Universal Orlando Resort Extending Two Epic Offers to Florida Residents This Fall

Florida Residents can Buy a Day and Get a Second Day FREE or save up to $75 on Florida Resident Passes

Florida Residents can Buy a Day and Get a Second Day FREE or save up to $75 on Florida Resident Passes

ORLANDO, Fla. (October 1, 2019) – Florida residents can now make the most of their holiday season and beyond at Universal Orlando Resort with two epic offers.

Buy a Day, Get a 2nd Day Free

Available immediately, Florida residents can purchase a 1-Day, Park-to-Park ticket to experience Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure – TripAdvisor Travelers’ #1 Amusement Park in the World five years in a row – and get a second day completely FREE to use anytime now through January 31, 2020 with limited blockout dates.

In addition to enjoying all attractions across both parks, with a Park-to-Park ticket guests can pass through Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross station to board the iconic Hogwarts Express to travel between The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. And, Florida residents can fly aboard enchanted motorbikes through the Forbidden Forest on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, the epic new addition to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade and the most highly-themed, immersive coaster experience yet.

For only $25 more, Florida residents can add a third day at Universal’s Volcano Bay water theme park – a South Seas oasis and beach paradise where they can take in spectacular views of a 200-foot volcano while relaxing on the sands of Waturi Beach, brave a 125-foot drop on Ko’okiri Body Plunge, wind along a gentle river on Kopiko Wai Winding River and so much more.

Save up to $75 on Florida Resident Passes

Florida residents can also save up to $75 on Florida Resident Passes when purchasing now through January 6, 2020. Florida Resident Passes begin at less than $13 per month and include a variety of 2-Park and 3-Park pass options. Becoming a Passholder means an entire year to enjoy some of the world’s most exciting and immersive theme park experiences, including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Jurassic Park River Adventure, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D, Revenge of the Mummy and more.

Residents and Passholders can also attend unforgettable seasonal events like the destination-wide Holidays celebration, running daily November 16 through January 5, where they can celebrate Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and join their favorite characters from Despicable Me and Shrek in the Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s. They will also be able to experience the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, a live retelling of the classic tale starring the Grinch, and more.

Staying in one of Universal Orlando’s hotels will add even more fun with exclusive theme park benefits like Early Park Admission and complimentary transportation across the destination. And with a hotel for every style and budget, Florida residents can take advantage of exclusive hotel rates beginning at $84 per night, plus tax at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Universal’s Aventura Hotel for stays now through December 25, 2019.

For more information or to take advantage of these offers, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com.

Let’s Talk About Mental Health – by Fb.com

By Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety

Social media is where people can turn to celebrate life’s most joyful moments and seek support in some of the hardest. While an online community can provide invaluable support, we know that many find it uncomfortable to share personal feelings in a broad public setting.

Private messaging, on the other hand, can make it easier to talk about emotional or serious subjects, according to a survey Facebook conducted in the UK, US and Australia. Respondents said they could communicate more clearly and be more open when messaging versus in person. In fact, 80% of people surveyed said they felt they could be completely honest when messaging.

In honor of World Mental Health Day, and to help people have important conversations around mental health, we’re releasing a “Let’s Talk” Stories filter on Facebook and Messenger. Developed with input from the World Health Organization (WHO), the filter acts as an invitation for friends who might be struggling to reach out for support through Messenger.

Let's Talk Product Screenshots

We’re also releasing a “Let’s Talk” sticker pack on Messenger with 16 stickers that can help when words are hard to find. Each time a sticker is sent, Facebook will donate $1 to a group of mental health organizations, up to $1 million USD. It’s our hope that these tools will make it easier for people to begin conversations that can lead to support.

Let's Talk Sticker Pack

It takes less than a minute to show someone you care. This year for World Mental Health Day, the World Health Organization is encouraging people to take 40 seconds of action to let people who are struggling know they’re not alone. Sharing your “Let’s Talk” selfie is an easy way to do that. To use the World Mental Health Day “Let’s Talk” camera filter, open the camera in Facebook or Messenger and tap on the filter on the bottom of your screen. You can also download the sticker pack by clicking on the smiley face in the text box of any Messenger conversation.

