This year IDC CXO Directions provided info on coming years biggest IT challenge: Start using AI!

posted Jan 25, 2018, 9:45 AM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Jan 28, 2018, 1:19 PM ]
Bicyles outside IDA conference center at end of dag
Today Safepark attended this years edition of IDC Nordics CXO Directions event at the IDA Conference center in the Copenhagen Harbor area. IDC's chief analyst Frank Gens opened the conference by outlining the coming years most important challenges for IT business leaders. Naturally the focus was on what IDC call the 3rd Platform: cloud, social, mobil, and big data analytics. This year with added 2nd chapter with focus on AI, robotics and 3D printing.

After a day with focus on IT, which naturally use electricity as an energy source, it is refreshing to get ouf from the conference room, and discover, that is still technology, which don't use electricity, such as these bicycles parked outside the conference venue.

In his opening presentation Frank Gens mentioned 5 things, which he thought required focus in 2018: 1) Se the Big picture, i.e the 3rd platform and the DX Economy, 2) From "Cloud Frist" get quickly to "Cloud Mostly", 3) Master the enablers of multiplied innovation, 4) Reinvent enterprise IT: The DX platform, 5) Restructuring of IT and every industry. He ended his presentation with a quote from Bill Joy, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems: "No mater who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else".

IBM Watson analysis of Niels Jensen LinkedIn profile picture
The second speaker was CIO of 2017 in Denmark Torben Kjær from the engineering consultancy conglomerate Rambøll. He explained how the company within a relatively should time shifted from IT development following the waterfall model to agile IT development. In the middle of 2017 the company was completely agile, the last project executed after the old waterfall model went live just before Christmas 2017. During the transition the business strategy and the digital strategy became one, Torben Kjær gave control of daily operation to someone else, and IT moved from being country specific to be global. IT also required the CIO to take an aktive role the business strategy definition, and that you have a solid and efficient IT operations. The mornings third speaker was Peter Sommers from IBM. IBM - in my view - have always been very good at marketing, and I was not disappointed yesterday. IBM had Watson analyze each participants LinkedIn profile picture and also analyze participants public profile on LinkedIn and facebook, and IBM provided each participant with a copy of the results on an A5 size card with the participants name on one side and the results on the other. With the limited input Watson judged me to be 65+ years and with 100% certainty a male - see picture to the left.. In the presentation Peter Sommers also told us, that the did a prototype for Finanstilsynet in which Watson read 200 pages reports form financial institutions in Denmark and scored the compliance with Danish regulations in just 15 seconds. In the past analysts at Finanstilsynet used many hours to fil out the same score card. Now they can used the result provided by Watson to dig down into problem areas directly. Four other use cases were provided.

The morning featured two presentations from very different types of companies. First Adform, which develops enterprise solutions for advertisers and agents and has the challenge of processing many transactions in real time - much like in stock trading, and Nutanix, which sells complete enterprise IT systems in a box including compute power, storage and networking. All you have to do is basically supply the electricity. The final presentation of the morning was by Kenneth Messerschmidt from Top-Toy, who in saw a perfect storm hitting them in the spring of 2015. At the time company IT systems were quite old with dating to the early 1980's and often in-house made. Those systems were replaced with a modern standard ERP system in less than two years to provide a more agile company with more focus on customer experience. For example if a customers comes into a store and looks at a small trampoline, then the store employee can on her iPad show the customer, that they also have larger trampolines, and that these can be ordered either online or in the store, and delivered directly to the customers home.

The afternoon started with presentations from
Veeam, who provide systems to quickly restore operations after a disruptive event, and Celonis, which perform analysis of company processes based on existing data. Weeam creates a backup in Microsoft Azure Cloud or another cloud. They provide a free backup agent for a number of operating system, e.g. windows and several linux distributions among them openSUSE. The third speaker of the afternoon was Mikael Munck, who started as an entreprenør and then became CIO at Saxo Bank, but now is back as an entreprenør at 2021.AI, a company which aim to package leading open source AI software, such as Google's Tensorflow, so these tools become usable by ordinary company employees. The company describe themself as an IT technology provider. However, reallity is, that initially they also need to help companies develop the necessary models.

The CIO of Arla Torben Fabrin closed the day by talking about creating the future diary through agile experimentation and and digital technologies. Their first agile development was development of an app for their farmer owners. Through this app was able to supply their farmer owners information about the milk they delivered just fours hours after the milk was picked up at the farm. This allowed the farmer to quickly adjust feed to impact millk quality. Before the app the information was delivered to the farmer on a piece of paper the next - a 20 hour delay in action. 

Anders Elbak of IDC summarized the day left us with a picture of legacy and heritage IT as represented by the picture on the left. The tmajor take home message from this edition of IDC's CXO Directions is: If you are a CIO who don't use AI within the next years, then you properly would end up as a CIO without a job.
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