I attended the Gartner Symposium and IT Expo in Orlando last week. We did a daily summary of the event (links posted below) and I think I captured what stood out for me. We also managed to catch a number of Canadian CIOs and ask them what had caught their attention.

For those who’ve missed our daily coverage, you can find the day by day coverage here:

Day one was all about the big questions. Where are we going with technology?

Day two focused on the idea of technical versus business views or as one speaker put it so well, “machinists” versus “digital humanists”.

Day three continued the digital humanist theme and featured two keynotes – Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft Corp. started the day and we finished with the inventor of the Apple II – Steve Wozniak.

Day four of the Gartner Symposium and IT Expo ended with a challenge to all of us. Peter Thiel, a noted venture capitalist gave us a director and investor’s view of technology. He got rounds of applause for his frankness and contrary views.

He also clearly brought it all into focus on the message of the day. CIOs will face a lot of challenges. But to be leaders in this digital revolution we are going to have to have what Gartner calls the “bi-modal” approach. One one hand, we have to run mission critical systems are rock solid. On the other hand, we have to focus on the human interaction and user experience, become innovators and lead the digital revolution.

It’s a tall order but I left inspired and so did many of my colleagues.

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