This year's Gartner Symposium in Orlando, Fla., was all about mastering leadership and finding one's place in a...
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digital ecosystem -- which Gartner defines as "an interdependent group of actors (enterprises, people, things) sharing standardized digital platforms to achieve a mutually beneficial purpose."
The annual event tailored to CIOs and IT executives focused on building platforms, partnerships and new IT strategies to allow one to thrive in the digital economy -- and there was a lot to cover. While mastering leadership skills in today's digital ecosystem was a core theme, the Gartner Symposium also dove into emerging technologies and trends that are shaping the enterprise.
Associate site editor Brian Holak, features writer Jason Sparapani and editorial director Sue Troy were at this year's Symposium for four jam-packed days, reporting on all of the most pertinent information for CIOs -- and having some fun along the way. This Instagram roundup highlights some of the best and most interesting moments from the event.
DAY ONE: Making data-driven decisions
Sunday, Oct. 16, 3 p.m.: "Bloomberg LP: The expanding universe of Dark Data"
The SearchCIO team arrived in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday afternoon, just in time to attend a few sessions. First off was Nathan Anderson, head of product management at Bloomberg, who took the stage to talk about the cost, risk and value of dark data -- specifically employee-generated data. In terms of cost, Anderson emphasized that data growth is outpacing the cost of storage. The risk, however, lies in not knowing what's in your organizations' dark-data trove and not locking down valuable or sensitive information within that.
Sunday, Oct. 16, 3:45 p.m.: "A Patient-Centric Approach to U.S. Healthcare"
Alistair Jacques, SVP CIO at Fairview Health Services, said the transportation and banking industries have figured out how to share data among themselves and it's about time the "broken" healthcare industry does the same. Data sharing across a common system is a key part of reaching that goal, he said, and suggested creating a national patient ID is one of the first steps. His organization is developing a mobile app tailored to an open, more accessible healthcare system; all they need is backing from industry leaders, which is proving to be a challenge. Is a shared data system for the healthcare industry on the horizon?
DAY TWO: Mastering leadership in a digital world
Monday, Oct. 17, 9:30 a.m.: "Gartner Opening Analyst Keynote: Building Platforms for a Digital Society"
The weather was a dream on Monday, making walking to and from sessions between the Swan and Dolphin hotels much more pleasant (but equally tiring). The SearchCIO team started the day with Gartner's opening analyst keynote, which drew thousands to the Southern ballroom. The keynote touched upon positioning yourself for success in a digital ecosystem filled with AI, machine learning, IoT and blockchain, and it set the stage for the rest of the conference. Speakers included Hung LeHong, Daryl Plummer and Peter Sondergaard.
Monday, Oct. 17, 11:30 a.m.: The 2017 CIO Agenda
Andy Rowsell-Jones, research vice president at Gartner was on hand to talk about the findings in Gartner's 2017 CIO Agenda report, which surveyed nearly 2,600 CIOs in 93 countries. Top CIO performers were found to focus more on digital innovation than cost/keep-the-lights-on functions, driving home the importance of bimodal IT strategies in a digital ecosystem. Other notable findings: Top performers are investing in BI and cloud, not ERP; CIOs say that advanced analytics will impact the organization the most in the next five years; CIOs will engage more startups in 2017; and there will be notably closer engagement between the business and IT.
Monday, Oct. 17, midday: Press room pit stop
The press room at the Dolphin hotel served as journalists' home base for much of the conference, with members of the press -- from around the country and the globe -- plugging in, refueling, cranking out content coverage and speedily sending out social media posts in between sessions. This is where Sparapani completed his Conference Notebook installment on the CIO imperative to help CEOs understand the increasingly digital ecosystem.
Monday, Oct. 17, 3:45 p.m.: "A Pragmatic Approach to People-Centric Security"
Jim Arrowood, director of information security at ONEOK, Inc., took the stage at the Gartner Zone Theater -- a more casual venue within the registration tent -- to talk about the important issue of cultivating a people-centric security strategy. His advice included developing a cross-departmental advisory team, actively isolating internet browsing activities, building a more robust whitelisting process and initiating a change browsing culture.
