Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2015: 2016 CIO Agenda warns IT needs to adapt or face extinction Gartner

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2015: 2016 CIO Agenda warns IT needs to adapt or face extinction

What can a robotic dinosaur desk clerk teach IT about innovation? A lot, particularly if CIOs want to avoid their own extinction event.

What can a robotic dinosaur desk clerk teach IT about innovation? A lot, particularly if CIOs want to avoid their own extinction event.

That was the message Gartner vice president Dave Aron delivered at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2015, laying out his firm’s 2016 CIO Agenda.

“Are we being brave enough, are we being courageous enough, in our digital decisions and planning?” he asked.

“Courage” isn traditionally less an IT watchword than “discretion” or “due diligence,” but Aron argued that IT’s traditional functional roles (focusing on, for example, email or the data center) are quickly evolving to value delivery: How can technology offer cost savings or new lines of business?

The velociraptor concierge pictured above was one example: It’s part of Henn-na Hotel’s move to make almost all of its customer-facing interactions automated or robotic, from check-in and baggage handling to meal preparation.

Aron said Henn-na Hotel, which was built in conjunction with a theme park, was one of the Gartner’s 2016 CIO Agenda case studies, and while robotic velociraptors probably won’t be on everyone’s IT wishlist next year, a plan to embrace experimentation while implementing major what works should be.

Aron said that this comes down to dividing strategy into two major camps: Exploit and explore, which he illustrated with Ninja teams, that explored new ideas and skunkworks projects, and Samurai teams, that executed on ideas that leadership had decided were worth going forward with.

He said that a little over a third of surveyed CIOs had adopted this bi-modal approach, which Gartner had first started talking up two years ago, but that often the “innovation” being explored was too surface level: Agile methodology, say, rather than crowdsourced work.

As an example of a more disruptive approach, he pointed to an online grocery delivery service that was now re-architecting its services so that rather than just serving its end customers directly, it could license out its entire logistics systems to others, effectively helping build up what once might have been new competitors and turn those into a new business-to-business market opportunity.

“Almost half of CIOs are telling us the world of risk is changing,” Aron said. “Competitive threats, the inability to move fast enough to compete, is equally important to the ability to protect what we have. Is your risk management approaching and methodologies changing fast enough to reflect these realities? Probably they’re not.”

Samurais, ninjas, and velociraptors: Gartner’s vision of the future of IT is dangerous indeed.

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