What is TechQuilibrium?
This year at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, Gartner introduced the concept of TechQuilibrium.
TechQuilibrium (a portmanteau of technology and equilibrium) is a balance between tradition and transformation. Each organization has its own techquilibrium depending on its industry, geography, target demographics, history, business goals, etc.
“TechQuilibrium can help create balance between the complex disruptions and many extremes that organizations are facing today,” explained Valentin Sribar, senior research vice president at Gartner.
“CIOs should partner with their executive teams to design a value proposition that drives the right mix of traditional and digital business. When you reach this balance point, you have reached your TechQuilibrium. Individual enterprises and whole industries will have different points of TechQuilibrium: not every industry needs to be digital in the same way or to the same extent.”
For example, the techquilibrium of an apparel producer differs from the techquilibrium of a financial services provider —two very different markets that absorb digital transformation differently. And, just as techquilibrium differs between organizations, so too can it differ between departments within an organization.
A Shifting TechQuilibrium
An organization’s techquilibrium shifts over time, driven by changes in geopolitics (regulations), economics (recessions), and the influence of digital giants (industry direction). As a result, organizations must frequently pivot towards either transformation or tradition as business needs and requirements shift.
In order to navigate these disruptive turns, organizations have to achieve the paradoxical: organizations have to be both traditional and transformational.
“We call these ‘And’ dilemmas,” said Sribar. “And dilemmas feel like two opposing forces, like braking and accelerating at the same time while taking a turn. Or cutting costs and investing for growth and innovation. Here’s the rub: you often have to do both.”
During the keynote address, attendees heard a case study about Royal Dutch Shell. When the 2008 recession hit, Shell pivoted its long-term growth strategy by cutting oil exploration costs and investing in power utilities and electric charging stations.
And Dilemmas / And Opportunities
Many of the sessions and keynote addresses throughout Gartner’s symposium reflected the decisions, strategies, and trends being shaped by a variety of ANDs. These and dilemmas keep CIOs awake at night but, more importantly, these dilemmas need to be understood as And Opportunities.
Some of the opportunities discussed at the symposium included:
- Cloud AND on-prem
- New customers AND existing customers
- Democratization AND centralization
- Shared services AND business choices
- Risk AND security
- And more…
Achieving techquilibrium —for any AND statement— is a continual challenge. The world is rapidly changing and so organizations must continually adjust their techquilibrium in order to meet evolving market demands and business requirements.
Take shared services, for example. When the economy is doing well, organizations give their business units more room to license technology solutions. Then, during economic slow-downs, organizations cut costs by replacing redundant solutions across the business with shared services managed by IT.
Or, when new regulations are passed (for example around data privacy or security) organizations move business units into shared services in order to ensure enterprise-wide compliance. Then, as headwinds calm, the organization again shifts its techquilibrium in order to democratize analytics, data, automation capabilities, and more.
So what is a good starting point for an organization interested in finding its techquilibrium?
The first step is to implement an IT automation solution that makes it simple for IT to pass data and dependencies between disparate technologies. This enables IT to orchestrate and manage its automated environments from a single location, a sort of steering wheel that provides IT with the maneuverability and control needed to navigate techquilibrium and the “turns”.