CIO Diary, Avis Europe: Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2010, Cannes - day one

This is a guest post by Adam Gerrard, group chief information officer (CIO) at car rental firm Avis Europe. Gerrard is currently attending the sessions at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Cannes. The following post summarises his take on the event’s first day.

This is the third year I have attended the Gartner Symposium in Cannes and with over 6000 international IT leaders in attendance it is already shaping up to be one of the best. The keynote speeches were of great interest to me.

Gene Hall, chief executive officer (CEO) of Gartner, opened proceedings with some stark warning that Gartner had been advising CEO’s to build contingency in to their 2011 plans to manage through a possible second dip in the economy. As a result, over 80% of CEO’s are expecting CIO’s to deliver a change programme derived from internal cash generation as opposed to any other means of funding. This leaves CIO’s facing the rapid ROI conundrum again; perhaps this is the new norm for the rest of the decade…

To rally IT leaders to excel in these conditions Peter Sondergaard, SVP and Gartner’s worldwide head of research, took to the stage and outlined Gartner’s view on the game changing technologies of the next 10 years. Peter gave great examples of how PC’s, mobile phones and the internet took 10 years to become established game changing technologies and how the current game changers are shaping up to revolutionise business in the coming 10 years.

The four key drivers are Gartner proposing will shape the coming decade are cloud computing, social computing, context aware computing and pattern based strategies. Peter and his team provided some real, tangible arguments as to the impact these technologies could have and made an extremely compelling case for why the next 20 years of change will be significantly more rapid than the last 20 years. Don’t think about the impact of each of these technologies in isolation, just think how disruptive a confluence of all four could be.

IT is becoming ever more strategic to businesses today, as an enabler, as a differentiator or as a driver of other positive outcomes such as revenue growth or improved customer service. With a mind-boggling 15 Petabytes of data being created every day, I genuinely believe in Gartner’s over-riding theme at symposium this year, “information is the oil of the 21st century”. Step forward the Chief Information Officer.

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