You should be. The opening keynote was inspiring, theatrical and terrifying in equal measure. The key theme for Gartner’s annual Symposium IT Expo in Orlando last week and this week in Barcelona for nearly 10,000 delegates was the Nexus of Forces.
The Nexus of Forces
“A Nexus of converging forces — social, mobile, cloud and information — is building upon and transforming user behavior while creating new business opportunities.
Research over the past several years has identified the independent evolution of four powerful forces: social, mobile, cloud and information. As a result of consumerization and the ubiquity of connected smart devices, people’s behavior has caused a convergence of these forces.”
Whilst most people recognize these forces at work in their personal and business lives, it is the implications that are either liberating or terrifying, depending on your viewpoint. For those business leaders looking to leapfrog their competition or a nimble start-up looking to wrong foot an incumbent it is an exciting time. However, Gartner raised a warning to senior IT leaders: “Their existing architectures are becoming obsolete.”
But it gets worse. These powerful forces are reshaping industries with a frightening ferocity. Those in the music, print, news and media industries have seen their world ripped apart in the last few years. Existing business models no longer work, and the incumbent players have had to completely reinvent themselves to compete with startups who have been able to scale rapidly unfettered by legacy operations and systems. But more critically, the startups are not constrained in their thinking.
CIO challenge: reinvent yourself
The challenge that Gartner set from the keynote was to CIOs to reinvent themselves. To think more like entrepreneurs. To obsolete their businesses before someone else does. That means the CIO cannot spend time thinking about “keeping the lights on”. Whilst that is clearly important, designing the future state business alongside the CEO and CMO is far more important.
But, how many CIOs have the skills, vision and courage to think and act like an entrepreneur who is not afraid? Not afraid to fail. Not afraid the future. Not afraid of the unknown.