Blurring the Lines Between CEOs, CTOs, CFOs, and CIOs in the Digital Age

With the rise of the Digital Age and the Internet of Things (IoT), the business environment is going through a series of disruptive changes that seem to alter the most fundamental aspects of the economy. It would seem that almost nothing will remain as it was before. The traditional hierarchical system begins to break down, as seen with most of the start-ups today.

These examples presented here are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the disruption brought forth by today's technological revolution.

The implementation of new technologies has taken center stage, as of late, meaning that the bridge between business and IT is closer than ever. And as a consequence, the lines between CEOs, CTOs, and CIOs are also beginning to blur. So, what are the responsibilities of these three positions?

CEO - As the most senior corporate, executive, or administrative officer, the CEO is tasked with looking at the big picture items regarding company growth.

CTO - The chief technology officer, or sometimes known as the chief technologist, is tasked with all technological and scientific issues regarding the organization.

CIO - The chief information officer, on the other hand, works with traditional information technology (IT) as well as all computer systems that support the enterprise's goals.

CFO - The chief financial officer is responsible for financial affairs within the organization. The modern CFO is using emerging technology for more strategic planning.

Does your business plan for 2019 include how your organization can best leverage technology? With technology becoming so prevalent in companies and their successes and growth, the relationship between the CEO/CTO/CIO/CFO etc is growing stronger.

The Merger of Roles

Looking at these simple definitions and together with what we mentioned previously, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that these three roles within an organization begin to overlap. As technology is becoming a significant factor in an organization's growth and efficiency, it only stands to reason that the CEO will also have to consider it.

Similarly, the CIO and CTO positions are also evolving in response to this digital transformation of the business landscape. This shift is represented by how CIOs view their roles within a company. In 2017, for instance, only 20% of CIOs still saw themselves solely in their traditional roles of managing IT operations. That number was down from 27% the year prior.

By comparison, around 50% of CIOs are more focused on implementing new systems and aligning them with the company's business goals - a figure up from 45% in 2016. Also, 31% lean towards a more strategic focus, spending the majority of their time on various business innovation and growth activities.

At the same time, however, the business side of an enterprise is becoming more tech savvy. With an overall increase in digital literacy and programming skills, it's becoming increasingly apparent that these roles are overlapping in certain areas. It was Brook Colangelo, EVP, and CTO at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, who once said in a tweet that “Everybody is a technologist and everybody in technology is in the business.”

In other words, these business leaders need to forsake the traditional way of doing things and take advantage of these skill sets. They need to create an environment in which employees are empowered to innovate, thanks to today's many digital technologies.


New Education Category in Visio Pro for Office 365

New Education Category in Visio Pro for Office 365

As written on
Years of research suggest students learn best when presented new material in diverse and interactive ways. Gone are the days of lecture-only classrooms; today, educators incorporate a variety of methods to boost learning outcomes. One of those methods, of course, is visual. We’re excited to announce new Microsoft and third-party templates for Visio Pro for Office 365 to help educators present information in highly visual and exciting ways, while helping students better engage across subjects.

New Education templates

Visio Pro for Office 365 is adding more than 20 education templates and sample diagrams that span core subjects, including algebra, trigonometry, chemistry, and physics. These tools bring subjects to life and boost comprehension. For example, in algebra, students can move pre-built shapes to better understand the Pythagorean theorem. Additionally, Visio’s latest offerings include templates and diagrams for curriculum planning, games, sports, hobbies, and music, giving institutions a breadth of solutions for driving a well-rounded education.

Interactive Learning

Visio shapes have customizable options that enable visuals to respond intelligently to changes in size and context. For example, teachers can use Visio’s smart shapes to illustrate trigonometry concepts by interacting with diagrams to change the underlying information in real time.
Here is another interactive way to learn about the Pythagorean theorem:

Powerful ecosystem

Now you can access third-party content directly from within Visio Pro for Office 365 for your specialized diagramming needs. For the initial launch, we will deliver access to eight templates and five sample diagrams from our trusted content partners. We’re also enabling even greater interactive learning with partner solutions for OneNote. Companies like GeoGebraDesmos, and Quizlet now enable ready-made content that integrates with OneNote, helping students learn through hands-on visuals in the virtual notebooks they use every day.

The Digital Age of Data Art

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The digital age of data art

By Maxence Grugier as written on
Many artists use as material for art the raw data produced by our societies, seeking innovative means of display or transforming it into a work of art. By blurring boundaries between art and information, data art dispels the myth of the romantic artist while offering a fundamental artistic act in a critical commentary of the digital age in which we live.
An age that is supposedly open and yet increasingly obscure or incomprehensible to non-specialists. By re-appropriating these reams of information, or big data, data artists reintroduce fantasy to an age of increasingly abstract data and concepts.
The objective of data art is to create aesthetic forms and artistic works from the digital nature of the data generated from big data (graphics, simulations, worksheets, statistics, etc.). Any virtual data produced by our environment can be transformed into images, objects or sounds. Data art also presents the underlying links that exist between the ubiquitous algorithms in our lives — figures from databases, raw data, data collected by search engines, calculations and statistics (geographical, political, climatic, financial) and artistic creation.

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Art and information technology are still unfortunately widely perceived as evolving in two conflicting worlds, but a new generation of artists working in the field of electronic media cannot afford to consider the world — and art — in these terms. Using media and IT tools is a creative process that is natural for them (this usually involves information technology: software development; programming; data analysis; algorithms; documentation and meta-data retrieval on the Internet, etc.).
This still-emerging aesthetic trend offers a new interpretation of the increasingly “mathematical” and rationalist world in which we live, re-enchanting the everyday life of homo technologicus. For these artists, this techno-scientific vision only touches the surface of another, much more complex, secret and marvelous world — a world that also speaks volumes, a world of data and information.