Showing you’re available to help a friend is the first step, but what should you do next? According to mental health experts, it’s important to show that you care and are really listening. Express your concern, allow them to open up and help them find resources. Facebook offers some resources through our safety and well-being center. You can also find support there for yourself if you are struggling. Facebook Groups can be another place to go to find supportive connections. More than 2.5 million people in the US, UK and Australia are members of at least one of the 7,000 groups dedicated to supporting people with mental health. 

We encourage people to look for more resources from local, state, federal or international organizations. A list of organizations Facebook is donating to can be found below. 

Helping to Protect the 2020 US Elections – From FB.com

By Guy Rosen, VP of Integrity; Katie Harbath, Public Policy Director, Global Elections; Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy and Rob Leathern, Director of Product Management

We have a responsibility to stop abuse and election interference on our platform. That’s why we’ve made significant investments since 2016 to better identify new threats, close vulnerabilities and reduce the spread of viral misinformation and fake accounts. 

Today, almost a year out from the 2020 elections in the US, we’re announcing several new measures to help protect the democratic process and providing an update on initiatives already underway:

Fighting foreign interference

  • Combating inauthentic behavior, including an updated policy
  • Protecting the accounts of candidates, elected officials, their teams and others through Facebook Protect 

Increasing transparency

  • Making Pages more transparent, including showing the confirmed owner of a Page
  • Labeling state-controlled media on their Page and in our Ad Library
  • Making it easier to understand political ads, including a new US presidential candidate spend tracker

Reducing misinformation

  • Preventing the spread of misinformation, including clearer fact-checking labels 
  • Fighting voter suppression and interference, including banning paid ads that suggest voting is useless or advise people not to vote
  • Helping people better understand the information they see online, including an initial investment of $2 million to support media literacy projects

Fighting Foreign Interference

Combating Inauthentic Behavior

Over the last three years, we’ve worked to identify new and emerging threats and remove coordinated inauthentic behavior across our apps. In the past year alone, we’ve taken down over 50 networks worldwide, many ahead of major democratic elections. As part of our effort to counter foreign influence campaigns, this morning we removed four separate networks of accounts, Pages and Groups on Facebook and Instagram for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior. Three of them originated in Iran and one in Russia. They targeted the US, North Africa and Latin America. We have identified these manipulation campaigns as part of our internal investigations into suspected Iran-linked inauthentic behavior, as well as ongoing proactive work ahead of the US elections.

We took down these networks based on their behavior, not the content they posted. In each case, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action. We have shared our findings with law enforcement and industry partners. More details can be found here.

As we’ve improved our ability to disrupt these operations, we’ve also built a deeper understanding of different threats and how best to counter them. We investigate and enforce against any type of inauthentic behavior. However, the most appropriate way to respond to someone boosting the popularity of their posts in their own country may not be the best way to counter foreign interference. That’s why we’re updating our inauthentic behavior policy to clarify how we deal with the range of deceptive practices we see on our platforms, whether foreign or domestic, state or non-state.

Protecting the Accounts of Candidates, Elected Officials and Their Teams

Today, we’re launching Facebook Protect to further secure the accounts of elected officials, candidates, their staff and others who may be particularly vulnerable to targeting by hackers and foreign adversaries. As we’ve seen in past elections, they can be targets of malicious activity. However, because campaigns are generally run for a short period of time, we don’t always know who these campaign-affiliated people are, making it harder to help protect them.

Beginning today, Page admins can enroll their organization’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in Facebook Protect and invite members of their organization to participate in the program as well. Participants will be required to turn on two-factor authentication, and their accounts will be monitored for hacking, such as login attempts from unusual locations or unverified devices. And, if we discover an attack against one account, we can review and protect other accounts affiliated with that same organization that are enrolled in our program. Read more about Facebook Protect and enroll here.

Increasing Transparency

Making Pages More Transparent

We want to make sure people are using Facebook authentically, and that they understand who is speaking to them. Over the past year, we’ve taken steps to ensure Pages are authentic and more transparent by showing people the Page’s primary country location and whether the Page has merged with other Pages. This gives people more context on the Page and makes it easier to understand who’s behind it. 

Increasingly, we’ve seen people failing to disclose the organization behind their Page as a way to make people think that a Page is run independently. To address this, we’re adding more information about who is behind a Page, including a new “Organizations That Manage This Page” tab that will feature the Page’s “Confirmed Page Owner,” including the organization’s legal name and verified city, phone number or website.

