The state of the digital enterprise at Gartner Symposium

Parsing the state of digitization at Gartner Symposium and other noteworthy quotes from Google, Revlon, MetLife and 7-Eleven: The Data Mill dishes.

Digitization has already touched just about every corner of your organization, but it's about to get a lot more integrated. That was the big reveal at the 2013 Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, Fla. The Internet of Things, 3-D printing, new digital infrastructure -- this stuff isn't cocktail party chatter anymore; it's for real, and guess who's in the driver's seat? Or who should be.

As Steve Holland, chief technology and digital officer for 7-Eleven, put it: "Individuals within the technology area know more about the business than anyone else."

Here's a roundup of quotes from the quotables in Orlando:

On staying competitive

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, on how to stay competitive: "Any industry that doesn't have software people embedded somewhere inside of it is going to be lagging [behind] the others."

Dave Aron, Gartner analyst, on the state of the digital enterprise: "Digital winners are ruthlessly and fearlessly creating the digital industrial economy: Roles are changing, business models are changing, time frames are changing, industry and company boundaries are blurring. We can't rely on old practices, safe relationships, legacy technologies and known vendors."

Gary Hoberman, CIO of MetLife, on a recent big data project: "Big data was a term used as a goal when I landed at MetLife. When we started this [project], we knew there was something out there called big data, but we didn’t yet have a use for it. We didn't say, 'Let's look at that box and put something [in] it.' We looked at the use case and saw we needed to have better customer centricity. … The answer was big data."

David Cappuccio, Gartner analyst, on getting your IT priorities straight: " The applications you're running, the ones that are important … are the ones that if they go down, the moment they go down, you start losing money. Or if they go down, the moment they go down, there's a risk to life or limb. Those are critical; everything else is a business support function. The question is, 'Do I [run] those business support functions like I always have or do I find an alternative?'"

Chris Hughes, publisher and editor-in-chief of The New Republic and co-founder of Facebook, on talent, skills and training: "The world needs more engineers. … But we need engineers to also take English 101 and the history of Greek civilization. The liberal arts play several roles in helping people lead a fulfilling life of curiosity and big ideas. But if we're just talking about it rather narrowly in the context of organizational efficiency, one of the most important things they do is cultivate a sense of empathy and help people build people skills and relationship skills …"

Peter Sondergaard, Gartner analyst, on the Internet of Things: "The total economic value add for the Internet of Things will be $1.3 trillion by 2020. It will create new markets. It will drive both revenue and cost efficiencies."

On innovation

Schmidt on how much Google budgets for innovative projects: "Sergey [Brin] one day proved mathematically that you want to take such risks with no more than 10% of your assets because you need the other 90% working on the core and the extended."

7-Eleven's Holland on an innovation project that partnered IT and the business: "Sometimes the individual who is the quietest has some of the best ideas and is waiting for a venue to be able to express that."

On leadership

Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft Corp., on what makes a great CIO: "Like most things in life, you need to get the yin and yang right. CIOs have to understand technology. They don't have to know how to write every line of code and do every deployment, but feeling comfortable with technology is important. On the flip side, CIOs need to understand the culture, because technology defines culture. … Unless you have those two strong elements, it will be hard to be a first-class CIO going forward."

Previously on The Data Mill

Big data and predictive analytics: When is enough data enough?

'Cookie stuffing': A data scientist takes on seamy side of online ads

Does business have the patience for data science?

David Giambruno, CIO and senior vice president of Revlon: "The differences between managers and leaders: Managers try to fix people's weak points; leaders take people's strengths, use them and build a team."

Tina Nunno, Gartner analyst, on leadership skills: "Part of the path to being a strong leader is the willingness to go to extremes."

Hughes of Facebook on communicating with employees: "Any work that can be done to make messages or work more accessible is worth it a million times over. So what would accessible be? I would say anything as crazy as a short animated video to an email that introduces a new corporate policy followed by an animated GIF. It sounds funny, but all of these technologies are so challenging because you don't have all of the dimensions of human communication. Email is a great example: You just have 400 words of text. You have to read into its tone; there's no body language; there's no context. You don't have to produce a beautiful video that will cost $100,000, but you can humanize messages by wrapping in other kinds of technologies."

Punch lines

Gartner's Cappuccio on the state of digitization: "Sixty-five million cars today have IP addresses."

Miriam Burt, Gartner analyst: "Every consumer is a technology company."

Google's Schmidt on the security of Android devices, followed by a few laughs: "Not secure? It's more secure than the iPhone."

Gartner's Nunno on leadership: "When you look at the root word of manipulation, it's the same root word as management."

Welcome to The Data Mill, a weekly column devoted to all things data. Heard something newsy (or gossipy)? Email me or find me on Twitter at @TT_Nicole.

This was first published in October 2013

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