Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2020



CIOs and Tech executives from all over Europe joined the Gartner IT Symposium virtually over four days to learn about the latest trends and share insights on creating composable business -addressing the need to be agile and flexible and at the same time resilient.

Gartner’s IT Symposium/Xpo, an annual conference traditionally held in Barcelona, this year transformed into a 100% digital event, due to the pandemic. With the traditional structure of 200 sessions, the main tracks were Business Strategy, Technology & Innovation, and Leadership. Topics addressed spanning Innovation & Emerging Tech, Customer Experience, Privacy & Ethics, Cybersecurity and Operational Excellence.
Three of the most interesting topics Composable Business, Strategic trends and predictions and Insurance are highlighted below.


Several sessions at the Gartner IT Symposium were dedicated to and focused on the Insurance Industry.

As a starting point, the focal point of the insurance industry is, like for many other industries, that 2020 has been the year of pandemics and disruption. The long-term implications for the insurance industry are difficult to fully grasp, but the examples below highlight some major changes that we can expect and prepare for.

  • In the coming years, four critical success factors were identified:
  • Consumer digital dexterity demands new customer experience and product focus
  • Intelligence as competitive advantage
  • Hyperautomation will be fundamental
  • Targeted innovation tied to business outcomes

Despite the turmoil of Covid-19, only 25% of the insurance companies expect decreasing investments. Another 37% see that some investments are being delayed. For most, the investment scenario for IT 2020 has become more conservative with the focus on cost-cutting and ‘safe innovation’ offering compelling ROIs and concrete business outcomes.

Another session addressed the potential of technology in Insurance, introducing the concept of REAP (Resilience, Efficiency, Agility & Productivity) – to show how the industry can better obtain the rewards of technology. In this model, three critical elements of technology are identified and highlighted: Hyperautomation, Cloud, and Ecosystem Integration.

Another important Insurance area addressed was Customer Expectations with valuable insights on customer Multi-channel and Omni-channel experiences. A Gartner survey showed that customers are surprisingly mature when it comes to multi-channel, with 52% of consumers having interacted with insurance companies using a combination of people and technology.

In times of Covid-19, insurers have accelerated digital self-service initiatives to better serve customers with limited availability to face-to-face support at local branch offices. Given this background, it is interesting to note that digital should not be considered as the only option. The same customer survey showed that customers who opted for all-digital interaction were also less likely to take a ‘revenue positive’ action compared to customers using other channels.

Omni-channel capabilities means integration of channels to enable seamless interactions and transactions for customers in a single or cross-channels.

  • This is an area where most Insurance companies are still rather immature.
  • 10% have ‘high’ sophistication in their multichannel sales and service channel strategy. Channels are highly integrated and provide a seamless customer experience.
  • 48% have a ‘moderate’ sophistication in their multichannel sales and service channel strategy. Some integration but still friction and clients cannot seamlessly switch between them.
  • 42% have ‘low’ sophistication in their multichannel sales and service channel strategy. Channels are not integrated.

Strategic trends and predictions

One of the event’s most appreciated topics is when Gartner looks into the crystal ball and identifies trends with long-term potential to radically change society and business. The top ten predictions were as follows:


There is a risk that the development of traditional computing is coming to en end – hitting the Wall.

  • Moore’s law continues to lose energy
  • Chip density is squeezed beyond tolerance
  • Power and battery life are being drained
  • Too much data – not enough space or time

This means that we will soon be in need for new, non-traditional computing technologies. One of these is DNA Storage with the promise of being able to store massive amounts of data using biological DNA. In experiments, scientists have been able to successfully store a movie by embedding the video data in biological DNA.

  • Hyberautomation and robotization will continue to dramatically progress. Gartner estimates that by the year 2025, customers will be the first humans to touch more than 20% of the products and produce of the world.
  • Being able to listen and respond to the Voice of society is growing in importance. This is driven by topics like climate change, equality and black lives matter. Gartner expects that more product brands and messages will be changed or dropped in 2021, compared to the last five years. To address this, 30% of major organizations will by 2024 have implemented new Voice of society metrics to act on social issues and assess the impacts to their business performance.


Composable Business

For the past few years, digital transformation has been top of mind for most IT executives, driven by new technology and changing customer behavior and expectations. Key to this is a company’s ability to respond to changing market conditions and customer needs. Digital disruption has dramatically accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic, with transformation happening over the last six months that is simply unprecedented.

  • Gartner summarizes that Composable Business allows for quick action in moments of composability:
  • Designing for resilience and accepting that disruptive change is the norm.
  • Supporting a business that exploits disruption by making things modular.
  • Mixing and matching business functions to orchestrate the proper outcomes.
  • Supporting a business that discovers when change needs to happen.
  • Using autonomous business units to creatively respond.

The concept of ‘Composable business’ is built on elements of Modularity, Autonomy, Orchestration & Discovery. The three cornerstones are Composable Business Architecture, Composable Technologies and Composable Thinking. Gartner means that applying this methodology makes companies better equipped to successfully transform from a more traditional business mindset to a broad range of corporate aspects spanning from strategy, technology and operations.

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