A look back at the Gartner Symposium IT Xpo, Orlando 2019
The need to undergo a Digital Transformation might be old news, but it’s still on the minds of many, as was evidenced by the overarching theme of the Gartner Symposium held in Orlando, Florida this week.
During the event, we hosted two sessions. Our CDO Justin Marcucci and Adam Banks, CTIO of Maersk, discussed the ways that together we have worked to transform important functions in companies that Adam has worked with over the years. Our CTO Eoin Woods held a session about the top mistakes he has seen businesses make when running a digital transformation, namely thinking of the project as a purely technological one, not focusing on the user experience, believing that this kind of project has a defined end and not learning from user feedback and metrics. Both sessions provided valuable and tangible information to people who are still tackling digital transformation in their own businesses.
We also wanted to share some of the key highlights that Eoin, Justin and the rest of our team took away from the sessions and conversations that they had during the symposium.
Overall, we noticed that there was no one technology providing a lot of hype this year, which we view as a positive thing – the industry seems to have its feet firmly planted in the reality of actually making digital transformation happen. Blockchain seems to have faded into the background somewhat, potentially due to the fact that the technologies that make it work have become more commoditised. There are still a lot of vendors talking about the application of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, but there seems to be a lack of implementation beyond a Proof Of Concept.
When looking to the cloud, we found that many companies are still trying to solve the ‘multi-cloud’ problem, but they realise that they had not managed to avoid vendor lock-in when they look back at their previous generations of technology. Where CIOs and CTOs have managed to do a ‘lift and shift’ cloud migration, the focus has turned to how to realise the cost savings that were promised by the cloud, which will only be found through refactoring and reengineering their platforms to optimise them for the cloud. From a vendor perspective, as their core offering are becoming rapidly commoditised, their focus has shifted to sophisticated services that solve business problems, such as language processing, analytics, device management and media handling, in a hope to encourage user ‘stickiness’.
In the context of innovation, Hilton Hotels inspired our attendees as they described their approach to innovation as relentless. They are a great example of a company putting the customer at the heart of their digital transformation and innovation programs, rather than innovating for innovation’s sake.
We were inspired by keynote speaker (and inventor of the World Wide Web!) Tim Berners-Lee as he reflected on how technology can be a positive force for humanity. We found that the Veterans Association showcased a powerful example of this in action. Telehealth is helping overcome the limitation of where a vet is located, and last year they conducted over one million video medical calls, giving those vets living in rural areas access to experts including mental health practitioners. The video testimonials demonstrated how technology - applied in the right way - can have a genuine and positive impact on people's lives and on society as a whole.
In conclusion, we noted that while digital transformation is still a key focus area, and businesses realise that they cannot achieve it alone, delivery executives are doing everything they can to steer their organisations away from using cost as a main driver when selecting technology partners, and move them toward a focus on the consistency, efficiency and risk management that shared services can provide.
The visitors we spoke with told us that it is refreshing to talk to technology partners who can offer a solution to complex business problems over a specific product. They are looking for someone to help them identify exactly where they are on their digital transformation journey and what intentional steps need to be taken to turn it into a meaningful and ongoing digital evolution that will allow them to be more innovative and more engaging to their customers, while being more efficient and effective in their operations.