Are you ready to weather the Digital Disruption? 5 takeaways from 2016 Gartner Symposium

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There were some knowledge moments that I recently experienced at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo  in Orlando, especially during the keynote sessions delivered by Gartner Analysts Peter Sondergaard, Hung Lehong and Daryl Plummer (pictured above). So, what is a knowledge moment? Well, it is that moment when what you hear punctuates and glues together several thoughts that you have already collected to reveal a trend or a prediction that completely resonates with you. An aha! moment. It almost makes you feel like “why didn't I think of that in the first place?!”

I am not talking about just pure data – how many attendees at the annual Orlando conference – (~10,000). I am referring to powerful concepts and assertions that you are not likely to have divined on your own – it takes a thought leader with the support of the research team to frame these assertions. Please join me as I share my key takeaways with you, along with my own contributing thoughts on how these knowledge moments came about at last month’s Gartner Symposium/ITxpo.

There was a new term that I heard at this conference – business moment. A business moment exploits the connection of people, business and things and allows companies to innovate for entirely new scenarios. It defines that moment of interaction with the customer presenting an opportunity to address the needs right then and there. These business moments don't come with advance notice – and when they do happen, it behooves enterprises to have all the right information with context to serve the customer's needs. Innovating the business is all about the trifecta of business model, business process and now, the business moment.

Back to those Knowledge Moments.

Are you ready to weather the Digital Disruption?

Knowledge Moment One. Disruptions feel like tornadoes and hurricanes. Plummer has calibrated a Digital Disruptor Scale that actually lists out the levels of disruptions and steps enterprises can take to address them. Disruption – and therefore, change –  is the new world order. Like tornadoes and hurricanes, you don't have a whole lot of notice – especially the tornadoes. And if your enterprise is hit with the equivalent of a tornado, you better be ready. Here are my thoughts on steps enterprises can take to address these changes. One of those steps includes attempts to disrupt yourself as an enterprise. One of those Gartner knowledge moments – If you are not wrong, you are not trying hard enough!

Knowledge Moment Two. Digital Customer experience may be the only one you have with customers. Customer has been at the epicenter of the business strategy for enterprises ever since the first lemonade stand. However, continuous evolution of technology and the consumer driven market forces are making these experiences more and more digital. So much so that the Digital Customer experience may very well be the only one that matters. Even if you have the best looking brick and mortar facility under the sun, the enterprise is going to be gauged on how responsive the mobile app is! And the information that is made available through the mobile app – because: Information is the new code base. And thus, customer experience is also the new battlefield for competitive differentiation. My favorite knowledge moment from the conference: Don't collect – connect! This one came from Plummer when he was talking about the world of IoT including devices and sensors.

Knowledge Moment Three. Ecosystems are the next evolution for digital. However, digital is not just about technology. The lifespan of a new technological paradigm is determined by its level of passionate adoption before its ultimate commoditization. With technology being the DNA of the Digital Platform, a thriving ecosystem is vital for the continuous evolution of the Digital experience. The ecosystems external to the enterprise matter more than their internal counterparts. Active developer communities can create new products in a week. Technologies like blockchain are building out large ecosystems of players across multiple industries including financial, telco and government. Could Blockchain be extended to mitigate risk during the election season? Gartner also introduced the possibility of new ecosystems emerging through the intersection of existing ones. For example, a Whealthcare ecosystem sprouting from the combined presence of Wealth Management and Healthcare. Collaboration drives innovation at such purposeful intersections.

Knowledge Moment Four. CIOs are builders again. Despite all the concerns about the changing role of the CIO, the IT landscape has evolved to a point where CIOs are builders again – a born again CIO, so to speak! The consumer-driven demand for agile and continuous availability of new products and features has resulted in visions originally planned for the next era quickly becoming projects for next year. Gartner cautions to value IT investments as assets and not as cost. Collaborative CIOs will double the ecosystem of partners over the next two years. And while doing this, CIOs have to be extremely cognizant of the cost. Take inventory, but be ruthless in modernizing your infrastructure. Best practices are the solutions for yesterday’s problems. Inject them with new ideas crafted by experienced hands with a beginner’s mind.

Knowledge Moment Five. You need a Digital Anthropologist. Diversity is vital to bring in complementary perspectives when addressing a problem domain. Even though diversity in gender, culture and ethnic are good steps in this direction, what really matters is cognitive diversity – not just who you are but how we think. It is important to have diversity of thought with Unity of Purpose. By the way, the fact that all the Virtual Private Assistants showcased at Gartner were the female gender – Alexa, Siri, Amelia etc. – is really gender bias manifesting itself unbeknownst to some of us!  

Those then are some of the knowledge moments that I experienced at Gartner where I also presented my thoughts on the relevance of innovation in the digital world.  Special acknowledgment to Plummer for hearing me out on my thoughts during the Happy Hour!

If information is the new code base, knowledge is our most valuable asset. It behooves us to maximize these knowledge moments by attending conferences like the ones coordinated by Gartner. Did you attend this conference? Were there any knowledge moments that you experienced? Please let me know.

E.G. Nadhan is the Chief Architect and Strategist for North America at Red Hat. He provides thought leadership on various concepts including Cloud, Blockchain, Analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) through multiple channels including industry conferences, executive roundtables as well as customer-specific executive briefing sessions.


Thank you for the tweet back E.G.Nadhan!

Knowledge Moment Six. "The Business of Software". Connecting software metrics with business outcomes is crucial for the digital economy. The more digital an organization becomes, the more important it is for business and technology leaders to understand the impact it has on the business model. Most companies are ill-prepared on the topic. Accountability, cost, quality, and risk from the sources assets to the people building them, it all plays a role in how successful digital happens inside the organization. It's not enough to be digital, you have to get there with the right tools, people, and processes. We summarize this as the Software Business Management discipline.

Thank you for reading the article and sharing your Knowledge Moment. Right metrics captured and processed with relevant business outcomes are bound to yield new Knowledge Moments. Exciting!