Interview with Founder & President of StarCIO: Driving Digital: How Every Business can Win With the IOT and Real Time Data Processing

In preparation for the TOLA IT & Security Leaders Forum taking place on February 24 – 26 in San Antonio, TX, we caught up with Isaac Sacolick, Founder & President of StarCIO and speaker at the event to discuss how every business can win with IoT and real time data processing and gain some insight in to his scheduled presentation on the topic.

At the SINC TOLA IT & Security Leaders Forum you will be running a session on how every business can win with IoT and real time data processing. Can you begin by providing some insight in to the key discussion points you intend to cover?

There’s a lot buzz and hype around emerging technologies especially IoT, AI, and applications that integrate both capabilities. It’s easy to be paralyzed by the hype and not know where to start, or, to drink from the media firehose and underestimate the steps required to plan and implement these technologies.


My talk will bring IoT down to earth. I’ll share some practical use cases and how CIO, CISO, and IT leaders should think about experimenting with these technology capabilities.

In order to compete effectively, companies of all sizes are striving to become “real-time enterprises”. What pressures are being experienced as they look to leverage new data sources from IoT?

Let’s first consider IoT where enterprises likely need to process higher volumes and velocities of data. Depending on the volumes, speed, and compute complexities, real time processing may require a different architecture compared to batch data processing and centralized data warehousing that were central to big data platforms. Organizations need to look at edge computing infrastructure, 5G networks, and data stream processing for the higher data volume and velocity use cases. In addition, it needs a more end to end approach in providing data security at capture, transmit, compute, and at rest.


Even enterprises that aren’t experimenting with IoT have to consider how to develop competitive advantages with more real time analytics. This is ingrained in financial service applications where split-second trading is table stakes and is now becoming increasingly more important in healthcare, advertising, and retail where customer experience is a key differentiator.

In what way does culture play a role in this?

Organizations can’t transform or win with emerging technologies without challenging the status quo and seeking ways to become smarter, faster, and innovative with data and technology. Leaders incentivized by the legacy business model (ie, what makes the enterprise profitable today) can easily be detractors to new business models, disruptive products, or new technologies. Transformation leaders also have to drive change with “bottoms up” processes like agile, and devops.

Are there specific industries which seem to be on to a winning formula and why would certain industries experience greater challenges?

I started my career in transformation by helping newspapers and later magazines transform their business models and products from print to digital. I had a front seat to an entire industry that didn’t change fast enough.


Some technology companies are illustrating elements of winning formulas. Think about all the right and wrong moves Netflix made in transforming from a DVD-by-mail company to a streaming platform with proprietary, award winning content. How about Garmin, that was road kill (pun intended) after Apple launched maps and an app store so that no longer needed GPS devices in their autos. Their primary business disappeared overnight and over the last several years has been replaced with devices in aviation, nautical, and wearable.


What you can learn from these examples is that transformation has to be disruptive from within, requires experimentation, and needs leaders that can drive a fast-changing environment.

Following your session at the event, what do you ultimately want the attendees to take away and begin implementing within their respective organizations?

With regards to IoT and data streaming, I think attendees have to start by fully understanding their data processing and management capabilities. It’s the arteries and the brains behind real time data processing and without a firm understanding of an organization’s existing data assets, platforms, and capabilities, it’s hard to roadmap a program that targets emerging capabilities.

Second, leaders need to find partners. Technology is moving too fast and to expect internal teams to come up with optimal and implementable solutions on their own is unrealistic.


Isaac Sacolick (@NYIke) is the Founder and President of StarCIO, a services company that helps clients succeed with data and technology while executing “smarter, faster, and more innovative” transformation programs. Isaac is a successful CIO who has led digital transformation, product development, innovation, agile management, and data science programs in multiple organizations. He is the author of the Amazon bestseller, Driving Digital: The Leader’s Guide to Business Transformation Through Technology, and has written over four hundred articles as a contributing editor at InfoWorld, and Social, Agile and Transformation. He is an industry speaker on digital transformation, becoming a data driven organization, artificial intelligence, agile management, and other leadership topics. Isaac has  been recognized as a top digital influence by IDG, Enterprise Management 360, and Thinkers360, a top 100 CIO in STEM, a top social CIO by HuffPost, Forbes, and HP Enterprise.