additional revenue.

5. Prioritize content

It’s easy to get caught up in the slew of marketing-specific technologies, analytics solutions and metrics, however to achieve long-term success, it’s important to not lose sight of one of the marketing basics: content. Prioritize writing excellence amongst your team, and orient your department around content publishing. Maintain an editorial calendar to ensure your content marketing themes are upheld, and make sure the content you’re creating is forward-looking and centers around what the market cares about (rather than just what you know or sell).

The role of CMO can be challenging at times, and while it’s unclear how the job may evolve in the future, it’s certain to grow even more complex and all-encompassing as technology and data continue to permeate our world. However, by practicing greater interdepartmental empathy and combining new industry techniques with effective, traditional methods, success can be realized today. Perhaps most importantly, in moving beyond the Chief ‘Marketer’ title and embracing the comprehensive business influence they’re capable of, today’s CMOs can seize the opportunity to serve as dynamic leaders and key, corporate decision-makers along with their CEO and other C-suite colleagues.

By Armen Najarian, CMO, ThreatMetrix

armen-najarianArmen leads worldwide marketing strategy and execution for ThreatMetrix. Previously, he directed the go-to-market strategy for IBM’s $1B portfolio of 100+ SaaS solutions. Armen joined IBM through the $440M acquisition of DemandTec, where as VP of Corporate Marketing he built a modern demand generation engine and repositioned the business supporting a 3x increase in revenue over a 5 year span.

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The Storytelling Machine: Big Content and Big Data

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15 Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies

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5 Essential Cloud Skills That Could Make Or Break Your IT Career

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The Future of M2M Technology & Opportunities

The Future of M2M Technology & Opportunities

The Future Of The Emerging M2M Here at CloudTweaks, most of our coverage is centered around the growing number of exciting and interconnected emerging markets. Wearable, IoT, M2M, Mobile and Cloud computing to name a few. Over the past couple of weeks we’ve talked about Machine to Machine (M2M) such as the differences between IoT and…

Cloud Infographic: The Explosive Growth Of The Cloud

Cloud Infographic: The Explosive Growth Of The Cloud

The Explosive Growth Of The Cloud We’ve been covering cloud computing extensively over the past number of years on CloudTweaks and have truly enjoyed watching the adoption and growth of it. Many novices are still trying to wrap their mind around what the cloud it is and what it does, while others such as thought…

6 Tech Predictions To Have A Major Impact In 2016

6 Tech Predictions To Have A Major Impact In 2016

6 Tech Predictions To Have A Major Impact The technology industry moves at a relentless pace, making it both exhilarating and unforgiving. For those at the forefront of innovation it is an incredibly exciting place to be, but what trends are we likely to see coming to the fore in 2016? Below are six predictions…

Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

The Hot Seat Five cloud questions every CIO needs to know how to answer The cloud is a powerful thing, but here in the CloudTweaks community, we already know that. The challenge we have is validating the value it brings to today’s enterprise. Below, let’s review five questions we need to be ready to address…

Internet Of Things – Industrial Robots And Virtual Monitoring

Internet Of Things – Industrial Robots And Virtual Monitoring

Internet Of Things – Industrial Robots And Virtual Monitoring One of the hottest topics in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is the Internet of Things (IOT). According to the report of International Telecommunication Union (2012), “the Internet of things can be perceived as a vision with technological and societal implications. It is considered as a…

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

How to Identify and Authenticate in the Expanding IoT Ecosystem It is a necessity to protect IoT devices and their associated data. As the IoT ecosystem continues to expand, the need to create an identity to newly-connected things is becoming increasingly crucial. These ‘things’ can include anything from basic sensors and gateways to industrial controls…

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy A few weeks ago I visited the global headquarters of a large multi-national company to discuss cloud strategy with the CIO. I arrived 30 minutes early and took a tour of the area where the marketing team showcased their award winning brands. I was impressed by the digital marketing strategy…

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority Research has revealed that third parties cause 63 percent of all data breaches. From HVAC contractors, to IT consultants, to supply chain analysts and beyond, the threats posed by third parties are real and growing. Deloitte, in its Global Survey 2016 of third party risk, reported…

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises The surface costs might give you pause, but the cost of diminishing your differentiators is far greater. Will a shift to the cloud save you money? Potential savings are historically the main business driver cited when companies move to the cloud, but it shouldn’t be viewed as a cost-saving exercise. There…

The Cloud Is Not Enough! Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions

The Cloud Is Not Enough! Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions

Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions Running a cloud server is no longer the novel trend it once was. Now, the cloud is a necessary data tier that allows employees to access vital company data and maintain productivity from anywhere in the world. But it isn’t a perfect system — security and performance issues can quickly…

Why Security Practitioners Need To Apply The 80-20 Rules To Data Security

Why Security Practitioners Need To Apply The 80-20 Rules To Data Security

The 80-20 Rule For Security Practitioners  Everyday we learn about yet another egregious data security breach, exposure of customer data or misuse of data. It begs the question why in this 21st century, as a security industry we cannot seem to secure our most valuable data assets when technology has surpassed our expectations in other regards.…

The Security Gap: What Is Your Core Strength?

The Security Gap: What Is Your Core Strength?

The Security Gap You’re out of your mind if you think blocking access to file sharing services is filling a security gap. You’re out of your mind if you think making people jump through hoops like Citrix and VPNs to get at content is secure. You’re out of your mind if you think putting your…

Three Reasons Cloud Adoption Can Close The Federal Government’s Tech Gap

Three Reasons Cloud Adoption Can Close The Federal Government’s Tech Gap

Federal Government Cloud Adoption No one has ever accused the U.S. government of being technologically savvy. Aging software, systems and processes, internal politics, restricted budgets and a cultural resistance to change have set the federal sector years behind its private sector counterparts. Data and information security concerns have also been a major contributing factor inhibiting the…

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Cloud Email Migration In today’s litigious society, preserving your company’s data is a must if you (and your legal team) want to avoid hefty fines for data spoliation. But what about when you move to the cloud? Of course, you’ve probably thought of this already. You’ll have a migration strategy in place and you’ll carefully…

How To Humanize Your Data (And Why You Need To)

How To Humanize Your Data (And Why You Need To)

How To Humanize Your Data The modern enterprise is digital. It relies on accurate and timely data to support the information and process needs of its workforce and its customers. However, data suffers from a likability crisis. It’s as essential to us as oxygen, but because we don’t see it, we take it for granted.…