Monday, Oct. 17, 4:45 p.m.: "Gartner's Top Predictions for 2017 and Beyond"
Daryl Plummer, vice president and fellow at Gartner, laid out Gartner's top 10 strategic predictions for 2017 and beyond at the Dolphin's main ballroom. Artificial intelligence and IoT factored heavily into the predictions, with data analytics and blockchain featuring prominently as well.
Here are the predictions:
- By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in virtual reality.
- By 2020, 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen. (Think bots and virtual assistants.)
- By 2019, 20% of brands will abandon their mobile apps in favor of progressive web apps.
- By 2020, algorithms will alter the behavior of billions of global workers in a positive way.
- By 2022, a blockchain-based business will be worth $10 billion.
- By 2021, 20% of activities will involve at least one of the seven digital giants.
- Through 2019, every $1 that enterprises invest in innovation will require an additional $7 in core execution.
- Through 2020, the internet of things will increase data center storage demand by less than 3%.
- By 2022, IoT will save consumers and businesses $1 trillion a year.
- By 2020, 40% of employees will be able to cut healthcare costs by wearing a fitness tracker.
Monday, Oct. 17, end of day two: Conference after dark
The activity continued even after the sessions ended. The boardwalk -- as well as the many eateries inside the Swan, Dolphin and Yacht Club hotels -- comes alive at night, with attendees seeking food and festivities, and strolling along the complex's scenic walkways. Here, the whimsical lights affixed to the Yacht Club's buildings reflect onto the neighboring lagoon, as seen from the boardwalk.
DAY THREE: The intelligent future
Tuesday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m.: "Mastermind Interview with Satya Nadella, Microsoft Corporation"
Tuesday saw more great weather at the Dolphin and the Swan, with a welcome breeze keeping temperatures at bay outside. Inside, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, was unable to make it to the Gartner Symposium in person due to a minor back injury. Despite that, Nadella was as chipper and well-spoken as always on a video call in the main ballroom as he discussed not only Microsoft's strategy and future, but also how IT is changing and how CIOs can keep up.
"The next 10 years have to be about profound creation," Nadella said. A major part of that creation rests on AI, which he said will be "infused into everything." But he reassured the crowd that Microsoft's strategy around AI is to augment human ability, not replace it. He emphasized that CIOs have a huge role to play in expanding their organizations' digital capacity and fast-tracking innovation whenever they can.
Tuesday, Oct. 18, 11:45 a.m.: "The Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017"
After Tuesday's keynote, David Cearley, VP and fellow at Gartner, detailed 10 strategic technology trends for 2017. What's hot? Intelligent things -- as organizations continue to bake intelligence into everything, including apps, messaging and smarter virtual assistants. He says AI will be a primary battleground for service providers in the digital ecosystem and that by 2020, 20% of enterprises will employ dedicated people to train neural networks. Also hot: the digital twin, virtual reality/augmented reality, blockchain, IoT platforms and adaptive security, among others.
DAY FOUR: Delivering digital business value
Wednesday, Oct. 19, 11:30 a.m.: "To the Point: The 2030 CIO Algorithm"
After a fun night at Universal Studios, the SearchCIO team woke up early and headed to the conference to try and fit in as many last-minute sessions as they could before having to catch their flights home. One of those sessions was run by Gartner's Heather Colella, who explored what the CIO role will look like in 2030. She said successful CIOs will fluidly cross boundaries in the digital ecosystem to deliver value in a world in which the definition of value has changed. In this new realm, algorithms will be of major importance, as will building relationships and attracting the workforce of tomorrow.
Wednesday, Oct. 19, afternoon: Interview with Neil Gomes
Holak took a break from sessions to interview Neil Gomes, VP of technology innovation and consumer experience at Thomas Jefferson University, outside the Dolphin. Gomes discussed the facets of digital transformation, the best IT advice he was ever given and emerging technologies that are on his radar for next year.
Wednesday, Oct. 19, afternoon: One last stroll
As our time at the conference drew to a close, Holak meandered through the crowded hallways of the Swan hotel one last time on his way back from a session before booking it to the airport. As you can see, there was no time to stop for a coffee, unfortunately.
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Other Gartner coverage:
CIOs will change the world with 'civilization architecture'
Bimodal IT: The symbiotic relationship between Mode 1 and Mode 2
Is your business digitizing? Or is it digitalizing? There's a difference
Higher-ed staff, professors get ahead of IT when it comes to new tech