More than 9,000 CIOs and IT leaders converged on Orlando, FL this week to attend Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2018 to improve IT strategy with knowledge gained from global business thought leaders and leading technology industry research. I’m happy to say, we weren’t disappointed! Throughout the week, several trends were ever-present including:

  • Digital Transformation – Investment to exploit the unique opportunities created by digital transformation is increasing. To drive and accelerate transformation, top-performing organizations are designing and embracing new operating models.
  • The Future of Work – To successfully manage the uncertainty and constantly evolving nature of digital business, leading organizations are challenging and subverting traditional norms regarding how people work.
  • Innovation as Success Driver – Organizations that discover and apply innovative uses of information to business processes and the evaluation of technology will have the greatest impact on the digital transformation journey.

From Digital Transformation to ‘ContinuousNEXT’

According to Gartner EVP and Global Head of Research Mike Harris, digital transformation isn’t enough any longer. Harris, who opened the conference as part of the first keynote, asserted that organizations must go further and adopt the posture of ContinuousNEXT to confront and adapt to changes in technology, competition, and business. To embody this approach, business leaders must constantly introduce new practices, develop new capabilities and create new ways to succeed.

In our era of continuous change, Gartner suggested that the single biggest predictor of success is organizational Dynamism – how well does your business embrace change and adopt technologies in new ways. Not surprisingly, more than 75 percent of organizations struggle with dynamism, according to Gartner research.

Implementing ‘ContinuousNext’

To implement a ContinuousNEXT strategy, Gartner recommends 5 imperatives for Chief Information Officers:

  1. Privacy – customers are not willing to give up security in exchange for convenience. GDPR is the biggest example in B2B. People deleting social media accounts is another in B2C;
  2. Augmented Intelligence – stopping short of the hype over artificial intelligence, this is the concept that performance of people will be enhanced through intelligence systems;
  3. Culture – take small actions that have immediate results and are visible to the whole team at once (e.g., low hanging fruit) – it doesn’t have to be big and difficult;
  4. Product Management – design thinking and agile methodologies to get more done with generally the same resources as in the past;
  5. Digital Twin – blend the physical and digital worlds through software to understand its state, respond to change, improve operations, and add value.

Of course, there were many thought leaders and inspirational guest speakers at the conference, including Ginni Rometty (President and CEO of IBM), Peyton Manning (NFL Quarterback), Fareed Zakaria (Journalist and Author), Megan Smith (CIO of the U.S.), and others. Each speaker offered a different perspective on the theme of ContinuousNEXT.

Looking forward, Gartner unveiled it’s annual top strategic predictions for 2019, which revolved around three fundamental effects of continuous digital innovation: artificial intelligence and skills, cultural advancement, and the productization of processes enabled by increased digital capabilities. More about each trend can be found on Gartner’s website here.

This was my third time attending Gartner Symposium/ITxpo and each time I’ve come away with interesting new insight and opportunities to explore further.

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