Predict & Prepare 2015: Experts Recommend Putting Data to Work

At Workday’s 7th annual Predict & Prepare, a panel of industry experts discussed how individuals and organizations should best prepare for 2015 in the areas of finance, human resources, and technology. While they didn’t agree on everything, panelists did find areas of common ground. Chief among them was the growing opportunity to use data to gain insights.

Predict and Prepare 2014

The willingness and ability to grab this opportunity will distinguish winners from losers in the coming years, according to Naomi Lee Bloom, Vinnie Mirchandani, and Brian Sommer, who spoke on the panel with Bill Kutik as moderator. Predict & Prepare 2015 was aired via live Webcast on December 16.

“There’s a growing chasm between companies that embrace new information and those who haven’t, or don’t have the intellectual curiosity,” said Sommer, adding that companies are using these insights to drive revenue. CFOs need to consider the vast opportunities provided by new sources of data and look to incorporate external, unstructured data with their “old world of controlled, structured data,” he said. For CIOs, Mirchandani likened this to moving “out of a system of record and into a system of advantage.”

In the workplace, competition for top talent will only intensify, according to Bloom and Kutik. What’s more, the most in-demand individuals typically use data to their advantage to learn about potential employers and new job opportunities, and they bring that natural curiosity to their jobs. “Those that work through data and figure out how to make a better business—those are the skills of the future,” Bloom said. She also stressed the importance of providing hiring managers with insights into their workforces and talent pools next year and beyond.

Business and IT executives need to pay attention to the ever increasing influx of new technologies delivering new kinds of data—everything from “wearables like Fitbits to open source technologies like Hadoop,” Mirchandani said. Cultivating organizations that are open and accepting of this growing wealth of data will also attract the best talent. “We’re seeing change like mankind hasn’t seen before,” Mirchandani said. “People are far more curious and open-minded. Curiosity is a huge component of the next generation of employees.”

The panel finished the event with their individual predictions. Among the highlights:

Naomi Lee Bloom: 2015 will see the delivery of systems that offer recommended actions based on contextual data, “the holy grail of analytics.”

Vinnie Mirchandani: A “major upheaval” will occur in IT services and implementation methods. In addition, CIOs will “use new tools to ensure the scary cost overruns and failures for HR and financial systems are just a painful memory.”

Brian Sommer: Finance executives will “demand a different kind of briefing book for Wall Street” that includes new metrics and data sources for evaluating and measuring assets. “Not more reporting tools but more relevant ones.”

For more on these expert insights and recommendations, watch the replay of Predict & Prepare 2015.