The rate of technology change is accelerating. IT executives must identify and capitalize on trends that drive significant change, while making sufficient changes in their risk management and operating models. 

At Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo™, we'll Dive into blockchain, the Internet of Things, AI and robotic process automation to truly transform your organization. Below are answers to some of the most pressing questions surrounding emerging technologies and AI as well as highlighted sessions at this year's conference.

Artificial intelligence

Over the past few years, the pace of innovation in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies has been staggering, predominantly coming from small vendors. CIOs are in the perfect position to educate the company’s CEO and board about recent developments in AI and illustrate how AI might influence their business and their competitive landscape.

AI — along with other elements of data and analytics — is creating a new form of work: the augmented skill set. At Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo, we'll explore how people-based intelligence is being enhanced and extended with new automation skills to save time and money, and innovating capabilities to drive solutions to current and new challenges.

Q&A with Gartner experts Andrew White, Distinguished VP Analyst and Erick Brethenoux, Sr Director Analyst on artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) specifically and other elements of data and analytics are creating a new form of work — the augmented skill set. People-based intelligence is being enhanced and extended with new automation skills to save time and money and new innovating capabilities to drive new solutions to current and new challenges. AI is helping to develop augmented data and analytics.

More specifically, hybrid approaches in natural language processing (NLP) are using semantics to improve NLP accuracy and effectiveness. This may help with outcomes ranging from cost savings, through to business growth, innovation, and improved or newly enhanced customer experience and engagement practices, and processes. However, this is not automatically assured by spending money simply on AI.

At a technology level, more organizations are moving away from a do-it-yourself effort and are leveraging more packaged AI capabilities.

Too many organizations are taking AI for granted. Too often it is assumed it will “work” as advertised by the vendor. It is assumed that AI is mature enough that if given the data it needs, it will produce results. It is also assumed that a solution to a problem that is based on AI or built around an AI-based model is needed. AI is the new silver bullet, so it surely can help with every challenge, right? Wrong. Too often, traditional technologies and techniques might be superior and ready to solve problems; however, these are often being bypassed by users who just jump on the AI-based offering. This leads to excessive costs, and worse, failed implementations and unmet challenges.

In addition, organizations tend to take a “scatter-gun” approach with AI and do proof of concepts all over the place. It would be more effective to understand the nature of the technology and its capabilities, and limitations, to target specific areas where AI can add value. Plus, the feedback analysis that helps AI learn how the predictive output can be further tuned is a critical capability often overlooked.

AI is becoming a critical enabler for digital business and digital transformation. At its root, AI can offer new ways to improve how processes and work can be automated, but equally, it can help with discovering new insights from data that users would not have ordinarily found. These two capabilities, innovation and automation, are core to digital business. Current business moments should be automated and simplified, and new innovative business moments opportunities need to be discovered and invented. One approach reduces costs and streamlines work; the other, leads to innovation and growth.

… be left behind as others get into top gear and pull ahead.

… not be able to move the needle in improving the business as needed.

… incur technical debt that they may never recover from, as more nimble vendors add more weight to nonfunctional requirements of solutions.

Attending Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo will help IT executives with their AI priorities and key initiatives by providing insights into new opportunities and how to mitigate challenges and reduce skills gaps. In addition, the conference provides best practices to help organizations move from proof of concept to more concrete and actionable AI-driven initiatives. 

Q&A with Robert Handler, Distinguished VP Analyst and Marc Kerremans, Sr Director Analyst on emerging and disruptive technologies

This year, there is a big thrust on megatrends, with many leaders seeking to respond to the risks and opportunities around disruption. Many enterprises are realizing that the leadership, roles and organizational structures that they have are insufficient to disrupt the status quo. This is a key impetus for the new roles we are seeing in enterprises, such as innovation officers and others such as chief digital officers that have been there for a while.

They adopt new technologies but do not make sufficient changes in their risk management and operating models. Also, technology adoption alone isn’t sufficient and needs to be supplemented by culture hacking and empowering the right people. Furthermore, innovation to be truly transformational needs to involve changes across processes, systems, business architecture, strategy and governance.

Organizations with visionary leaders and strong culture are embarking on “creative destruction,” challenging the status quo and rearchitecting their platforms (while most others are fine with an incremental change). Strong leadership and an open, innovative culture are often what determine success or failure. Emerging and disruptive technologies are leveraged by IT executives to drive new business and operating models and drive growth in their organization.

… either perish or go through an endless cycle of trying to figure out the right business and operating model and recruit a strong leader to remain relevant. Digital disruptions create risks and opportunities, which need to be grasped by organizations.