The Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2019 kicked off on Monday, 16 September at the CTICC. This year, the conference delved deeper into the role of the CIO, the origin of the digital society and unpacked the term TechQuilibrium.
Brian Burke, Research VP for Enterprise Architecture and Technology Innovation at Gartner said, “Reflecting on the past 50 years we have seen unprecedented technological innovation and we know there is more still to come.”
“Here in South Africa, growth has been uneven, business confidence is low but we remain optimistic for the country. Africa has youth and youth brings opportunity which then brings change. Change is constant and inevitable,” he added.
Using TechQuilibrium to drive change
Defined as the balance point when your business model drives value from the right mix of traditional business and digital technology, TechQuilibrium is according to Gartner, the balance of technology and people, digital and analogue, physical products and digital products. It enables businesses to be a traditional company and a technology company.
Valentin Sribar, Senior Vice President at Gartner said, “In 50 years we have seen technology transform enterprises, humans interactions and society itself. The next 5 years will bring as much change as the 50 that we just witnessed. With that change comes more and more uncertainty. There are two things driving that change now, namely the new digital customer expectations and the entrants of digital giants onto every one of our markets, every industry including here in Africa.
To hit TechQuilibrium you need to go far in both the transformation of your business and your operation models. It takes over seven years to reach your TechQuilibrium Gartner revealed at the event.
“It’s not as easy as taking a single journey. With each turn in the industry, the TechQuilibrium point changes. People become more accepting of digital approaches. Regulations eventually catch up and when that happens society sets new boundaries and then the whole industry will shift to a new TechQuilibrium,” said Sribar.
The role of the CIO
Sribar said that the job of the CIO is a tough one. He stated that they have two opposing forces that pull them apart.
“You need to cut costs while at the same time investing in growth. It turns out you have to do both especially in times of economic uncertainty. You have to brake and accelerate through a turn, to cut but still grow. You can turn these end dilemma into end opportunities, working on your organisations’ technology fitness, you can reach your TechQuilibrium, he explained.
Sribar said, “In order to know what other turns are ahead, as CIO’s you need to think like designers, designing experiences, processes and operating models for change for tomorrows turns. Anticipating opportunities for turns that you do not yet see.”
According to Sribar, the use of AI and advanced analytics can help CIOs see turns ahead. They can use agile mindsets and digital product management to execute and accelerate through those turns. This is the emergence of a technology sensing mechanism.
“As a CIO you can help the business people embrace agile digital product mindsets and its one of the key ways of achieving your TechQuilibrium,” he said.
Based on Gartner’s latest CIO survey, today on average only 39 per cent operations are digitilized and a fifth of value propositions are delivered digitally.
“The further you are from your industries point of TechQuilibrium the more likely it is that you will be disrupted or you won’t be able to deliver on your public mandate and missions effectively,” stated Sribar.
It was revealed at the conference that nearly half of the boards describe their CIOs as partners with other senior leaders in the enterprise periodically engaging with the board.
In other words, they are like the centre of the leaders TechQuilibrium,” said Tina Nunno, VP Analyst at Gartner. “53 per cent of directors say that digital initiatives are their top priority for the next 2 years, the question is who will be leading these initiatives and what role will you play as the CIO while 20 per cent of directors view the CIO role as reactive and not central to the digital discussion and only 29 per cent of the board views the CIO as a trusted ally to the board, leading digital initiatives and trusted by the board,” she added.
Recent global findings show that there are more job postings for some technical skills outside of IT than inside. Enterprises are placing the skills closer to the outcomes. Leading CIOs have no desire to directly own the entire production of IT capabilities. IT people have become more business savvy and business people have become more IT savvy.
“CIOs are leading with non-IT executives who are more tech-savvy, we are heading towards a TechQuilibrium with non-IT executives who are increasing their tech knowledge,” said Nunno.
“In another Gartner study, our data shows that non-IT CIOs are also shifting their leadership TechQuilibrium and becoming more tech-savvy,” added Nunno.