CxO Talk episode two: Big data, analytics, and HR technology

From 15th-century Medici to today's big data, experts Naomi Bloom and Nenshad Bardoliwalla go broad and deep on analytics, enterprise software, and HR technology.
Written by Michael Krigsman, Contributor

In this episode of CxO Talk, co-host Vala Afshar and I talk with two brilliant experts who shine a spotlight on analytics, big data, HR, and enterprise software. The conversation is fun (look at the image below), but also brings out an extraordinary level of insight from the guests.

CxO Talk is a weekly show that explores the CIO/CMO relationship through conversations with thought leaders, practitioners, and others with strong and important voices.

Both guests this week are amazing:

  • Naomi Bloom is perhaps the most well-respected HR technology consultant and analyst out there. Naomi's influence extends to the largest companies in the world and she advises virtually all major developers of HR technology products.
  • Nenshad Bardoliwalla is an analytics expert, author, and part of the founding team at two venture-funded startups. He possesses one of the smartest, most insightful minds in enterprise software today.
Nenshad Bardoliwalla and Naomi Bloom
Nenshad Bardoliwalla and Naomi Bloom, from the CxO Talk video

The show begins with Nenshad offering a brief history of enterprise software, tracing the history of reporting and analytics back to the Medici days. Seriously, I'm not making this up.

The show continues with a discussion of the challenges organizations face when trying to use analytics effectively. As Naomi says:

There aren't enough people who understand which analytics to use let alone how to put it together. CMOs are drowning in analytic opportunities but need to learn to take advantage of the data.

An important part of the conversation offers advice to enterprise software vendors who want to design better products. Nenshad explains that, historically, software designers created products based on computer limitations rather than the human factors, which created serious user adoption issues despite the economic success of enterprise software.

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He adds that software is getting easier to use because "startups today have access to more computational power than ever before. Techniques in data visualization, data discovery, and text mining are now available to the average person, creating a new generation of enterprise and consumer software that is easier to use."

He suggests focusing on user needs and better communication, along with instrumenting the software to test whether users are getting value from the system.

Naomi takes this point a step further, saying that enterprise software should "pump analytics outputs to the decision maker at the point of sale." She argues that the right data can provide the "big insights" needed to drive behavioral change, but it is then essential to incent and reward behaviors "that are healthy."

Nenshad points out that securing buy-in at the point of sale requires enterprise buyers to correlate analytics data to achieve better results. In other words, the value of analytics lies in providing information that decision makers find relevant, useful, and measurable.

Here is the entire CxO Talk episode with Naomi and Nenshad. It's a rare opportunity to hear two brilliant people discuss topics that should be important to every CIO and CMO:

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