Blog – Reflections on the #GartnerSYM

Reflections on the #GartnerSYM

It’s been just over a week since the Gartner Conference and in that time, I have been reflecting on a few things. I thought it might be a useful close of the conference chapter with this reflection blog. There are two key reflections: 

The first one is something we all do, which is to always question whether attending any event, whether it’s virtual or in person event is going to add value to you and the business you’re operating within. I spoke to many peers on this subject and there was a unanimous feeling that attending this event was indeed valuable, not least because the sessions were in-person. Whilst there are benefits in attending virtual events, it’s not a one size fits all and in this case, the ability to network and bounce ideas off over 7,500 peers with similar challenges wouldn’t have been anywhere near as effective at a virtual event. So, on reflection, I do believe it was worthwhile and I have a number of business benefits I will be looking to implement as a result.  

The second reflection was on the sheer volume of information available and as per one of my previous posts, I was glad that I had done my preparation prior to the event! I planned to attend specific sessions that I knew aligned to our business priorities, for example cyber security. One of the challenges with an event like this is figuring out what you turn into actionable outputs. After much thought, here are my actionable items in the form of pledges: 

  1. I will investigate Protection Level Agreements with the aim of improving the alignment between level of protection, risk appetite and funding in the future.  
  2. I will re-enforce the need to treat cyber security as a business risk, not technical risk, and will also re-enforce this principle across all decision making.  
  3. Whilst I believe we fare well in terms of executing against our strategic objectives, it would be remis to say we are perfect. Therefore, I will implement a more focused process in my team to ensure we prioritise the right initiatives and then maintain the focus on these. 
  4. I identified opportunities to optimise my non-people costs and have already started work with our CTO to pursue a large one for our business. I will see this through to the end. 
  5. We are already undertaking a programme around Customer Experience; I will make sure we include some of the recommendations from the Gartner sessions on Empathy. 
  6. Whilst we do undertake various activities as part of our preparation for a Cyber event, I will increase what we do in this space.  
  7. We have had minimal impact so far from the Talent crisis which is credit to our HR & Recruitment team, however I will review with the team some of the ideas from Gartner to see if it will help sharpen the saw. 
  8. I will positively challenge the “it’s impossible” response and tell people, nothing is impossible. I’ll even share the amazing story I was told about the team who developed the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. 
  9. I will encourage difficult conversations and continue to support our HR and OD team who are doing some fantastic work in this area already. 
  10. I will continue to promote a Shared Services First strategy as an enabler for value generation as referenced by Gartner in its Operating Model session.  

I hope you found this and my other posts interesting and of value to you. If you also attended the conference and have not done your pledges, then why not challenge yourself to share them with your business. 

Paul Jones, Chief Information Officer

Photo by Paul Jones.

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