Initially, this information will only appear on Pages with large US audiences that have gone through Facebook’s business verification. In addition, Pages that have gone through the new authorization process to run ads about social issues, elections or politics in the US will also have this tab. And starting in January, these advertisers will be required to show their Confirmed Page Owner. 

If we find a Page is concealing its ownership in order to mislead people, we will require it to successfully complete the verification process and show more information in order for the Page to stay up. 

Labeling State-Controlled Media

We want to help people better understand the sources of news content they see on Facebook so they can make informed decisions about what they’re reading. Next month, we’ll begin labeling media outlets that are wholly or partially under the editorial control of their government as state-controlled media. This label will be on both their Page and in our Ad Library. 

We will hold these Pages to a higher standard of transparency because they combine the opinion-making influence of a media organization with the strategic backing of a state. 

We developed our own definition and standards for state-controlled media organizations with input from more than 40 experts around the world specializing in media, governance, human rights and development. Those consulted represent leading academic institutions, nonprofits and international organizations in this field, including Reporters Without Borders, Center for International Media Assistance, European Journalism Center, Oxford Internet Institute‘s Project on Computational Propaganda, Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS) at the Central European University, the Council of Europe, UNESCO and others. 

It’s important to note that our policy draws an intentional distinction between state-controlled media and public media, which we define as any entity that is publicly financed, retains a public service mission and can demonstrate its independent editorial control. At this time, we’re focusing our labeling efforts only on state-controlled media. 

We will update the list of state-controlled media on a rolling basis beginning in November. And, in early 2020, we plan to expand our labeling to specific posts and apply these labels on Instagram as well. For any organization that believes we have applied the label in error, there will be an appeals process. 

Making it Easier to Understand Political Ads

In addition to making Pages more transparent, we’re updating the Ad Library, Ad Library Report and Ad Library API to help journalists, lawmakers, researchers and others learn more about the ads they see. This includes:

  • A new US presidential candidate spend tracker, so that people can see how much candidates have spent on ads
  • Adding additional spend details at the state or regional level to help people analyze advertiser and candidate efforts to reach voters geographically
  • Making it clear if an ad ran on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger or Audience Network
  • Adding useful API filters, providing programmatic access to download ad creatives and a repository of frequently used API scripts.

In addition to updates to the Ad Library API, in November, we will begin testing a new database with researchers that will enable them to quickly download the entire Ad Library, pull daily snapshots and track day-to-day changes.

Visit our Help Center to learn more about the changes to Pages and the Ad Library

Reducing Misinformation

Preventing the Spread of Viral Misinformation

On Facebook and Instagram, we work to keep confirmed misinformation from spreading. For example, we reduce its distribution so fewer people see it — on Instagram, we remove it from Explore and hashtags, and on Facebook, we reduce its distribution in News Feed. On Instagram, we also make content from accounts that repeatedly post misinformation harder to find by filtering content from that account from Explore and hashtag pages for example. And on Facebook, if Pages, domains or Groups repeatedly share misinformation, we’ll continue to reduce their overall distribution and we’ll place restrictions on the Page’s ability to advertise and monetize.

Over the next month, content across Facebook and Instagram that has been rated false or partly false by a third-party fact-checker will start to be more prominently labeled so that people can better decide for themselves what to read, trust and share. The labels below will be shown on top of false and partly false photos and videos, including on top of Stories content on Instagram, and will link out to the assessment from the fact-checker.

Much like we do on Facebook when people try to share known misinformation, we’re also introducing a new pop-up that will appear when people attempt to share posts on Instagram that include content that has been debunked by third-party fact-checkers.

In addition to clearer labels, we’re also working to take faster action to prevent misinformation from going viral, especially given that quality reporting and fact-checking takes time. In many countries, including in the US, if we have signals that a piece of content is false, we temporarily reduce its distribution pending review by a third-party fact-checker.

