Microsoft CXO Summit Review

JohnLast Wednesday, I was fortunate enough to attend the SOLD-OUT Microsoft CXO Summit…from my computer! Thankfully, Microsoft live-streamed the first three hours of the conference, and man, did they pack a lot of great insight into those three hours!

During that time, we heard from seven different speakers about digital transformation and building a digital culture in the workplace. All of the speakers were informative and engaging and I genuinely enjoyed each of the presentations. My top three takeaways were…

  • Companies are reaching out to the “crowd” as innovation partners
  • 86% of CEOs consider digital transformation their top priority
  • Automation is the difference in computing today and computing 30 years ago

All seven speakers had great things to say, although I felt that three of them were particularly relevant to the work that we do with IBS. Below, I’ve listed some key points from those presentations:

The Second Machine Age: Work Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, Andrew McAfee

Did you know that there is a computer who is a better poker player than the world’s best poker players? Machines are beginning to conform to us and are outdoing us at things we created—like poker. Andrew McAfee talked about how the democratization of knowledge and innovation have led to a tech surge in our world.

Much of this has to do with companies slowly bringing in “the crowd as an innovation partner.” McAfee said that in the past, the highest paid person’s opinion (the HiPPO) was more important than everyone else’s. If evidence said differently, you ignored those statistics and went with whatever this HiPPO wanted. McAfee stresses that we can’t afford to do that anymore, and that the workplace is slowly changing to better integrate the opinions of “geeks,” or everyday people, employees who are not high up on the ladder.

Many of these geeks are Millennials and Gen Z, oftentimes entry-level employees, who are quickly making up the majority of the workforce, prioritize things like science, research, and evidence.

These geek leaders are bold, rational, iterative, transparent, and experimental, a very different leadership style from generations past. McAfee encourages HiPPOs and geeks to embrace technological advances and work together to come up with solutions.

 

Accelerating Digital Transformation, Julia White

According to Julia White, we’re in the 4th industrial revolution: digital. 86% of CEOs consider digital transformation their number one priority, as illustrated in this graph:

microsoft 3Technologies such as artificial intelligence, the cloud, and augmented reality offer a unique opportunity to reinvent productivity and business processes, White argues. Any sector can take advantage of these technologies to “engage customers, empower employees, optimize operations, and transform products.”

White especially focused on the cloud and explained how much potential it has to completely transform the way companies across all sectors do business. Not only can the cloud streamline processes and improve productivity, it can be used to develop innovative business applications, store data and intelligence, and manage security.

 

Intelligent Business Process: Harnessing the Power of What You Know and Who You Know to Improve How You Do Business, Frank Holland

Frank Holland’s presentation focused a lot on automation, which he calls the difference between past and present computing. He explains that tech is better geared to perform certain actions and generate certain insights; however, it is up to people to decide what to do with that data. “Computers expose, humans execute,” he says.

Why crunch numbers or attempt at filtering through endless amounts of data when an automated computer system can do it? There is less room for error, and you save tons of time. While a computer does the behind-the-scenes work, you can focus on how to harness that data and turn it into something that benefits you company and your customers.

Holland also spoke about how technology has shifted the way in which we develop relationships with customers, clients, or other businesses. He mentions that the vast majority of today’s sellers use LinkedIn, email, and CRM (customer relationship management) systems—all three of these things utilize technology!

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Conclusion

The main point I got from this webinar is the importance that digital transformation is playing in the workforce. Not only does it help your employees maximize their productivity and better manage business processes, technology plays a large role for your customers/clients. If you don’t begin utilizing technology soon, your company may get left behind.

Fortunately, people like the IBS Solutions Group can help companies build a digital workplace. We have a lot of experience with streamlining business processes, creating intranets and content management systems, and developing cloud-based solutions.

I’m thankful that Microsoft decided to livestream the first part of their annual CXO Summit because the speakers provided a lot of great insight that our Solutions Group can keep in mind as we continue helping our clients achieve digital transformation.

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