Gartner kicks off its world tour in Cape Town, and this year unveiled what it believes to be the new trend that will guide business and IT into the future – Continuous Next. Kathy Gibson was there to learn all about it


Gartner guides IT to Continuous Next

Digital transformation has impacted the entire enterprise, and winners are those that can constantly adopt to change – that can live in the Continuous Next.

“How will you rise to that challenge?” Mike Harris, executive vice-president: research at Gartner, asks delegates at Gartner Symposium.

Gartner says Continuous Next comes from adding mindsets and practices, then multiplying technology. This equals capabilities, which in turn leads to results.

“The transition to digital is undeniable and accelerating – disrupting business models, and the way organisations create and deliver value,” Raskino says.

He points out that business leaders have to anticipate change, and leverage new technologies to achieve it.

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Continuous Next demands culture hack

Culture has been identified as one of the biggest barriers to achieving he promise of digital business.

“But culture does not need to be a barrier,” says Kristin Moyer, vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner

She describes culture as a mindset and practices that determine company behaviour.

“Leaders are shaping mindsets,” she says.

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The journey to cloud-first IT

By 2025, more than 85% of South African companies will have a cloud-first strategy.

This is according to Milind Govekar, research vice-president of Gartner.

“Cloud-first is not just about what cloud can do for you – more importantly, it is about what cloud can’t do for you,” he adds.

“And cloud-first doesn’t mean cloud always,” he adds. “There will always be some workloads running on-premise.”

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How Engen is shifting to digitalisation

Digital change is influencing organisations and it is evident that the next few years are going to be incredibly exciting.

This is the word from Peter du Plooy, CIO of Engen, who says his organisation is re-aligning to meet future challenges.

He points out that digitalisation introduces complexity. “Think about the world in 10 years’ time: will it be more complex?

“And will the business environment change?”

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What keeps CIOs awake at night?

Top performing CIOs are about two years ahead of the laggards when it comes to having, and executing, a digital plan.

Only about 8% of CIOs, however, are top performers, with the bottom CIOs accounting for about 10%, and 82% making up the middle or typical performers

Top performers get more budget – about 4% more than in 2017 compared to 2,8% for the middle-performing organisations and 2,3% for bottom performers. On the other hand, top-performing CIOs support a total 5,2% budget change in their organisation.

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The challenge of our changing brains

Technology like multimedia is fundamentally altering our brains – and organisations need to change the way they work in response to these changes.

Baroness Susan Greenfield, founder and CEO of NeuroBio, an expert on the human mind and brain researcher, explains that each person has a unique mind.

“Something to do with your brain makes you special,” she says.

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ROI is all about not delighting the customer …

Improving customer experience is all about delighting the customer with innovative new programmes based on careful research and metrics, right?

Wrong, says Ed Thompson, vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. These three premises, which most companies accept as fundamental truths, are going to propel your company into the top ranks when it comes to customer experience.

“We are saying, no, you don’t want to do these things,” Thompson says.

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Learn about power from the billionaires

The world’s wealthiest people have managed to “weaponise” technology innovation to garner and retain power.

This is the word from Don Scheibenreif, vice-president distinguished analyst at Gartner, who points out that technology was going to be the ultimate equaliser.

“We believed that equal access to technology would raise everyone’s standard of living,” he says. “But there is still a gap between those who have technology and, therefore, to the opportunities it brings.

“We also know that the wealthiest people on the planet have always found ways to maintain their power.”

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Top tech trends driving Continuous Next

Technology advancements are driving the move to the new era of Continuous Next that Gartner believes will define the business world over the coming years.

The top 10 technologies to look out for in the coming year fall into three areas: intelligence, digital and mesh, says Brian Burke, research vice-president at Gartner.

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The difference between AI myths and reality

There is huge excitement about artificial intelligence (AI), but most organisations are still battling to understand what it really is and how it can add value to their business operations.

“AI has a lot of promise and it is going to be everywhere,” says Magnus Revang, research director at Gartner

However, it will take decades before it becomes pervasive, he adds.

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Drive business value with digital security

As the threat of cybersecurity becomes more visible, CIOs are finally getting more budget to address threats.

“The reality, though, is that it is still a grudge spend,” says Tom Scholtz, vice-president and Gartner Fellow at Gartner. “Spending on security does not drive revenue and is always a cost.”

CIOs still have to justify their spend, to its difficult to quantify the value.

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Full-spectrum security in a complex world

Digital and workforce transformation are underpinned by IT and security transformation.

Many of the trends we are seeing are driven by a massive increase in data, says Servaas Venter, director: data protection solutions at Dell EMC.

The risk profile has also changed, as companies become more exposed in the world of IoT, cloud and bog data.

IT budgets are being used in areas that are outside the ambit of the CIO, and many companies today believe their data is not being adequately protected.

Venter says organisations have to consider protection at the end point, at the network, in operation and on recovery.

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