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Gartner Symposium 2017: The digital transformation roller coaster

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Gartner Symposium 2017: The digital transformation roller coaster
Peter Sondergaard, the Executive Vice President at Gartner. (Image Credit: Darryl Linington).

The 2017 edition of the Gartner Symposium kicked off on Monday 18 September 2017 at the Cape Town, South Africa at the International Convention Center (CTICC).

The four-day event was opened by Peter Sondergaard, the Executive Vice President at Gartner, who set the scene for the conference by likening the digital transformation journey to a roller coaster, in which expectations are currently at their peak but there is a digital dip of disillusionment on the horizon.


In his keynote presentation, Sondergaard highlighted that some business won’t make it through this transformation as they are too slow to adapt and focus on digital projects rather than transforming into a completely digital business.

Sondergaard, along with his colleagues Leigh McMullen and Tina Nunno, pointed out how CIO’s can best prepare themselves for inevitable roller coaster journey that their businesses will be going on.

“Whether you are a partner, builder or pioneer, every CIO will play a role in the digital transformation journey. They will need to look to create digital value at scale. Scale in this sense is not just about getting bigger but by scaling up, across and out, and by ultimately creating a new world of ecosystems,” said Sondergaard. He then highlighted how business can advance this scale by leveraging 3 digital accelerators.

Digital Accelerators  

1) Digital Dexterity
Digital Dexterity essentially deals with the people within the organisation. The employees are the people who will be driving the transformation, it is thus important that you have the right people. A further three building blocks of digital dexterity were pointed out by the Gartner team. The first one was technology, it was highlighted that technology should be used not only to enhance customer experience but employee experience as well. The second building block pointed out was engagement. The need for engagement in an organisation is integral to having decisive employee expectations. The third and final building block is diversity. Diversity, in all forms, allows an organisation to overcome bias and high diversity fosters innovation and growth as people with different ideas can create innovative solutions together.

2) Network Effect Technology
Network effect technologies will have a decisive impact on a company’s digital transformation. The three technologies highlighted by Gartner were Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Application Programming Interface (API). All these technologies will become essential in improving efficiencies, driving down costs and allow for better, faster decision-making.

3) Industrialise the digital platform
This scale accelerator pointed out by Gartner deals with creating a new digital marketplace where interactions can take place between anyone, no matter where they may be in the world. These digital platforms will aid organisations to extend their reach and expand their ecosystems.

The keynote address set the scene for the rest of the conference as all the CIO’s and high-level executive broke away to attend the various discussions and presentation on offer from Gartner’s array of top-class speakers.

By Dean Workman
Follow Dean Workman on Twitter
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