Major topics are essentially a summary of the questions we get from our clients’ in acquiring ceb, Gartner has also acquired new knowledge and skills. Tille Verhaeghe (photo), VP Research and advisory emea at Gartner, explains what this means for the organization, what developments we can expect at Gartner, and what this change means for clients.
Verhaeghe has worked at Gartner since CEB was acquired last year, where she worked in advisory services. ‘Gartner was interested in CEB, because it focused its re.search on the entire C-suite,’ she says. ‘This means Gartner now has a complementary manner of research, new resources for its clients, and an additional team of advisors and experts.’
This complementarity is can be seen in research into the IT operating model, according to Verhaeghe. ‘In it we describe building blocks of information and technology operating models. The resources that we have acquired from CEB help us to determine what the operating model should look like within the context of digitalization.’
Experts at the former CEB and Gartner are examining how the building blocks should relate to each other and exactly what organizations have to do. ‘We will then look at what successful companies have done and how they have done that for each other. What lessons they have learned and what mistakes they have made. And from that we can derive best practice.’ This information is valuable to Gartner’s clients, Verhaeghe believes.
‘So, you as a client know what to think about, but also how you can avoid mistakes. On top of that, you can learn how to save time and the research helps you when asking for funding for new product lines.’ To make sure that the issues Gartner is exploring are sufficiently relevant to the market, the organization has been working with key initiatives since earlier this year. ‘This means that clients ask us about certain topics. The content of that is created by analysts and our research team.’
Key initiatives are subtopics that fall within a group of major topics that Gartner focuses on. ‘These major, overarching topics include innovation, the changing role of the CIO, and cost control. Major topics are essentially a summary of the questions we get from our clients.’ Verhaeghe illustrates her story with an example under the theme of innovation. ‘We recently spoke to CIOs about the shift from IT to the business. They are noticing that technology doesn’t just exist within their own organization, but it is being more and more business-led. IT delivery is no longer under the sole control of the CIO. At these meetings, we discuss what this means for the role of the CIO.’ Another development that Verhaeghe sees as being related is the challenge for CIOs to interact constructively with fusion teams. ‘More and more organizations are working with fusion teams. On average, 44% of employees in a fusion team are not in IT.’
This brings new issues for CIOs. ‘How do you give fusion teams the space they need, while ensuring there is not too much risk created on the business side? Sometimes, they even forget what this can mean for the organization. How does the CIO ensure that teams learn from each other? And what role does the CIO play in all of this?’ ‘Another topical issue is culture. Not only in terms of daily hacks that you can use, but how we build the behavior and mindset of our company, so that it fits the digital context.’ At this year’s Gartner Symposium, visitors can find out for the first time what new knowledge Gartner has acquired. ‘In the build-up to the Symposium, we will be looking at who is going to speak about what. Any team can submit a proposal. Visitors to the Symposium will be the first to see content written by former CEB experts.’ There is also a new format being introduced: the practitioner research discussion. ‘This is our flagship research. We would previously spend the whole day talking about this very broad study in a small circle, but now we have come up with a new format for it to reach more people.’
‘At the Gartner Forum, we will be presenting our flagship research in a three-hour session. It will be in a different format, rather than a workshop or a round table. Half of the content comes from us and half from the interaction. So, it won’t just be 150 people involved; we will reach one to two thousand CIOs with shorter sessions.’ Verhaeghe believes it is important to stress that the target audience of the Gartner Symposium won’t change after welcoming CEB into the Gartner family. ‘We are carrying out new research on agile beyond IT, and we can learn a lot from our colleagues in finance, for example. But we are not looking to appeal to a new target audience. Although we welcome guests from fusion teams of course, CIOs are really the primary target group.’
Verhaeghe expects that digital transformation will still be a hot topic over the coming year. More than 80% of CIOs have digital transformation on their agenda. But they are being asked to do much more than optimize their IT operations. Business strategies are becoming increasingly based on technology, but they are primarily being organized outside of IT. IT is about the entire organization and the CIO is responsible for steering things in the right direction. And that is a considerable challenge.’