Our top 5 Takeaways from Gartner’s Opening Keynote at the 2020 IT Symposium

Edee Carey2020-12-08

This year, LINK Mobility had the pleasure of attending the Gartner 2020 IT Symposium/Xpo. There was a lot to learn from the opening keynote presentation, titled “Seize the Moment to Compose a Resilient Future.”

Read on for our top five takeaways from the session on how the world is changing and how you can use this to your advantage by building a composable business.

1. Turmoil can create energy and drive change

We often base our lives around predictability, knowing the future and planning ahead. Yet, this past year has taught us that even with our best guesses, nothing is certain, and we are required to improvise when the unexpected arises. Frequently, action comes from a crisis of necessity. We saw that in 2020 with the societal volatility, including:

  • Public health

  • Climate change

  • Social unrest

For example, the amount of people working from home has skyrocketed. Enterprises have to be more ready than ever for digital change to accommodate events occurring around the world – and in their own backyard. COVID-19 was the perfect storm to create change for industries everywhere. If people and businesses are prepared, turmoil can actually create energy, promote inspiration and creativity, drive positive change, and lead to delivery on high expectations. Tough situations force people to get creative in order to succeed, meaning the result could be different processes, new products, or changed attitudes.

2. It’s possible to not just survive change, but to thrive in it

While turmoil can be negative for those unprepared, it’s a big opportunity for others; a chance to grow and adapt to a new future. When there is a willingness for change and openness to forward-thinking, the possibilities are endless. Businesses must plan not just for the future, but many futures. This has led to a rebirth of scenario planning, which means considering the duration of the disruption and the significance of changes; being ready for all futures and facing change head on.

Perhaps enterprises are more ready for digital change, as 69% of corporate directions have the action item to increase digital business initiatives to help deal with ongoing disruption.

Survey Analysis: Board Directors Say Pandemic Drives Increased Investments in IT, September 2020

With change, like COVID-19, some enterprises experience a demand surge or can use the disruption as a chance to reinvent themselves, creating new products and services to meet new needs. It’s important to consider what your customers want and need in the turmoil. What are their expectations of you and your business, and can you deliver and inspire? With the increase of use of digital channels, what behaviors will stick, and which will revert to before? With a proper business foundation through composability and scenario planning, enterprises can thrive in times of crisis.

Gartner, The Postpandemic Planning Framework, Figure 1, May 2020

3. Business has become more personal

For businesses to fully reach their potential, they have to be able to deal with continuous societal volatility and understand their role in and reactions to it. Customers care about your social, environmental, and _ policies – your societal value. Gartner coins the term “Voice of Society” and notes, “The ‘voice of society’ is the shared perspective of people in a community that drives the desire to represent and drive ethical values toward a commonly acceptable outcome. It’s a collection of voices, the voice of a global community, that we must add to those of customers, shareholders and employees” (Gartner, Gartner Opening Keynote: Seize the Moment to Compose a Resilient Future, November 2020). Organizations no longer have accountability to just customers, employees, and shareholders, but also to society now. Taking into account the Voice of Society makes your enterprise more future-proof as you plan for multiple futures.

Gartner, Gartner’s Top Strategic Predictions for 2021 and Beyond: Resetting Everything, November 2020

How are you personalizing your business to better target your different audiences? What measures are you taking to understand your customers’ and society’s values? Are you part of the problem or are you leading the solution? With technology, you can gain meaningful input into people’s opinions and how beliefs are changing.

4. The future is in building a composable business (building blocks of a comp. Bus.)

Businesses often face moments of composability: According to Gartner, the term “Moments of Composability” is defined as, “an instant of time or an event which requires the organization to dynamically adapt and respond to create value.” In order to thrive during these moments, a business must be composable, or “architected for real-time adaptability and resilience in the face of uncertainty.” Composable businesses are ready to deal with social unrest, disruptive changes, and crisis. They are characterized by their flexibility, resilience, and improvisation, as well as the three building blocks that comprise a composable business:

  • Composable Thinking: The ability to stay creative. These are design principles guiding you on what to compose and when.

  • Composable Business Architecture: The structure and purpose that leads to resiliency, innovation, and flexibility. These are the structural capabilities that give you mechanisms to use when architecting your business.

  • Composable Technology: The tools for today and tomorrow. These are design goals driving the features of technology that support composability.

As many know, it is very difficult to change an organization, so agility needs to be built in by the creation of a composable business. We must learn that disruptive change is the norm, and composability is the way to address it. These building blocks aren’t optional, they are necessary.

5. A composable business needs not only the aforementioned building blocks, but also principles to guide actions

When taken all together, we have gleaned that the following principles lead to repeatability, which leads to consistency, leading to speed, leading to the ability to pivot quickly and adapt to change. These characteristics are key for a composable business to face the future.

  • Modularity – More speed and agility come from modularity. It doesn’t mean uniformity, but it means taking advantage of the differences by easily being able to change the structure of something, whether that means customer solutions, products, teams, or business functions. The structure can be adjusted, removed, and rebuilt in different ways to create something new, like a stone wall made up of individual stones. This leads to diversity of thought, mindset, experience, and approach.

  • Autonomy – Autonomous business units creatively respond to change. Small teams have responsibility and ownership, avoiding centralized bureaucracy. There still need to be connections, collaboration, and communication to avoid siloes.

  • Orchestration – This means better leadership leading to proper outcomes. You have the ability to act quickly when needed. For there to be autonomous “micro-enterprises,” there must also be clear leadership to balance it out.

  • Discovery – Your business can sense when change needs to happen. It might involve developing new products or services, or entering into an adjacent market. You collect necessary data to understand needs, and then innovate and act on it.

Gartner, Gartner Opening Keynote: Seize the Moment to Compose a Resilient Future, November 2020

Digitalization is one of the changes that we’ve continued to face, but it has rapidly reached new levels with COVID-19 and the social unrest of 2020. As you start thinking about how to build your own composable business, consider LINK Mobility’s services to help you stay resilient while connecting with current and potential customers. Get in touch here.

Learn more about Gartner and the IT Symposium/Xpo.