Gartner: Digital business projects in a quagmire? Hack your culture!

Gartner: Digital business projects in a quagmire? Hack your culture!

ORLANDO – If you are a CIO or business leader an are having trouble moving forward on a new or existing digital business project, you should hack your current IT culture to get things moving.

Digital business is accelerating, disrupting the way businesses and governments are doing business, said Mike Harris, executive vice president and global head of research for Gartner at the kickoff of Symposium/IT Expo the consulting firm’s annual strategyfest that this year drew over 9,000 CIOs and IT professionals for a look at the technologies and trends.

“These new models redefine the way organizations create, deliver, and capture value. They are challenging the way CIOs operate, bringing new mindsets and new practices to IT,” Harris said.

Changing mindsets is a key enabler of new technologies and one of the ways Gartner recommended that IT executives change the culture of their companies.

“Hack your culture to change your culture,” said Kristin Moyer, research vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “By culture hacking, we don’t mean finding a vulnerable point to break into a system. It’s about finding vulnerable points in your culture and turning them in to real change that sticks.”

Hacking is about doing smaller actions that usually get overlooked Moyer said. Great hacks also trigger emotional responses, have immediate results and are visible to lots of people at once, she said.

Gartner says culture is identified by 46 percent of CIOs as the largest barrier to getting the benefits of digital business.

Achieving culture change is tied closely to another key direction organizations should strive to achieve – the ability to embrace change and adopt technology in a new way or what Gartner calls “dynamism.”

Harris said that no matter if the business’s governance model is loose or controlled, the strongest determinant of success is dynamism, but more than three-quarters of organizations struggle with it. The way businesses adopt technology matters and dynamism is the critical factor, Harris said.

4 strategies to ensure digital success

Gartner analysts cited other essential trends CIOs and IT leaders need to pay attention to achieve success with their organizations in the near future, including:

Privacy: If CIOs do not successfully manage privacy, their entire digital transformation is at risk. Increasingly, privacy leads to trust, and trust is power, Gartner said. “As a CIO, you have a mandate to maintain data protections on sensitive data about consumers, citizens and employees,” Harris said. “This typically means putting someone in charge of a privacy-management program, detecting and promptly reporting breaches and ensuring that individuals have control of their data. This is a board-level issue, yet barely half of organizations have adequate controls in place.”

Augmented intelligence: This is the idea of using artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance an employees’ jobs. Putting workers side by side with advanced AI systems, process and robotics allows for those jobs to have more impact, Harris said. By 2021, Gartner expects expert systems will answer questions better than humans. However, AI isn’t going to replace people, rather it will augment them.

Digital product management: By shifting to a digital product mindset, organizations can put customers at the center of their development. Mark Raskino, research vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, listed examples of organizations that have made this shift: Chase Bank has a digital product manager for its Chase pay app; McDonald’s has digital product managers for restaurant kiosks and mobile apps; and Transport for London has digital product managers for the travel apps, bots and APIs used by staff as well as customers.

Digital twin: Digital twins are virtual replicas of physical devices that data scientists and IT pros can use to run simulations before actual devices and systems are installed.  Businesses could create a digital twin of their organization, or what Gartner calls a DTO. With DTOs, CIOs can virtually see how people work, the systems and processes they touch and how work moves from department to department in their organizations, said Helen Huntley, research vice president at Gartner.