Fighting Voter Suppression and Intimidation

Attempts to interfere with or suppress voting undermine our core values as a company, and we work proactively to remove this type of harmful content. Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, we extended our voter suppression and intimidation policies to prohibit:

  • Misrepresentation of the dates, locations, times and methods for voting or voter registration (e.g. “Vote by text!”);
  • Misrepresentation of who can vote, qualifications for voting, whether a vote will be counted and what information and/or materials must be provided in order to vote (e.g. “If you voted in the primary, your vote in the general election won’t count.”); and 
  • Threats of violence relating to voting, voter registration or the outcome of an election.

We remove this type of content regardless of who it’s coming from, and ahead of the midterm elections, our Elections Operations Center removed more than 45,000 pieces of content that violated these policies — more than 90% of which our systems detected before anyone reported the content to us. 

We also recognize that there are certain types of content, such as hate speech, that are equally likely to suppress voting. That’s why our hate speech policies ban efforts to exclude people from political participation on the basis of things like race, ethnicity or religion (e.g., telling people not to vote for a candidate because of the candidate’s race, or indicating that people of a certain religion should not be allowed to hold office).

In advance of the US 2020 elections, we’re implementing additional policies and expanding our technical capabilities on Facebook and Instagram to protect the integrity of the election. Following up on a commitment we made in the civil rights audit report released in June, we have now implemented our policy banning paid advertising that suggests voting is useless or meaningless, or advises people not to vote. 

In addition, our systems are now more effective at proactively detecting and removing this harmful content. We use machine learning to help us quickly identify potentially incorrect voting information and remove it. 

We are also continuing to expand and develop our partnerships to provide expertise on trends in voter suppression and intimidation, as well as early detection of violating content. This includes working directly with secretaries of state and election directors to address localized voter suppression that may only be occurring in a single state or district. This work will be supported by our Elections Operations Center during both the primary and general elections. 

Helping People Better Understand What They See Online

Part of our work to stop the spread of misinformation is helping people spot it for themselves. That’s why we partner with organizations and experts in media literacy. 

Today, we’re announcing an initial investment of $2 million to support projects that empower people to determine what to read and share — both on Facebook and elsewhere. 

These projects range from training programs to help ensure the largest Instagram accounts have the resources they need to reduce the spread of misinformation, to expanding a pilot program that brings together senior citizens and high school students to learn about online safety and media literacy, to public events in local venues like bookstores, community centers and libraries in cities across the country. We’re also supporting a series of training events focused on critical thinking among first-time voters. 

In addition, we’re including a new series of media literacy lessons in our Digital Literacy Library. These lessons are drawn from the Youth and Media team at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, which has made them available for free worldwide under a Creative Commons license. The lessons, created for middle and high school educators, are designed to be interactive and cover topics ranging from assessing the quality of the information online to more technical skills like reverse image search.

We’ll continue to develop our media literacy efforts in the US and we’ll have more to share soon. 

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AOC asked Mark Zuckerberg if she can run fake Facebook ads and at one point Mark seem like he did not know what to answer!

Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020

Analysts Explore Top Industry Trends at Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2019, October 20-24 in Orlando

Gartner, Inc. today highlighted the top strategic technology trends that organizations need to explore in 2020. Analysts presented their findings during Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo, which is taking place here through Thursday.

Gartner defines a strategic technology trend as one with substantial disruptive potential that is beginning to break out of an emerging state into broader impact and use, or which is rapidly growing with a high degree of volatility reaching tipping points over the next five years.

“People-centric smart spaces are the structure used to organize and evaluate the primary impact of the Gartner top strategic technology trends for 2020,” said David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow. “Putting people at the center of your technology strategy highlights one of the most important aspects of technology — how it impacts customers, employees, business partners, society or other key constituencies. Arguably all actions of the organization can be attributed to how it impacts these individuals and groups either directly or indirectly. This is a people-centric approach.”

“Smart spaces build on the people-centric notion. A smart space is a physical environment in which people and technology-enabled systems interact in increasingly open, connected, coordinated and intelligent ecosystems. Multiple elements — including people, processes, services and things — come together in a smart space to create a more immersive, interactive and automated experience,” said Mr. Cearley.

The top 10 strategic technology trends for 2020 are:

Hyperautomation

Hyperautomation is the combination of multiple machine learning (ML), packaged software and automation tools to deliver work. Hyperautomation refers not only to the breadth of the pallet of tools, but also to all the steps of automation itself (discover, analyze, design, automate, measure, monitor and reassess). Understanding the range of automation mechanisms, how they relate to one another and how they can be combined and coordinated is a major focus for hyperautomation.

