Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Barcelona “a trip report”

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Survival of the fittest”

Just-BI team at a keynote session

What is the difference between a water bear and a dodo?  The latter is extinct and a water bear keeps surviving in most harsh environments. How does this relate to my visit between 5 to 9 November with a delegation of Just-BI to Gartner ITxpo in Barcelona? Well, let me share some interesting personal takeaways.

Main goals for such a trip are usually learning about the latest technology trends, discovering market developments and social networking. These goals have certainly been met.
The Gartner event offers a variety of presentations regarding topics like the Artificial intelligence (AI), technology hype cycle, digital transformation, blockchain and many other interesting topics. Go to the Gartner website and see them all at a glance. Every topic has its own vibe and impact on the business.

Social networking @Holland House

My first impression was the ‘injection of self-confidence’ given to the CIO-community to encourage them to grasp their leadership role within the executive team of their companies and make sure IT plays a strategic role within their enterprise.

What was most striking to me, amongst the plethora of technology trends and IT-jargons, was the statement that 50% of the Fortune 500 companies have not survived during the past 10-15 years. Mark J. Perry (article fortune 500) has described this effect from 1955 vs. 2016.

With the pace of change and the emerging technologies like ‘AI and their applications this survival rate may become even lower in the coming decade if the organisations do not: ‘embrace the digital transformation’, ‘apply the right digital KPIs’ or ‘develop digital dexterity’. Various recurring buzz-words implying a recipe for survival.

Social networking with an ‘AI’!?

Especially the research notes by Brian Manusama on ‘AI’ with serious warnings on the dangers of the increasing machine intelligence that surpasses the humans’, exponential uncontrollable growth of bots and the need for heavy regulation, could be seen as a pessimistic look at the future of human survival!

“Machine society will not be designed, it will emerge!” was one of the bold statements.

Interview with Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP

So as we humans have to deal with these challenges, we may need to put more emphasis into our human values and skills! Various keynote speakers pointed out the increasing importance of skills such as: trust building, listening, understanding, empathy, customer experience, personal approach and inspirational leadership.

Darwinian wisdom ‘Survival of the fittest’ seems to apply to the digital transformation era as well. My conclusion: growth is not the ultimate objective. Survival comes with timely adaptation to change, embracing innovation, caring for human values and a bit of good luck!

Kaveh Golshayan
Author: Kaveh Golshayan