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Algorithms and data flow

The world in which we live is almost entirely governed by algorithms. An algorithm is a sequence of computer instructions, applied systematically by a machine, or by software. In the past, an operator instructed a computer and commands were performed. With algorithms, the computer carries out automatic tasks alone, unassisted.
Some algorithms are the syndication’s key participants (subscription to a data flow; for example, RSS flow). They search for information and send it to the user registered on a “syndication feed.” Of course, other algorithms pick up the same data. These programs capture — and therefore propose — content, according to prior choices made by the user (on Google, Amazon, Facebook, Yahoo, etc.); these are flow aggregators and big data collectors.
The current quantitative explosion of digital data streams requires new ways for this information to be visualized. The processing of the research, retrieval, storage and analysis of this data is still an emerging sector, but it provides work for evaluation and analysis specialists, as well as for artists. Processing this extremely complex and diversified data is responsible for a brand new economic sector emerging in the field of information technology, along with new forms of artistic creation.

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Data visualization, the first step in data art

Data visualization has become a fundamental discipline as more and more businesses, local councils and public services are forced to invent visually amusing and striking ways to classify dig data generated by the movements in populations, their patterns of consumption, communication and travel, etc.
The first step in the world of data art consists of addressing how to view this data. Amongst the pioneers of this discipline, previously solely scientific and devoted to graphical representations of statistical data, are theorist Edward Tufte, responsible for the creation of sparklines (a concise graphic format developed for insertion in text), and Ben Shneiderman, who invented treemap in 1990.
Amongst the other graphical representation techniques and terminology, there are bar charts, pie charts (better known as Camembert or Donut Chart), scatter graphs, lines, bubbles, heat maps, (mapping of “hotspots”), etc. They all refer to the different ways of making visually attractive and, above all, understandable the reams of data (also called “datascapes”) that shape our everyday lives.
Data visualization, often generating extremely complex graphics, sometimes becomes artistic. Matt Willey, for example, draws inspiration from these forms with At This Rate and 2060 Poster, to show the impact of the economy and human activities on the environment.

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The origins of data art

To give a timeline to the origins of what is today known as data art (also called information art or informatism), reference should be made to the minimalist artist Kynaston McShine and his exhibition “Information,” given at the MoMA in 1970.
By choosing to present the combination of science, informatics and information technology with the most classical forms of art (including performance art, visual art, digital art and conceptual art), McShine proposes a first definition of data art. In the MoMA exhibition catalogue, he wrote: “Increasingly artists use mail, telegrams, telex machines, etc., for transmission of works themselves — photographs, films, documents — or of information about their activity.”
For Kynaston McShine, art and information already formed one single progressive movement, in a period literally “made of information.” Other signs of data art are also apparent amongst pioneers of generative art, an artistic form calling upon computer-generated creation via algorithms and computer language.

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However, before the advent of today’s extremely complex forms of data art, there were works like those by the artist Mark Napier, part of the generative art movement, who produced Black and White, a work based on the stream of information captured by “Carnivore,” a software program developed by the FBI in the 2000s.

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An increasing number of facets of our existence interact with each other through the multiple flow networks forming today’s information landscape. A historical and technological context that inspired Julian Oliver, for example, with Packet Garden, a project depicting our movements on the web portrayed as incredible engineered gardens, and Jason Salavon who, with American Varietal, offers a creative view of American ethnic plurality.

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These intricately linked communication and movements are then assembled in huge databases by the algorithmic machine. This is what, for example, inspired one of the pioneers of data art, Aaron Koblin, with Flight Patterns (2009), a data art classic visualizing air traffic, a material representation of worldwide communication.

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Others, like the German artist Stefan Sagmeister, wish to resume the immaterial and abstract appearance of figures, streams and data recovery program. Move Your Money is a humorous, 3D inflatable metaphor — based on children’s bouncy inflatable castles — to make international monetary flows tangible.

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In a more amusing — and rock ‘n roll — way, with The Long Black Veil, the artist Jeffrey Docherty creates an intangible map of the 1980s Punk and New Wave scene. Love Will Tear Us Apart Again by Peter Crnokrak is a diagram of the emotional impact of the resumption of Joy Division hit Love Will Tear Us Apart in different countries and by different interpreters. With Serendipity in 2014, Kyle McDonald proposes a map connecting people listening to the same piece at the same time on Spotify.

Poetic flows

Creative apps and imagination are considerable in this field. The goal of data art, inspired by very down-to-earth techniques to visualize data, is above all to make the invisible visible. However, by formatting these reams of data, data artists are not content with making legible the mesh of information from which it is formed, they also take a critical look at our society.
By appropriating this intangible flow of data, data artists position themselves as observers and testify to behaviors, inferring details about mankind, the eternal demiurge — whether artists or sociologists, mathematicians or business men — for whom data collection indicates a compulsive need to control their even most abstract environment.

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However, with the evolution of generative graphics and data capture techniques, contemporary data art artists sometimes go beyond criticism to deliver instantly beautiful works of art that speak for themselves… almost.
This is the case with Jonathan Harris and Sepandar Kamvar, with We Feel Fine, an exploration of human emotions, or Reynald Drouhin with Internet Protocol City, a generator of “ghost towns” transforming the IP addresses of Internet users into monochrome buildings, when abstract and cold data changes into the pure state of metaphoric beauty.