I recently had the opportunity to both attend and speak at this year’s 2017 Colorado IT Symposium. Every time I have the opportunity to be in a room of hundreds of technology leaders, I feel the buzz and appreciate the connections I make. These types of events are great to sharpen our thoughts on where the industry is going and to continuously learn in a crowd format. I mean you can only read so many trade rags, Twitter feeds and LinkedIn stories before you want to actually talk to someone face to face!
What follows are my takeaways from the event.
Imagination vs. Vision
The morning keynote speaker talked a lot about leadership and had a few solid thoughts that reminded me to continue to imagine where technology can take us. We talk about thinking outside the box, but nobody tells us how big the box is. I believe in the next ten years we will see the biggest transformation from technology than we have since the real Internet boom of the 1990s. He also reminded us we must be continuous learners and be willing to learn from every interaction we have. He of course talked about having a mentor, and I say, why only have one?
I have maybe eight people that I look to for advice outside my family and inner circle. They each give me insight from their perspective and I take it all in. I once had a friend tell me that you can be mentored for five minutes on a plane from a stranger if you open yourself up to it. I think a lot of people think mentors must be formal and for long sustained periods of time. I call my mentors when I need them most. So, on that next flight – open yourself up – you never know what you might learn just at the right time.
Disruptive TechnologyI had the opportunity to be a speaker on this topic along with another panelist. We were charged to talk about the capabilities of IT progressing faster than ever, future technologies that are shaping all our environments. From self-driving cars to virtual reality, many organizations are realizing the benefits of harnessing this ingenuity to accelerate past the competition. Specifically, we talked about what we thought were the top 3 most promising disruptive trends going on in 2017. In what ways, do you see organizations being forced to adapt to external disruptive forces or risk their survival? We also shared examples of companies embracing disruptive technology to accelerate past their competition.
Promising Upcoming TechnologiesMy thoughts on the three most promising technologies included – AI connected with companies that have done the hard work with BI/Analytics to create a customer experience like no other. I continue to look at consumerization of new technologies first to drive the enterprise. Augmented reality – I think Pokemon Go is just the beginning and taking this kind of thinking to the enterprise from training in a “real” virtual facility to creating augmented realities for patients have real commercial promise. Lastly, I said of course, Internet of Things (IoT). Everything is connected – now how do we start to leverage that? Again, I go back to customer experience. With more connection brings more data that we can leverage for better customer experience – and now we are full circle!
Companies will either be ahead of the disruption, or be disrupted upon. Uber seemed cool yesterday, but tomorrow autonomous vehicles driving us around seems much more like a progressive business, right? I also say do not forget about social media in disruption – we most recently saw United feel this in a big way – which leads us right back to customer experience (feeling a theme yet?)
AI, Machine Learning & DataThis break out session was well attended with standing room only. Beyond AI needing good data, we had a good discussion around how long does it take to do a decent AI proof of concept and then focusing on singular business problems first vs. boiling the ocean is where the action is at today. We briefly discussed the ethics of AI and how that must be governed in the future. Lastly this session led into a deep discussion on where the processing power will be in the future – at end point or stay with the mothership. Interesting concept that if we push processing to the endpoint of everything, then the integration and need for cloud presence across every provider all the time can lead to interesting integration challenges.
I personally love attending, speaking and facilitating these sessions and getting to see how every CIO and every Technology Provider is attacking the new opportunities. I continue to say technology can make or break a business as much as a line of business inside a corporation can. I am excited to be in the middle of a transformational era and continue to look for ways for all of us to transform the world around us with technology!