Five key imperatives for success with digital transformation

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Many organizations say they are struggling in their efforts to implement and manage digital transformation. The task can indeed be daunting, but one key to success is what Gartner Research calls 'Continuous Next,' a strategy that combines five imperatives that Gatner has been promoting in recent years.

ContinuousNEXT is the future evolution of concepts Gartner has introduced in recent years that will build momentum through digital transformation and beyond, Mike Harris, executive vice president and global head of research, told an audience of more than 9,000 CIOs and IT leaders at this week's Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando.

Harris said the five imperatives for CIOs to implement a ContinuousNEXT strategy include:

  • Privacy
  • Augmented Intelligence
  • Culture
  • Product Management
  • Digital Twin

“The transition to digital is undeniable and accelerating, disrupting both government and business models. These new models redefine the way organizations create, deliver, and capture value. They are challenging the way CIOs operate, bringing new mindsets and new practices to IT,” Harris said.

Indeed, nearly two-thirds of CEOs and CFOs anticipate business model change in their organizations, frequently due to digital transformation. Investors are frequrntly encouraging that change by rewarding organizations that infuse every product and service with digital capabilities.

“They are not just interested in data – which is now old news – they are interested in what you do with data through advanced analytics and artificial intelligence," Harris said. "Leaders apply technology and information in unique and creative ways to outperform their peers. It’s what distinguishes them from the rest, and that’s where ContinuousNEXT come in.”

Looking at each of the five imperatives, Harris offered the following observations:


"In an environment that thrives on continuous changes, Gartner’s data scientists have found that the single biggest predictor of success is organizational with dynamism," Harris said. "More than just being business led, and no matter if the governance model is loose or controlled, the strongest determinant of success is dynamism. Dynamism is the ability to embrace change and adopt technology in a new way. More than three-quarters of organizations struggle with dynamism. The way you adopt technology matters, and dynamism is the critical factor."


"Mastering privacy and creating trusted digital connections is an urgent imperative for ContinuousNEXT. If CIOs do not successfully manage privacy, their entire digital transformation is at risk. Increasingly, privacy leads to trust, and trust is power," Harris says.

"However, due to recent security breaches there is rising skepticism from consumers, which impacts trust. For the first time, a sizeable group of consumers and employees are not willing to give up security, safety and peace of mind in exchange for convenience. Many consumers have either deleted some of their social media accounts or updated their privacy settings," he continued.

“As a CIO, you have a mandate to maintain data protections on sensitive data about consumers, citizens and employees,” Harris said. “This typically means putting someone in charge of a privacy management program, detecting and promptly reporting breaches, and ensuring that individuals have control of their data. This is a board-level issue, yet barely half of organizations have adequate controls in place.”

Augmented Intelligence

"Augmented intelligence is the logical step beyond artificial intelligence. For example, there is a growing public view that artificial intelligence systems will change the workforce, but Gartner does not view this as detrimental to workers.

“Putting workers side by side with advanced artificial intelligence systems, process and robotics allows for those jobs to become more impactful,” Mr. Harris said. “Companies adopting artificial intelligence today often let workers keep their jobs, albeit in a new form, even making those jobs more meaningful and rewarding.”


"Organizations must have a dynamic culture to enable ContinuousNEXT. However, culture is identified by 46 percent of CIOs as the largest barrier to realizing the promise of digital business. Gartner analysts said changing the culture doesn’t always have to be big, and it doesn’t always have to be hard," Harris said.

Digital Product Management

"Digital product management is a core imperative of ContinuousNEXT and accelerating adoption means that if CIOs don’t start soon, they may never catch up. Gartner’s 2019 CIO Agenda survey shows that top performers are twice as likely to be doing product-centric delivery," Harris said.

Digital Twin

"Digital twins are often used to manage physical things, such as jet engines and wind turbines through sensors and computer modeling. However, digital twins are evolving and getting more robust," Harris explained.

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