Re-imagine IT: Lead from the Front was the theme of this year’s Gartner Symposium in Orlando. This blog has featured re-imagining IT, but after four days and literally hundreds of conversations the full scope of re-imagination and the courage of those who dare to re-imagine is becoming clear.
CIOs and IT executives who came to this year’s symposia taught me many things. It is always an honor to participate in helping to figure out and move forward to the future.
One CIO I spoke with noted a positive tone in this year’s discussions with fellow CIOs.
Positive? But what about the economy? What about the uncertainty? How can there be positive tone among participants? Isn’t it time to be cutting IT costs again? Time to hunker down even deeper in the face of major issues in the global economy?
Yes positive because despite the very real concerns mentioned above, there is a sense of forward movement. A sense that we need to do something because we cannot wait for a recovery and we cannot cut our way to success. This type of pragmatic courage was tangible at this year’s Symposium.
Realizing that you need to move forward begs the question of where to go and how to get there. This year there are new answers to these questions in the form of the first major, broad based, cross supplier set of ideas in technology in the last 10 years.
Mobile, social, cloud, big data, analytics, etc were all prominent at this year’s symposium. These topics were areas for last year as well, but there was a qualitative difference in 2011 as the focus this year was on business application rather than technical explanation. These technologies are going mainstream much faster than people anticipated. The top 10 technologies for this year had a decided application focus.
Interest in the technology companies that are increasingly forming tech oligopolies was intense. Sessions discussing Google, Apple, Oracle, SAP, among others were swamped. Workshops in these areas were oversubscribed and we added new sessions. “Net it out” sessions had people standing in the hallways to listen to the talk.
The buzz at the event was about how it was time to re-imagine IT because its time to re-imagine the enterprise. That mean getting new ideas and capabilities into the marketplace for growth, customer experience and competitiveness.
This is a BOTH AND approach as growth is needed, but vigilance on cost across the organization remains. Pursuing a dual strategy of focused growth innovation initiatives will share the agenda with continually reducing cost, complexity and time.
The old answers to questions of cost, competitiveness and value creation have come and while many remain. The energy is around new answers to new questions not because what we do now is wrong; rather leaders recognize that a change in direction requires application of new ideas. Continuing on the course that helped us survive current global financial crisis is not going to be the path to recovery and growth.
Technology is gaining in importance to every business.
But that does not mean that IT is gaining importance.
Listening and learning from CIOs in Orlando, that message became clear and the need for re-imagination became compelling.
These CIOs are ‘leading to the next level’ and that started in Orlando.
What did you learn?