This trend was kicked off with robotic process automation (RPA). However, RPA alone is not hyperautomation. Hyperautomation requires a combination of tools to help support replicating pieces of where the human is involved in a task. 

Multiexperience 

Through 2028, the user experience will undergo a significant shift in how users perceive the digital world and how they interact with it. Conversational platforms are changing the way in which people interact with the digital world. Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) are changing the way in which people perceive the digital world. This combined shift in both perception and interaction models leads to the future multisensory and multimodal experience.

“The model will shift from one of technology-literate people to one of people-literate technology. The burden of translating intent will move from the user to the computer,” said Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner. . “This ability to communicate with users across many human senses will provide a richer environment for delivering nuanced information.”

Democratization of Expertise

Democratization is focused on providing people with access to technical expertise (for example, ML, application development) or business domain expertise (for example, sales process, economic analysis) via a radically simplified experience and without requiring extensive and costly training. “Citizen access” (for example, citizen data scientists, citizen integrators), as well as the evolution of citizen development and no-code models, are examples of democratization.  

Through 2023, Gartner expects four key aspects of the democratization trend to accelerate, including democratization of data and analytics (tools targeting data scientists expanding to target the professional developer community), democratization of development (AI tools to leverage in custom-developed applications), democratization of design (expanding on the low-code, no-code phenomena with automation of additional application development functions to empower the citizen-developer) and democratization of knowledge (non-IT professionals gaining access to tools and expert systems that empower them to exploit and apply specialized skills beyond their own expertise and training).

Human Augmentation 

Human augmentation explores how technology can be used to deliver cognitive and physical improvements as an integral part of the human experience. Physical augmentation enhances humans by changing their inherent physical capabilities by implanting or hosting a technology element on their bodies, such as a wearable device. Cognitive augmentation can occur through accessing information and exploiting applications on traditional computer systems and the emerging multiexperience interface in smart spaces. Over the next 10 years increasing levels of physical and cognitive human augmentation will become prevalent as individuals seek personal enhancements. This will create a new “consumerization” effect where employees seek to exploit their personal enhancements — and even extend them — to improve their office environment.

Transparency and Traceability

Consumers are increasingly aware that their personal information is valuable and are demanding control. Organizations recognize the increasing risk of securing and managing personal data, and governments are implementing strict legislation to ensure they do. Transparency and traceability are critical elements to support these digital ethics and privacy needs.

Transparency and traceability refer to a range of attitudes, actions and supporting technologies and practices designed to address regulatory requirements, preserve an ethical approach to use of artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced technologies, and repair the growing lack of trust in companies. As organizations build out transparency and trust practices, they must focus on three areas: (1) AI and ML; (2) personal data privacy, ownership and control; and (3) ethically aligned design.

The Empowered Edge 

Edge computing is a computing topology in which information processing and content collection and delivery are placed closer to the sources, repositories and consumers of this information. It tries to keep the traffic and processing local to reduce latency, exploit the capabilities of the edge and enable greater autonomy at the edge.

“Much of the current focus on edge computing comes from the need for IoT systems to deliver disconnected or distributed capabilities into the embedded IoT world for specific industries such as manufacturing or retail,” said Mr. Burke. “However, edge computing will become a dominant factor across virtually all industries and use cases as the edge is empowered with increasingly more sophisticated and specialized compute resources and more data storage. Complex edge devices, including robots, drones, autonomous vehicles and operational systems will accelerate this shift.”  

Distributed Cloud

A distributed cloud is the distribution of public cloud services to different locations while the originating public cloud provider assumes responsibility for the operation, governance, updates to and evolution of the services. This represents a significant shift from the centralized model of most public cloud services and will lead to a new era in  cloud computing

Autonomous Things

Autonomous things are physical devices that use AI to automate functions previously performed by humans. The most recognizable forms of autonomous things are robots, drones, autonomous vehicles/ships and appliances. Their automation goes beyond the automation provided by rigid programing models, and they exploit AI to deliver advanced behaviors that interact more naturally with their surroundings and with people. As the technology capability improves, regulation permits and social acceptance grows, autonomous things will increasingly be deployed in uncontrolled public spaces.

