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What I learned from CIOs at the Gold Coast Australia Symposium

by Mark P. McDonald  |  November 16, 2012  |  Comments Off

The seventh and final Gartner Symposium ITXpo completed this week at Gold Coast, Australia.   This completes a set of posts related to prior events in Tokyo, Goa, Orlando, Sao Paulo, Barcelona and now the Gold Coast.  The links point to what I have learned from these other venues.

This is the second year of holding symposium at the Gold Coast.   Four days of presentations, meetings and discussions illustrate the changing nature of technology and IT in Australia and Asia Pacific.  Here are the things that I have learned over the past four days.

Transition, transformation and change are in the air.

Several of the CIOs and IT Executives I talked with faced a future driven by change.  That is nothing new. It is hard to imagine a CIO or IT leaders who does not see the future as one of change.  The issues driving change have changed. Increased competition, the need to find new sources of value in a digital world, mergers and globalization drive the need for a different type of IT.

Companies looking for growth are redefining the lines between products, technology and operations.  It requires taking a different look at business process in light of changing local, global and regional requirements.  Customers want new connections between themselves, products, services and the companies they patronize.   CIOs are leading to change IT moving it away from a decade of centralization and consolidation.

These are deep forces requiring a response that goes beyond the cosmetics associated with digital marketing, social media marketing, interface upgrades and the like.  The full nature of these changes is just forming and CIO discussed new frameworks to look at applications, infrastructure, operations, processes, organization, products and markets.

Digital technology supports a multi-polar world.

Moving symposium up ‘north’ and increased globalization changed the nature of the event.  In prior years Symposium met in Sydney the attendance was largely Australian.  This year’s Symposium attracted CIO and IT leaders from India, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan and other countries across Asia.

IT is perhaps the most global industry with a value chain that spreads around the world.  The global nature of IT is easy to underappreciate particularly when you devolve the world into a simple model of Western demand and Eastern supply.  The world is much more complex, dynamic and interesting than trading budget for bodies.

Digital technology fractures the simple, structured, hierarchical, monolithic and monopole nature of IT into a mosaic of agile, information intensive and context heavy solutions.  It is a transition required for growth and it is growth that can easily break IT apart.

Digital technologies like mobile computing and social media enable organizations to push complexity to the digital edge. Variance at the edge creates value where it used to drive cots and complexity.  Each customer, contact, question, transaction becomes unique value creating opportunity as opposed to a managed queue where conformity lowers cost but compromises value.

Digital technologies recognize that markets are fracking, splintering into multiple customer groups that reflect our diversity rather than division.  The capability to put complexity where it creates value, which is almost always not in IT systems, is critical to meeting the diverse and changing needs of markets in Asia and around the world.

Leadership is in greater demand than ever.

Leadership is critical when technology makes many things possible and there is a need to focus on the things that will be profitable.   CIOs and IT leaders need new ways to lead.  CIOs and IT leaders need new ways to manage as IT frugality will fail in a world requiring innovation and value creation.

IT has to evolve from a focus on enablement and automation into technologies that engage and amplify the enterprise.  That means applying the technologies of the Nexus to increase the quality, power and strength of our strategy to reach customers and the market.  It requires listening in new ways to gain feedback through analytics and social media.  Finally it requires constant pressure to eliminate the distortions that drive cost, complexity and duplication.

CIOs and IT leaders have the power to see, see their future and yes be, be their future.  Yes I did quote the movie Caddy Shack this week, to highlight that while IT has been devalued, deskilled and managed as a cost center that does not have to be the case.  CIOs in Asia Pacific see most of the barriers to IT value existing within their control.  Things like the quality of people in IT, the shape of the IT organization, its work practices, metrics and measures are all up to the CIO.  If those things are not right, then all the CIO has to do is look in the mirror to know find those at blame.

A great time at the Gold Coast

These are some of the issues I heard about from CIOs at the Gold Coast and I welcome others attending the event to share the uestions, issues and answers they found.

Related Posts for this year’s symposium season:

Welcome to Gartner’s European Symposium ITXpo in Barcelona

Barcelona: What I learned from talking with CIOs at Gartner Symposium ITXpo

What I learned from CIOs in Sao Paulo at Gartner Symposium

Welcome to the 2012 Gartner Symposium ITxpo

What I have learned from CIOs at the Gartner Orlando Symposium and ITxpo.

Gartner Symposium Goa India: what I learned from CIOs attending the event


Category: 2013  amplifying-the-enterprise  cio  leadership  management  strategy  

Tags: 2013-planning  it-management  leadership  management  strategy-and-planning  symposium  technology-leadership  

Mark P. McDonald
8 years at Gartner
24 years IT industry

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a former group vice president and head of research in Gartner Executive Programs. He is the co-author of The Social Organization with Anthony Bradley. Read Full Bio

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