Digital business is an overarching theme that covers how the blurring of the physical and virtual worlds is transforming business designs, industries, markets and organizations. The continuing digital business evolution exploits new digital models to align more closely the physical and digital worlds for employees, partners and customers.

At Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo™, CIOs and IT executives will discover the steps needed to achieve digital transformation for their organization, and understand how to align the physical and digital worlds for employees, partners and customers. Below are answers to some of the most pressing digital business transformation questions as well as highlighted sessions at this year's conference.

Q&A with Gartner experts Chet Geschickter, VP Analyst and Jorge Lopez, Distinguished VP Analyst

  • As digitalization matures, participation in digital ecosystems increases, making the enterprises more digitally interdependent. CIOs must prepare for this transition.
  • Information and analytics skills gaps persist; basic skills too are in short supply as the move to digital ecosystems changes the required IT capabilities. Take steps to mitigate these shortages.
  • Understanding business priorities and applying value disciplines to inform management and execution is foundational to transition to digital ecosystem participation.
  • Though ecosystem participation can take different forms — providing or co-creating an ecosystem, selling or buying through one — an ecosystem creates value by supporting business models that enable participants to achieve performance superior to businesses that operate independently. Likewise, ecosystems enable public-sector agencies to gain efficiency dividends and deliver a superior citizen experience.

In the past year, the realization is that digital business transformation is very hard work and could take much longer to execute than originally planned. There are emerging technologies with great transformation process, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. But they are difficult to implement, and this delays business benefits.

Perhaps the biggest mistake organizations make regarding digital business transformation is to assume the effort is all about technology when actually it is about culture and business. There is a growing realization among our clients that digital business transformation is more than a matter of technology. It must entail business model transformation as well. It can be difficult for CIOs to amass support for this level of change. They need to partner with executives to create a shared vision for transformation.

Many organizations, challenged by the sheer magnitude of a transformation, operate incrementally to optimize their business, which can yield helpful and even significant short-term results. There are a lot of lessons to learn from organizations that have embarked on transformation initiatives, even if they are not in your industry. One of the trends we are observing is the creation of alternative structures to pursue digital business transformation. This frees up part of the organization to push the boundaries on how digital business shifts markets and enables new value propositions.

… find that their business or institution is obsolete and not relevant to a digital society.