“As autonomous things proliferate, we expect a shift from stand-alone intelligent things to a swarm of collaborative intelligent things where multiple devices will work together, either independently of people or with human input,” said Mr. Burke. “For example, heterogeneous robots can operate in a coordinated assembly process. In the delivery market, the most effective solution may be to use an autonomous vehicle to move packages to the target area. Robots and drones aboard the vehicle could then affect final delivery of the package.”

Practical Blockchain

Blockchain has the potential to reshape industries by enabling trust, providing transparency and enabling value exchange across business ecosystems, potentially lowering costs, reducing transaction settlement times and improving cash flow. Assets can be traced to their origin, significantly reducing the opportunities for substitutions with counterfeit goods. Asset tracking also has value in other areas, such as tracing food across a supply chain to more easily identify the origin of contamination or track individual parts to assist in product recalls. Another area in which blockchain has potential is identity management. Smart contracts can be programmed into the blockchain where events can trigger actions; for example, payment is released when goods are received.

Blockchain remains immature for enterprise deployments due to a range of technical issues including poor scalability and interoperability. Despite these challenges, the significant potential for disruption and revenue generation means organizations should begin evaluating blockchain, even if they don’t anticipate aggressive adoption of the technologies in the near term,” said Mr. Burke.

AI Security

AI and ML will continue to be applied to augment human decision making across a broad set of use cases. While this creates great opportunities to enable hyperautomation and leverage autonomous things to deliver business transformation, it creates significant new challenges for the security team and risk leaders with a massive increase in potential points of attack with IoT, cloud computing, microservices and highly connected systems in smart spaces. Security and risk leaders should focus on three key areas — protecting AI-powered systems, leveraging AI to enhance security defense, and anticipating nefarious use of AI by attackers.  

Gartner clients can read more in the Gartner Special Report “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020.”

About Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo

Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo is the world’s most important gathering of CIOs and senior IT executives, uniting a global community of CIOs with the tools and strategies to help them lead the next generation of IT and achieve business outcomes. More than 20,000 CIOs, senior business and IT executives worldwide will gather for the insights they need to ensure that their IT initiatives are key contributors to, and drivers of, their organization’s success.

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Gartner Survey of More Than 1,000 CIOs Shows That “Fit” Enterprises Will Win When Business Conditions Turn

Gartner Survey of More Than 1,000 CIOs Shows That Fit Enterprises Will Win When Business Conditions Turn

Analysts Explore the Gartner 2020 CIO Agenda at Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2019,

October 2024 in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla., October 22, 2019 — The march to digitalization is so commonplace today that 40% of global CIOs have reached scale for their digital endeavors, more than doubling the proportion of enterprises from 2018, according to Gartner Inc.’s annual global survey of CIOs. The next challenge CIOs face in the coming two to three years is looming disruptions, such as an economic recession or data breach, which will force them to take action if they wish to emerge stronger on the other side of a “turn.”

In the past four years, 90% of enterprises have experienced a turn that upset normal operations, such as severe operating cost pressures, political upheavals, leadership turnover, adverse regulatory interventions and so on. Only a quarter of enterprises are fit enough to come out ahead of the turn, according to Gartner. As such, the survey showed that the CIO role will remain critical in leading their enterprises through crises and transformations.

“You can’t read much about business today without coming across the word ‘disruption,’ especially market, economic, trade and political,” said Andy Rowsell-Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “Uncertainty has become the watch word for business leaders. Being digital is no longer enough to manage changing business conditions. We’re seeing most enterprises optimize existing business models for today’s environment, rather than thinking about preparing for the next turn, leaving them exposed when the next crisis hits. CIOs need to take specific actions to increase their organization’s fitness now if they want to grow stronger and more competitive after the coming turn.”

Gartner analysts presented the survey findings during Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo, which is taking place here through Thursday. The 2020 Gartner CIO Agenda survey gathered data from more than 1,000 CIO respondents in 64 countries and all major industries, representing approximately $3.5 trillion in revenue/public-sector budgets and $67.5 billion in IT spending. For the CIO Agenda report, Gartner analyzed this data and supplemented it with interviews with CIOs (or equivalents) who had important lessons to share about preparing for and so winning in a turn.

