I was the oddball millennial at the recent Gartner IT Financial, Procurement & Asset Management Summit in Grapevine, Texas.
As one of the few millennials at the conference, I was impressed by the analyst insight, dismayed by the lack of social media buzz, but most of all disappointed at the “I’ve always done it that way” attitude of many of the attendees.
As I listened, one thing that really stuck out to me (and since I can’t stop thinking about it… I, of course, blog about it like every other millennial) is that many of the attendees have been doing things the same exact way since they started their jobs. Many people there were veterans in their roles (as I learned from a hand raising ice breaker), and have been doing the same exact thing, following the same exact process, and getting the same exact results since they started working.
Let’s just let that sink in for a minute. Most of these people have been doing things the same exact way the same amount of time that I have been breathing on this planet.
The speakers tried to get attendees to realize (and truly believe) that innovation lies with them. I kept hearing “lean into disruptive forces” and “stop following the same script you’ve been following for the last 25 years.” And yes, every time I heard that, I cringed. Where was their passion to make a difference?
If you continue to do things the same way, without any innovation, you will fall behind. It’s not a question of if; it’s a question of when. By 2027, it is estimated that 75% of the S&P 500 companies will be replaced (according to Innosight).
My biggest takeaway from the summit was that companies should take the leap towards innovation because what do you have to lose? Your company lifespan is shrinking anyways.
Innovation at a company starts with the employees, especially employees whose job is to bring technology into the company – which was the role of many of the Summit attendees. Technology is a powerful tool that has the potential to give you a leg up on your competition.
This doesn’t mean to say “screw it” and invest in any technology that’s out there. You still need to do your research and put protections in place in case something goes wrong with your technology investment – such as the vendor going out of business or changing their support model
According to EY, the technology sector is the busiest M&A sector this year. What is your plan if your developer is acquired and leaves you out in the cold?
This all came into focus for me when Gayla Sullivan, managing vice president at Gartner and the conference’s co-chair, asked the entire room if they had a vendor risk management process in place. I turned my head, expecting to see every hand in the room up…. I saw less than five. LESS THAN FIVE. I almost fell out of my chair.
Less than five people in the room have proper vendor risk management processes.
Ugh. From what I was hearing, many people just assume their vendor has them covered in something were to happen. They aren’t realizing that at the end of the day, if the vendor closes their doors, their disaster recovery plan is going right out the door too. Where does that leave you?
You can’t do the same things day in and out and expect different results. Take risks, but don’t take them alone. Make technology escrow a part of your risk management process; it reduces the risk of acquiring technology so you can focus on what truly matters, and start to become an agent of change for your organization.