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5 Takeaways from the Gartner Symposium ITxpo

Digital, bimodal, risky, and increasingly smart

the digital challenge cio

This year’s Gartner event in Orlando was the world’s largest gathering of CIOs and proved to be enormously informative, as always. Let’s look at some of the highlights from the Symposium:

It’s a digital business. What does becoming a digital business mean? Always on, always connected, self-service, automation, mobile, cloud, big data, IoT, pay-as-you-go and more. According to Gartner, “digital business watches what the customer does, not just what the customer wants. It’s less about data, and more about intelligent algorithms” – that determine your best response to what the company is seeing in the marketplace. From IBM’s Watson to your ERP system of record, software will become “smarter” and is at the heart of the digital revolution.

It’s a “bimodal” enterprise. The digital business does not exist in a vacuum. In fact, most enterprises face a merging of the analog and digital worlds. An example is Walmart’s major revamp of its web and mobile presence to better compete with the Amazons of the world. Growth is slowing, and there’s a lot riding on this “bimodal” initiative.

Ten years ago, IT controlled 70% of total enterprise technology spending. By 2017, that number drops to 50% as business units determine more of their own course. Technology ownership has shifted and talent has shifted as well to the rest of the business. So the CIO’s challenge is to ensure that this bimodal enterprise executes well across the complex landscape. After all, the CIO wears three hats, according to Gartner: Guardian. Operator. Innovator. And they need the right platforms to support each one.

Digital risk is a thing. By 2020, 50% of businesses will have a Digital Risk Officer, focused on new concerns in security and quality. In fact, Gartner predicts that 30% of IT budgets will be spent on risk, security, and compliance; and 10% of the headcount, which will be 3 times the 2011 levels.

It’s more than just hackers. Glitches will continue to happen – “mostly when systems grow too complex and brittle to be reliable.” Companies will be investing more in “resilience,” including more automation and more outsourcing to deliver the quality they need.

Shift from a “prevent” mentality to “detect and respond.” According to Gartner, companies should adopt a “detect and respond” approach. It’s about moving from “distrust until you have a reason to trust” to “trust until you have a reason to distrust.” Preventing customer access, stifling interaction, inserting onerous controls, and suppressing technology change will only hurt the business. Better to embrace the pace of digital business, but use high velocity automation to detect glitches or breaches in security so that your team can respond quickly and in real time. Companies need to put in place smart algorithms and intelligent automation to verify, detect, and respond.

“Use software to keep up with software.” High levels of automation will be required to manage the complexity of the digital world. The ‘post-app’ era is coming where digital devices will play a more complex pro-active role in human and business interactions. By 2020, autonomous software agents (outside human control) will participate in 5% of all economic transactions. And by 2018, 6 billion connected things will be requesting support, according to Gartner. In other words, your car will be scheduling its own oil change! So businesses will need to start viewing “things” as customers. Is that enough complexity for you?

To make digitalization happen, gain expertise fast. Gartner talked about a growing number of “techquisitions” or venture investments by companies to gain digital competency quickly. They also advised firms to use new digital suppliers to provide real time insights with advanced automation. “If someone can do it and will do it better than you – let them do it!” Nobody wants to be left behind, because the inability to move fast enough to compete is one of the biggest threats companies face.

It was a week of big ideas in Orlando. See you at the 2015 Gartner ITxpo in Barcelona, where automation plays well in supporting four of Gartner’s ten track themes:

  • "Renovate the IT Core" - Automation makes vital consolidation and upgrade projects fast, efficient, reliable, and less costly.
  • "Architect the Digital Business" - Apply essential test automation to keep pace with digital business as you deploy innovation.
  • "Plan for the Digital Future" - Your vision needs to include high velocity daily testing and an expectation of flawless execution.
  • "Drive Business Growth" - Deploy new, mission-critical technology faster with automation. In fact, there's no faster way!

For more on intelligent automation solutions, contact us here.

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