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ORLANDO, Fla. – Thousands of technology-focused executives and analysts converged on Gartner IT Symposium Xpo in Orlando, Fla. this week to focus on what technology developments will mean for their businesses.
The potential for a recession influenced discussions as CIOs face the need to do more with less. The question also arose, who will be the true digital leader?
Alongside the steady stream of trends and predictions, executives shared a range of tips that support cross-industry technology strategies.
Here are some key insights CIO Dive heard from speakers at the annual event.
Consumer-oriented technical changes
Businesses may introduce new functionality or applications, hoping to encourage natural adoption. But there are times when rapid shifts in consumer behavior place companies on duty to respond.
This happened to Michael Kors, which before COVID-19 recognized that consumers were starting to prefer online shopping and wanted a different experience than in-store.
“We’ve moved to more of an API, microservices environment… because the consumer now has the ability to be in a store, they can shop from anywhere, whether online or in another store,” said Akhil Bisaria, VP of IT, SAP and financial applications at Michael Kors parent company Capri Holdings. “In order to be able to do that, the installation has to be there.”
Working tools to support diversity
Technology tools can be part of the strategy for companies looking to support diversity within their ranks. After all, companies have a responsibility to equip workers with the tools they need to do their jobs – which doesn’t look the same for everyone.
Cindy Taibi, senior VP and CIO at The New York Times, said that as a leader, giving people tools they are comfortable with has become very important to her.
“There’s racial diversity, gender diversity, we all know that,” Taibi said. “Well diversity in work style, that’s also a thing. And I spend a lot of time focusing on that.”
Decrypt your dashboard
Analysts and CIOs have warned against using technology for technology’s sake. With dashboard solutions, the tools should provide understandable insights, otherwise the effort is in vain.
Ken Rogers, deputy CIO and chief knowledge officer at the US State Department, said dashboards are an important part of keeping stakeholders informed as the agency modernizes and moves to the cloud.
“Dashboards are only good when used by your stakeholders,” Rogers said. “If they don’t meet their needs, you have to go back to the drawing board.”
Rogers suggested creating a glossary of terms so stakeholders can derive value from the dashboards.
This is particularly important for budget planning: Without relevant, understandable information, stakeholders will question how the current budget is being spent, which Rogers says potentially threatens the credibility of technology leaders.