Push ‘Black Monday’ Behind Us

Last week marked the 30th anniversary of the biggest crash in history on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which dropped more than 22% in a single day in what became known as Black Monday. The primary cause was poor algorithms programmed into machines, triggering an automated global stock liquidation.

Machine learning has matured since the 1980s, but many of the lessons executives should take away from that crisis remain unheeded.

ServiceNow’s The Global CIO Point of View, a new series of reports and infographics from a survey of 500 CIOs across 11 countries and 25 industries, highlights this serious gap.

Confidence and excitement among CIOs on the possibilities of machine learning are sky high, but changes to business processes that are critical to protecting an organization and its clients are slow to come.

For example, 90% of CIOs are adopting machine learning into their companies. More than half are advancing beyond the automation of routine tasks to the automation of complex decisions. And, the proportion of respondents investing in machine learning will nearly double over the next three years to 64%.

However, just 18% of CIOs have developed policies for ensuring the accuracy of data. A similarly small 17% have addressed the legal risk of mistakes made by machines. This leaves companies vulnerable to mistakes, external cybersecurity threats, and unexpected changes to financial markets.

Business leaders are also slow to alter business processes that are key to optimizing machine learning investments. For instance, only 27% have hired employees with machine learning skill sets. Moreover, 51% of CIOs say the quality of their data is inhibiting the use of intelligent machines. Dive deeper into the data here.

At ServiceNow Inspire, we work with C-Suite executives across industries to address these issues and create a more robust organization that is empowered by technology, not distressed by it.

Thinking about how much the workplace has changed since the 1980s, we know that the future of work will be very different. These transformations are more about people and process than anything else—a lesson we must learn from Black Monday. Technology strategies must align holistically with processes across the organization.

Learn more about the Inspire method in our new video.

Together, we make the ‘art of the possible’ real—and the market gains follow.




Michael Hubbard
Michael Hubbard is an advisor to executives of the largest firms in the world on obtaining value from enterprise software and technology. As the global vice president for ServiceNow Inspire, he spearheads growth of the second company in history to achieve $1B in software‑as‑a‑service subscription revenue. Hubbard served as a global vice president at VMware, a cloud technology innovator as they grew from $800m to over $6B in revenue. He helped the company’s most transformative and successful customers to attain cloud computing and IT‑as‑a‑service outcomes. Previous to that, he served in various application leadership roles with Oracle after delivering multi‑year enterprise‑wide customer consulting engagements with SAP, EDS, and ATKearney. Hubbard holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from University of Illinois, and certifications in technology and program delivery from Stanford University, SAP, Oracle, and VMware.

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