Gartner pushes 'continuous next' strategy for business survival

Mike Harris, EVP, Research at Gartner.
Mike Harris, EVP, Research at Gartner.

To drive innovation at scale, adapt to a continuously changing environment and digitally transform, businesses must 'shape, shift and share'.

This is the basis of what Gartner calls 'the continuous next' strategy.

At the 2018 Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, on in Cape Town this week, the analyst firm underlined the importance of skills, digital security and AI among a host of trends impacting businesses amid digital transformation.

"Why continuous next? And why now?" asked Mike Harris, executive VP, Research at Gartner. "Because the transition to digital is undeniable and it's only accelerating, disrupting government and business models. Those new models redefine how organisations create, deliver and capture value. Two-thirds of CEOs and CFOs anticipate business models to change frequently due to digital transformation."

Culture is the hurdle

The strongest determinant of success is dynamism, or an organisation's ability to embrace change and adopt technology in a new way, he said.

"We've seen many organisations become increasingly dynamic. We've learned that top performers differentiate by unique applications of technology - they shape their organisation's stance on technology adoption, they shift to innovative uses of technology and then they share their success," said Harris.

However, the impact on business culture is identified as one of the most significant challenges to digital transformation. Gartner found that 46% of CIOs reported culture as their biggest barrier.

Other top barriers to achieving CIO objectives included insufficient resources, business blocking change, lack of digital skills and lack of funding for digital.

The company advocates 'hacking the culture' as a means of guiding the businesses through the process of change and altering their mindset.

Hacking the culture

In her presentation, research VP and analyst in Gartner's Strategy, Innovation and CIO Role Kristin Moyer, said culture (or the mindsets or practices that shape behaviour) needn't be a barrier.

"What if you found a weak point in your culture and you could turn it into real change? Hacking your culture is just what you need to finally make that behaviour change stick," said Moyer.

Paul Morrison, regional VP for Sales at Gartner SA, said despite the volatile socio-economic climate - exacerbated by a change in the country's leadership, on-going fallout from the state-capture scandal, a technical recession and Moody's having slashed the growth forecast for SA for 2018 - there is a clear opportunity for businesses.

"You know and your organisations know that to overcome the challenges, you need technology. To deliver better public services at lower cost, to grow your business out of the recession, to optimise costs so that you can reinvest in frontline services and other growth opportunities, and to reduce unemployment and equip our young people with the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. The key to all of that is technology," concluded Morrison.

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