Gartner Symposium Key Insights: The Rise of the Enterprise Digital Startup

Kelly Manthey

10.15.2014

gartner_bBeing fresh off the Gartner Symposium in Orlando last week, I returned to Chicago with a wealth of information and validation in the way that we, Solstice Mobile, approach our business and client solutions. Outside of feeling like I was among one of the ten thousand  lucky spectators at the world’s largest IT rock concert, I was inspired by the key insights and perspectives into what Gartner foresees as the new digital business world.  

The overarching message that echoed throughout the conference to the CIO community was to embrace the era of becoming more like a digital startup. This concept encompasses the need for companies to adopt a more agile way of working, embrace new thinking about investments, and look to hire new types of talent.  

Below are the three key takeaways I found the most impactful and relevant to Solstice’s clients and the Enterprise at large:

  1. Hiring New Types of Talent

Gartner predicts that by 2018 digital business requires 59% less business process workers and 500% more key digital business jobs compared to traditional models. Three key roles/skill sets that were highlighted for IT to embrace: mobile technologists, user experience designers, and data scientists.  Roles such as ethnographers and human centered design experts will become as important as more traditional application developer and architect roles more typically found in IT organizations.  If IT wants to leverage its seat at the table with the lines of business and help push innovation, they will need to bring a deeper understanding of the human that new digital technology is being built for. Along with this idea, companies should look to bring younger points of view on board as well. And no I'm not just talking about Millennials either. Tapping into the way Generation Z (born after the Millennials) thinks will become key to maintaining a competitive advantage.  These digital natives are quickly becoming the new target demographic for brands and wield significant influence into the keys to digital engagement.  They will also make up a significant part of your employee population and will bring expectation for the way work is done.

  1. Human-Centered Design

So why add these new types of talent and points of view?  Because the humans we are producing technology for are going to be more engaged in digital than ever before. As Gartner predicts, by 2017 US customers’ mobile engagement behavior will drive mobile commerce revenues to 50% of the US digital commerce revenue. In order to turn that engagement into value, the right approach to both understanding and solving unique human needs is required. Enter the era of human centered design.  

While not a new concept, human centered design has been pushed to the forefront of emerging technology design. By 2017, more than half of consumer product and service R&D investments will be redirected to customer experience innovations. Investing in a Contextual Service Design approach to understanding of end-user personas and user journeys, and then how to design technology to meet their unique needs will be key.  

  1. Design Deliberately Unstable Processes

As business processes transform, IT will need to start working in two modes, also known as "Bimodal IT." The first mode is defined as “rock solid” or “steady state,” which indicates the ability to continue to keep systems and platforms running without introducing chaos. The other mode is much more fluid and agile, taking more risks and embracing failure. It is the idea that processes need to be deliberately unstable in order to quickly respond to changes. Selling to the unique needs of an individual and personalizing experiences requires a more nimble approach and experimental mindset to deploying technology.

According to Gartner, by 2016, 70% of successful digital business models will rely on deliberately unstable processes designed to shift as customer needs shift. This in turn validates employing the use of agile development methodologies to encourage transparency and cross-functional collaboration. The magic for an organization happens when a company is able to balance just enough process and structure with a tolerance for white space to allow pivots and adaptations along the way.

The picture of the future was clear: as technology becomes more seamlessly integrated into our lives, the data produced, capturing insights, and acting quickly on insights will be the key to driving the right experiences. CIOs will need to empower new ways of working and employ the right talent to tap into the power of all of this data. And lines of business will need to come to terms with marketing their products to objects (the smart home, smart cars, robots) in addition to people. The stakes are rising once again and it's one of the most exciting times to be in technology.

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Sources:
http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2866617
http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2865519