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Gartner Says ContinuousNEXT is the Formula for Success through Digital Transformation and Beyond

The formula to achieve success in a world that is constantly changing is to implement a ContinuousNEXT approach, according to Gartner. ContinuousNEXT is the future evolution of concepts Gartner has introduced in recent years that will build momentum through digital transformation and beyond. Analysts Identify Five Imperatives for ContinuousNEXT during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2018.
(Featured Image: Mike Harris at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2018, 4-8 November, Barcelona / Image Credit © Gartner)

The five imperatives for CIOs to implement a ContinuousNEXT strategy include:

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

Mike Harris, executive vice president and global head of Research, explained today to an audience of more than 6,000 CIOs and IT leaders at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo that now is the time for organisations to be more adaptive to change, and these leaders need to bring new practices, develop new capabilities and create new ways to succeed – the ContinuousNEXT approach.

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

“Nearly two-thirds of CEOs and CFOs anticipate business model change, frequently due to digital transformation, and investors are encouraging that change. They reward organisations that wrap every product and service with digital capabilities,” Mr Harris said. “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. 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.”


In an environment that thrives on continuous changes, Gartner’s data scientists have found that the single biggest predictor of success is organisational with dynamism. 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 organisations struggle with dynamism. “The way you adopt technology matters, and dynamism is the critical factor,” Mr Harris said.


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.

However, due to recent security breaches there is rising scepticism 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.

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

Augmented Intelligence

Augmented intelligence is the logical step beyond artificial intelligence (AI). For example, there is a growing public view that AI 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 AI today often let workers keep their jobs, albeit in a new form, even making those jobs more meaningful and rewarding.”


Organisations must have a dynamic culture to enable ContinuousNEXT. However, culture is identified by 46 per cent of CIOs as the largest barrier to realising 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.

“Hack your culture to change your culture,” said Jenny Sussin, managing vice president at Gartner. “By culture hacking, we don’t mean finding a vulnerable point to break in to a system. It’s about finding vulnerable points in your culture and turning them in to real change that sticks. Hacking is about doing smaller actions that usually get overlooked. Great hacks also trigger emotional responses, have immediate results, and are visible to lots of people at once.”

Ms Sussin said many CIOs are spending 70 per cent of their time in meetings and doing email. They can free up time by cancelling status meetings and replacing them with brief, written updates. Leaders are shifting decision-making authority, so others can take action. She said CIOs should let the person with the “great idea” become the CEO of their idea.

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.

“Digital product management isn’t just a different way of doing IT. It’s a different way of doing business,” Andy Kyte, research vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “Today’s most powerful companies have fused digital technology into products to create a new management practice. For example, nobody asks Amazon whether it’s a retailer or a tech company anymore. It wins by being both. Tesla is a tech company in the automobile industry; Apple is a tech company that now in the health industry. Digital technology and product innovation are becoming indivisible in all industries.”

Mr Kyte said product managers will apply design thinking and agile methodologies to shape user experiences. Analytics and continuous intelligence fuel the constant evolution of products, and continuous DevOps delivers weekly or sometimes even daily product updates. “That’s why digital product management supersedes IT project management,” Mr Kyte said.

Digital Twin

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

Daryl Plummer, research vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, told the audience of CIOs that they could create a digital twin of their organisation, what Gartner calls a DTO. With DTOs, CIOs can virtually see how people work, the systems and processes they touch and how work moves from department to department in their organisations. It’s like taking the roof off of their work location and looking inside.

“In a DTO, you start with a real world environment with real people and machines doing work together,” Mr Plummer said. “This generates continuous intelligence about what is happening in real-time. It allows CIOs to model different scenarios, choose one, and then make it real in the physical world.”

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