Fit Enterprises Are Winning in the Turns

The survey separated CIO respondents’ enterprises into two groups, “fit” and “fragile,” depending on how they fared in their last turns. Fit enterprises emerged from their turns stronger in capabilities such as funding business initiatives and attracting the right talent, while fragile enterprises emerged less capable in these areas. Fit enterprises, on average, also increased their revenue by 5% per annum over the past three years, faster than the 3.5% per annum revenue increase for their fragile peers.

13-more-

Fit leaders actively search for emerging trends or situations that require a change, and then leverage the IT organization as an instrument to navigate that change accordingly. Enterprises that want to become fit should focus on aligning, anticipating and adapting to dynamic business scenarios.

Alignment — or the extent to which organizations can stay together while shifting to a new direction during crises — is an area where fit enterprises most outperform fragile. Providing clear and effective leadership is one key area of alignment. Nearly half of fit survey respondents rated their leaders as very effective on “accurately communicating business needs to IT,” compared with only 30% of fragile survey respondents. Fit enterprises are also more likely to have disciplined IT investment, a clear vision, consistent overall strategy and a strong CIO/CEO relationship.

“A big take-away for CIOs is that fit enterprises increasingly view IT as a point of leverage for the business,” said Mr. Rowsell-Jones. “Having a clear and consistent overall business strategy ranks as one of the most distinctive traits of fit enterprises. In such organizations, digital technology will drive that strategy.”

“CIOs should plan for disruptions of various kinds to accelerate in most verticals,” said Mr. Rowsell-Jones. “Unless their enterprises are already fit, turns deaden their ability to flex as the environment changes. Enterprises that acquire these capabilities before a crisis hits won’t suffer permanent damage from it, but actually come out better in the end.”

Implications of Flat IT Budgets

Turns temporarily risk revenue and profit, but more importantly, erode the fundamentals of running a business, such as launching new initiatives or making investments. IT budgets for fragile enterprises are expected to grow just 0.9% on average in 2020, compared with 2.8% for the overall sample of organizations. This means fragile IT enterprises that have a low budget to begin with will suffer permanent structural damage following a disruption.

“Although a downturn is not the likely scenario through 2020, the risk is high enough to warrant preparation and planning,” said Mr. Rowsell-Jones. “The research shows that those that prepare are better placed to win in a turn than those that do not. CIOs should actively search for emerging situations that require a change ahead of time and take measured risks in order to prepare if they want to outperform their reactive, fragile counterparts.”

Fit leaders excel at making disciplined IT investment decisions, which is the third-biggest gap between fit and fragile survey respondents. Fit enterprises make trade-offs among competing priorities and spend more of their money on IT that makes a difference to business outcomes. By contrast, fragile enterprises devote their IT budget to increasing operational efficiency.

CIOs Will Prioritize Cybersecurity, AI and RPA in 2020

Fit enterprises that engage IT to gain competitive advantage have higher adoption rates of contemporary technologies, including cybersecurity capabilities, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA). The same enterprises have CIOs who are dedicated to modernizing IT’s core and are shifting investments accordingly. Analytics, application modernization and various forms of cloud computing are among the areas where most CIOs are increasing their investments in 2020, according to Gartner.

“This fact alone shows how IT organizations are more likely to work with the business to define technology-driven business strategies in fit enterprises, possibly even proactively,” said Mr. Rowsell-Jones. “As the IT organization becomes more important, expectations also rise. CIOs must make a material difference to the enterprise’s financial performance.

“Last year, I said that CIOs need to elevate their digital business to a stable and secure state. For the

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most part, they are well on the way to achieving that,” said Mr. Rowsell-Jones. “Success in 2020 means increasing the preparedness of both the IT organization and the enterprise as a whole to withstand impending business disruption by planning for it ahead of time.”

Gartner clients can learn more in the report “The 2020 CIO Agenda: Winning in the Turns.

About Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo

Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo is the world’s most important gathering of CIOs and senior IT executives, uniting a global community of CIOs with the tools and strategies to help them lead the next generation of IT and achieve business outcomes. More than 20,000 CIOs, senior business and IT executives worldwide will gather for the insights they need to ensure that their IT initiatives are key contributors to, and drivers of, their organization’s success.

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October 28-31: Gold Coast, Australia

October 28-31: Sao Paulo, Brazil