ET CIO Conclave – Insights for a New Future

After a long hiatus induced by the onset of COVID-19, it was good to be back to the good old days of offline events. The annual flagship Economic Times CIO Annual Conclave held in Goa saw some of the country’s most influential IT movers and shakers share the stage to present their insights on business tech.

This year’s Conclave saw active and enthusiastic participation from the IT and business fraternity to evaluate strategies and roadmaps for success in a post-pandemic world. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way the world operates. It ushered in the Future of Work and altered the way we conduct business. Navigating the crisis demanded a radical change in strategy and operational methodologies. Now is the time to consolidate these learnings, and restructure and rebuild strategies to thrive in a complex world.

The focus of this year’s conclave was the transition that all organizations have to address. Whether it is restructuring teams and divisions or strategies to drive customer excellence; or reinventing and rescaling themselves for this new, hybrid, more connected, and more disruptive world of work, there are a lot of strategic decisions ahead.

Key sessions we enjoyed

We were excited to engage with the CXOs at the event and attend the sessions to get clear and in-depth insights into novel tech implementations and avenues to drive better organizational outcomes. 

The Big Shift: Moving from ‘Operational Efficiency’ to ‘Realizing Business Outcomes’

The panel discussion on ITSM, “The Big Shift: Moving from ‘Operational Efficiency’ to ‘Realizing Business Outcomes”, was extremely insightful and thought-provoking. ITSM continues to be on its growth trajectory as a crucial business enabler, especially as enterprises adopt hybrid working.

This session explored how and why IT now needs to focus on reducing the cost of strategic business outcomes by leveraging technology instead of focusing on inwardly optimizing IT costs. 

The importance of ITSM will only grow now as it becomes an organizational enabler by making IT easy. The ITSM focus, however, will be on moving from preventive to predictive support to drive elevated experiences, prevent disruptions, and enhance customer experience. 

The shift from Monitoring to Observability was also brought into focus during the discussion. This shift is predominantly owing to the growing importance of ITSM in the organizational performance narrative. 

It is also because of the growing need to take a preventive stand to improve performance metrics by developing the capacity to predict potential impacts on system dependability. The push toward observability will help IT teams proactively adopt corrective measures to reduce the impact on end-users.

The industry is going to be hyper-focused on driving customer delight and building customer-centric solutions that drive the adoption and advocacy of both internal and external customers. 

That apart, the push toward integrated ticketing tools to popular apps such as WhatsApp, Slack, Instagram, etc. also can no longer be avoided (Omnipresent) .

As businesses look towards the future, identifying and capturing market opportunities and identifying opportunities to deliver lasting customer relationships in the Age of CX were also in focus.

Emerging Business Trends and Technologies Aligning with Them

Fueling business growth in a disruptive world will demand more data-driven approaches and strategies. Identifying avenues to maximize the potential of business outcomes leveraging digital ecosystems will also continue to increase. 

The discussion on Emerging Business Trends and Technologies Aligning with Them brought about intelligent insights on how technologies will help businesses shape their future.  CIOs believe that to realize business outcomes, organizations have to reduce the cost of strategic business outcomes by leveraging technology. New-age technologies such as AI and Machine Learning will drive value realization and will help enterprises capitalize on trends and opportunities.

The velocity of development and the good decisions now require greater agility to leverage market opportunities and drive competitive differentiation. As DevOps becomes a mainstay in the development ecosystem, technologies such as AI and ML, RPA, cloud, and data analytics will also rise in prominence. 

The conversation surrounding technology is incomplete without focusing on cybersecurity. In the face of the hybrid workplace and the consequent blurring of the security perimeters, crossing the cybersecurity chasm assumes paramount importance. As ransomware attacks increase and spurious elements on the web become more sophisticated in their attacks, adopting a comprehensive and multi-pronged security stand becomes inevitable. Adopting methodologies such as DevSecOps are fast emerging as viable strategies to bake security into products and improve the security posture. 

The sessions on cybersecurity were future-focused and explored the different mechanisms and strategies that enterprises need to improve their security stance. The Conclave addressed the need to evolve cybersecurity strategies to build robust detection and response capabilities. Discussions also covered how enterprises could prioritize limited resources to scale their cybersecurity to keep pace with the continuously shifting threat landscape.

Insights from booth conversations

The ET CIO Conclave provides superlative networking opportunities to all attending. This year’s event saw some enthusiastic and interesting networking conversations. 

We met more than 60 CIOs from different industries at our booth and got an opportunity to pick their brains and exchange views and insights.

The growing prominence and rising focus on DevSecOps were one of the key highlights. This concept resonated with all the CXOs from the banking sector who visited our booth.

Most of the participating companies stated that they were existing Atlassian users in some capacity or the other to manage their Deliveries. JIRA emerged as a popular tool used by most companies we spoke to. A majority of people agreed to use JSM-based ITSM implementation as well.

Another interesting insight was the rising need for specialists to spearhead DevOps workloads in the Non-tech / Engineering & Manufacturing sector. This sector is looking to outsource its DevOps workloads to specialists for the robust and timely development of business-critical applications.

Emerging players in ITSM & Cybersecurity space

The event also showcased some of the emerging players in the ITSM and Cybersecurity space. The ones that caught our eye were:

  • Rakuten Sixthsense – An all-in-one software intelligence that delivers observability that extends beyond metrics, logs, and traces. SixthSense is expected to provide end-to-end visibility of the entire IT environment, right from development to business operations, and is delivered using the SaaS model.
  • Gupshup – This is a bot-building platform and can be used by businesses to build, deploy, and publish a bot in minutes. This company helps businesses connect with their customers across 30+ messaging channels including WhatsApp, Instagram, Telegram, Viber, and more.
  • PlanView PPM – Helps organizations improve their project management capabilities and take it to the next level. Organizations can collect, prioritize, and execute projects, using Planview PPM and enable their PMOs to focus resources on the work that delivers the most value.
  • Kyndryl for large Digital Transformations – IBM recently finalized the spin-off of its Managed Infrastructure Services unit into a stand-alone company, Kyndryl. This spin-off increases the proximity between IBM’s customers and product and consulting groups. Kendryl is expected to have six global managed services practices. This includes cloud, digital workplace, security and resiliency, network and edge, core enterprise, and zCloud. 

The lighter moments

The three-day residential event saw more than 100+ CIOs. There were over 25+ sessions, workshops, and showcases. This event gave all attending a chance to interact with top thought leaders, network, and identify potential collaboration partners. However, this event was not all work and no play.

The ET CIO Conclave had its share of fun-filled, light moments. We witnessed the legendary Indian Cricketer, Mohinder Amarnath, share his views on leadership. We experienced a holistic start to the day with an intense and fun-filled yoga session with none other than Mandira Bedi. The event reached its crescendo with a rousing performance from the superlative Indie band, Euphoria, who regaled the audience with their catchy tunes.

 The ET CIO conclave gave us, and all participating, a huge platform to connect, engage, exchange ideas, and develop new strategies relevant to the new world of work. With new insights, we are charged up to identify new opportunities for value creation for our customers and help them on their digital transformation journeys.