Gartner: How to compose a resilient future
Seize the moment to compose a resilient future, is the message to Chief Information Officers (CIOs) worldwide from consultants Gartner.
Through 2022, rapid innovation triggered by COVID-19 will accelerate the transition of 60% of organisations towards a composable business and by 2023 organisations that have adopted this approach will outpace competition by 80%, according to the report, Seize the Moment to Compose a Resilient Future Key Insights from Gartner’s 2020 Symposium Keynote address.
“The CIO can inspire the right kind of change in an uncertain future,” says the report.
“Moments of composability are happening every day and teams have to be ready to capitalise on them. The future will be defined by how organisations compose their responses to these moments. With composability, organisations can achieve digital acceleration, greater resiliency and the ability to innovate through disruption,” outlines the report.
Some of the key findings in the paper include:
- Composable business has allowed organisations to rapidly pursue new outcomes in the face of disruption in an accelerated digital era
- The principles of composable business - modularity, orchestration, autonomy and discovery allow for extended capabilities
- As turmoil persists, scenario planning can help leaders anticipate disruption in all possible contexts to prepare organisations for likely shifts in consumer trends
- A composable business consist of composable thinking, composable business architecture and composable technologies
According to Gartner, the combination of the three building blocks (composable thinking, composable business architecture and composable technologies) and the four principles (modularity, autonomy, orchestration and discovery) make up the ‘composable business index’.
“As a CIO, start by shifting how the organisation is set up to sense and deliver on the needs of customers, employees, shareholders and society,” says Gartner. “Use composable thinking so the whole enterprise will see that anything is composable. Lead a composable business architecture to unleash innovation at scale.
“2020 shows that in disruption lies opportunity, even if it also proves how painful turmoil can be,” report Gartner recommends CI0s should practice the following:
- Practice composable thinking by building practices and behaviours in a culture of preparedness
- Arrange composable business architecture to sense the market, engage with customers, allow employees to adapt and work with ecosystems to generate value
- Leverage composable technologies to deliver against changing business outcomes
- Apply the principles of modularity, autonomy, orchestration and discovery to guide operations and pursue revenue goals
- Use the composable business index to lead conversations on how to increase the organisation’s degree of composability
Strategic planning assumptions presented to CI0s by Gartner include:
- By 2022, social media consensus majorities will emerge around key issues such as climate change, healthcare policies and social justice
- By 2022, 50% of organisations will have business-IT collaboration teams driving technology-based business innovation
- By 2024, 25% of traditional large enterprise CIOs will be held accountable for digital business operational results, effectively becoming “COO by proxy
“CIOs are ideally positioned to inspire citizens, customers, employees and fellow executives. Despite immense pressure, technology leaders have used composable business to pivot their organisations toward new ways of working and new revenue streams.
“In some cases, the pivot was immediate; in others, the potential for the shift was first developed years ago. For example, more than 1 billion people worked from home at some point in 2020. Technology leaders worldwide laid the groundwork for that shift with robust infrastructure, videoconferencing and collaboration tools,” says the report.
Logistics firms moved vital supplies faster. Retailers became social media influencers. Government agencies were swift in serving the newly unemployed. All of this happened amid global volatility that Gartner expects to continue well into 2021.
The moment is forming for more digital initiatives. Gartner data shows that 69% of boards of directors want to accelerate digital business initiatives to deal with disruption.
Gartner takes an in-depth look at how composable business is effective in many contexts from local government to medium enterprises to multinational corporations with a focus on FedEx, Ocado and government agencies like the city of Turku, Finland.
Adaptability, resilience and societal impact
Most technology leaders are familiar with composability mechanisms like APIs and containers. But along with a technology context, the deliberate use of composability can also occur in a business context.
“Because changes in this digital era are so profound and unpredictable, scenario planning becomes critical for adaptability. Scenario planning starts with uncertainty. In the context of the pandemic, potential futures are shaped by the duration of the disruption, and the extent to which resulting behaviour changes are significant.
“For example, COVID-19 swept away long-standing barriers to digital adoption. People began to purchase food, cars and homes, and access medical care through digital channels only. Remote work and the tools to support it have been adopted more than ever before. The question remains how much these behaviour changes will persist?
According to Gartner, composable business doesn’t replace digital business. “Rather, it is an accelerator of digital business transformation. It is designed so organisations are ready to respond in the moment of need.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.