/ Change all the rage at Gartner IT conference

We just returned from the Gartner Symposium in Orlando, and while there were presentations on a wide variety of topics – from how to create a company culture that works to how AI is impacting digital transformation – there was just one word that came up time and again:

Change.

That’s really what business survival in this day and age comes down to. How fast can you change in order to stay ahead of the game? How nimble can you be? How quickly can you not only identify where the puck is going, but then beat it there to assume or retain control?

During one session, some form of the word “change” was used over and over. It consisted of four CIOs sitting on stage together – Dwayne Allen of Masonite International, Bernard Gay of nThrive, Enna Zarate of DHL Express and Monica McManus of Lockheed Martin – talking about how they got to where they are now.

Their collective advice was to keep raising your hand to learn something new because that is how you evolve and become a better leader (or employee).

“The time from design to build to deliver is going to keep going faster,” McManus said. “But we’re all capable of handling it if we keep looking for ways to improve – both professionally and personally.”

This idea was echoed by Domo’s Jason Burby and Ben Schein, who hosted a session on new ways to get data to your end users. At one point, Schein, who is VP of our Center for Data Curiosity, answered a question by providing an example of how changing a key tool for buyers at a company he used to work for transformed their lives virtually overnight. The solution involved inviting the buyers to test the new tool, taking their feedback, and then enhancing the tool – in the same day! – in a way that “made their jaws drop,” Schein said.

During another session, it was noted that most companies want to change – or recognize they have to change – but very few (10 percent, to be exact) are actually able to do it.

The main obstacles to implementing a new way forward are reluctance to tackle silos – as our CEO, Josh James, recently discussed in an article for CEO.com – and failure to understand your own culture. Are your employees happy? If not, why? What is it they want or need in order to be more engaged and, in turn, be more productive?

At those companies, there has got to be a reexamination of the foundational level. At others, it might help to consider a new way of working. AI is capable of taking care of the mundane now, so why not change to take advantage of that reality? Why not allow intellectual capital to play a larger role in how you operate?

Acclaimed theoretical scientist and author of four New York Times bestsellers Michio Kaku said during the conference that AI is the fourth wave of wealth generation. It’s not going away. It’s only going to improve. How will we adapt? How will we harness it? The answer to that question is where the future lies.