Thursday, 12 November 2015

Gartner Symposium 2015

This past week I attended the Gartner Symposium in Barcelona, Spain. Symposium is the annual European gathering of senior IT leaders (CxOs) and an opportunity to analyse trends, reflect on our current progress and network with peers across the industry.

Adoption of IT is now growing at an unprecedented rate. We often underestimate the impact of technology in the current climate. Access to technology is now easier than ever with multiple options for sourcing and implementation of IT solutions. I witness this in my organisation with directorate sourced solutions (that we MUST implement) and ad-hoc software service implementations without any involvement from IT.

As a collective IT team we need to adapt to these challenges to sustain our position as a collaborative care enabler moving forwards.

Key messages from the Gartner Symposium are:

  • Economics of Connections – A really verbose "Gartner" term for crowd-sourcing. As an organisation we are too focused on trying to solve all of the problems ourselves and we need to test new mechanisms of delivery in our organisation. What would it look like if we asked the junior doctors to solve the problems themselves with IT facilitation via a crowd-sourced forum? What about an NHS wide kick-starter to solve common NHS problems? Further reading on wikinomics is advised if you are interested.
  • Business is now Bi-Modal – Not only is the mechanism of IT delivery bi-model (Mode1 – traditional, mode 2 – agile and iterative) entire businesses are now moving to bi-modal models, taking the opportunity to shed legacy applications and rebuilding revenue streams on-top of iterative digital platforms.
  • Platforms are still important – Large systems are no longer the way to deliver successful digital business. Modern, agile platforms are utilised across industry as a key enabler to success in the digital age driven by open APIs and cloud based scalability.
  • Human contextualisation – It is now more important than ever to understand the human context of delivery. We should focus more on the user-experience and ease of use to drive benefit rather than complexity in process to ensure we sustain a successful relationship with our colleagues in the organisation.
  • Cognitive Computing – There were some truly amazing technologies on display at Symposium that show the advances in cognitive computing (speaking with Amelia the AI helpdesk was one of the highlights). It is clear that as we move forwards cognitive algorithms will drive an ethical debate in the industry. At several keynote presentations we witnessed the power of cognitive computing with machines now able to analyse X-rays 7% more accurately than human radiologists. The move from logic based to pattern based algorithms is driving this movement.

During lunch on the second day we experienced a presentation by Chris Hadfield, a truly inspirational individual who has led several space missions and is the first Canadian astronaut. Chris set his life objectives at an early age of 9 and has achieved them by focusing on the completion of what he believed impossible. If you get time I recommend watching his TED talk here:

It was clear from the week that we are moving in the right direction with our IT strategy and the current in-flight programmes and proposed structural changes. Stability and solid foundations are critical to success, enabling platforms to allow business agility is important and facilitating great customer engagement/partnership/collaboration at all levels must be a priority for us to retain any position in the industry. We need to move away from back-office to front-office and be seen as a care enabler.​

As we move forward we all need to keep an eye on innovation and drive this through our organisation. We tend to spend too much time on delivering the "now" and not focusing on the future. It is these future innovations that will change the health economy and if we do not start scanning the horizon the current models of care and IT delivery will be depreciated before we even realise.​

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