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Gartner Middle East Symposium – welcome to the inaugural session

by Mark P. McDonald  |  March 5, 2013  |  Comments Off on Gartner Middle East Symposium – welcome to the inaugural session

This week Gartner hosts its first Symposium in the Middle East and for those attending the event, my personal welcome.  A Symposium represents an opportunity for a group of peers to gather and cover a wide range of complex issues.  Information Technology professionals certainly face a range of complex issues as they look to hunt and harvest in a digital world.  Combine those issues with the diversity and importance of the region and the importance of this Symposium comes into focus.

Here is why?

The course of IT is changing.

You can say it always is changing, but in most cases the change is along a predefined IT Path. Characterized by a focus on cost, quality, risk and control – the IT path has existed for more than thirty years.  There has been change on the path, batch to online to client server and the Internet, but the fundamentals of IT change surprisingly little.

The IT game will continue, but there is a new game in town, a technology game.  Regional CIO technology priorities reflect this transitions as shown in the figure below.


Technology > IT and from consumerism to shadow IT to the cloud its changing everything.  This is particularly important for organizations in the Middle East who are in the middle of building out a business/technology infrastructure based on IT that will be rendered less relevant in the coming digital decade.   This is part of the shift from building IT infrastructure toward building digital platforms that is highlighted in the eBook The Digital Edge.

Technology is better suited than IT to the realities of the region

Technology matters in the Middle East in ways it does not in other regions.  It is obvious that the region sits in the middle between four major economic zones:  Europe, Asia, India and Africa.  Firms in the region need technology to extend their reach and range into more than two thirds of the world economy.

The Middle East has always been strategic in its location as a trading and exchange hub, technology provides another opportunity to firms in the region – talent leverage and diversity.  Population remains a driver of the size of an economy, but having a lot of people does not guarantee capturing the lion’s share of value creation.   You see this in terms of the business priorities for firms in the region according to the 2013 Gartner CIO Survey.

Technology gives firms in the region path for building on its trading and finance strengths and leveraging them into global digital markets.  The combination of innovation and capital creates a potent force based talent, products and services rather than real estate and logistics.   This requires building out the basics of the technology organization while creating the solutions needed in the future as shown by the CIO strategies below:

In the digital world you do not need to be big to be good – you did in the physical/IT world. The ability to leverage talent, creativity, local knowledge combined with traditional trading relationships describes the potential of digital technology into the region.

Focus. Connect. Lead.

Now more than ever, CIOs and senior IT executives must embrace new concepts, pursue new strategies and acquire new leadership skills. The Symposium/ITxpo agenda covers every aspect of what matters most in IT, in an array of session formats from keynotes, workshops, end-user case studies, analyst-user roundtables and much more in four key concentrations:

  • High-impact business and IT trends and technologies
  • Leadership and skills development for the CIO and senior IT executive
  • Culture creation for the high-performance organization
  • Industry-focused issues, challenges and opportunities

So welcome to the first Symposium in the Middle East, I look forward to working with all of you.

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Category: 2013  cio  digital-edge  

Tags: cio-strategy  gartnersym  it-and-business  it-strategy  strategy-and-planning  symposium  

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a Vice President and Fellow Emeritus in Gartner for General Managers Program.

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