Four key trends to follow at Gartner Symposium 2017

Gone are the days when IT departments would simply think, about new hardware and new software. In conversation with CIO’s and senior technology leaders, I hear words like “customer experience”, “ecosystem”, and “culture.” This, coupled with the pace of technological innovation driven by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT), displays a mosaic of cultural and technological challenges faced by today’s CIO.

As I look at this year’s programming at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo I see it reflects a broad spectrum of topics and trends, many that are not often associated with a technology conference. There’s even a session on storytelling. Seriously.

While there is much to see at Gartner’s largest and most influential conference, here are 4 trends I will be keenly following.

Artificial Intelligence

From an IT point of the view, today, the promise of AI is more about automation than true artificial intelligence. Still, there is some merit to having methods that will help tackle the challenges of complexity and scale looming large with technology organizations today.

The trends I expect to see: 

  • Chatbots, virtual assistants and event-triggered models to enhance how the workforce accesses information
  • Deep neural nets, smart machines, cognitive computing and deep learning, to provide advanced analytics to power decision making, automated processes and to better contextualize engagement
  • Intent-based networks that are constantly learning, adapting and protecting

The Future of Experience

I see an emergence — or should I say convergence? — of a “customer” mindset among technology leaders. As digital commerce becomes mainstream, organizational success is increasingly dependent on understanding customers and the role that technology plays in fulfilling their needs on their terms. In the employee as well as the customer experience space, this means finding ways to help employees get what they’re looking for, more easily and with less friction.

Trends I expect to see:

  • Increasing insights into the impact of employee experience on customer experience
  • Insights into the consumerization of IT, and the psychology behind digital-first employee behavior, and their impact on CIO technology decisions

Culture and People

Peter Drucker said culture eats strategy for breakfast. CIOs are increasingly recognizing the impact of culture to deliver not just solutions, but outcomes. The agility and effectiveness of teams are key drivers of greater business results. The most successful CIOs will find a way to build agile teams, break down silos, and maintain high levels of interaction and communication.

Trends I expect to see:

  • How to develop a growth mindset in your organization to adapt and thrive in a digital business environment
  • Strategies for developing employees and building agile, multi-disciplinary teams that reflect the culture of the organization
  • A session on storytelling. Yes. It’s in the agenda

Platform Economy

According to Gartner,  “By 2022, 90% of Infrastructure & Operations leaders will focus on facilitating interactions, not building and running infrastructure, up from less than 1% today.” What this means is the most successful companies will leverage platform business models. This reflects both the increasing interdependence among global businesses as well as the impact of cloud technology. CIOs will need to join the API economy to connect and interact with ecosystems by developing expertise in multi-cloud management, service brokering, microservices and monetization drivers.

Trends I expect to see:

  • How CIOs can navigate ecosystems, trust and security in open systems, and resource orchestration across internal and cloud
  • The importance of understanding API’s, their impact on service delivery, and managing performance and dependencies
  • Strategies to extend sensing to include ecosystems and IoT, both internal and external

It’s Gartner’s largest event and there will be a lot to see. If you’re around, stop by the Freshworks booth in the ITxpo or reach out on Twitter and share some of your insights and takeaways.