PARC CEO, Experts Discuss Digital Transformation

At Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2016, the CEO of PARC brought three experts on stage to talk about digital transformation. InformationWeek found time after the session to go deeper into the subject.
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Xerox PARC (now known as "PARC, a Xerox Company") has a long and storied history in the computer industry. Known as the research center from which any number of innovations sprang, PARC still has a reputation as one of the places where pure research takes place on projects that might not have a direct impact on the products we use for years, or even decades.

At this year's Gartner Symposium ITxpo, PARC CEO Steve Hoover led a panel on digital transformation. Joining him on the panel were Victoria Bellotti, a research fellow at PARC; Gillis J. Jonk, strategy consultant and business innovator at A.T. Kearney; and Gytis Barzdukas, head of product management at Predix, part of GE Digital.

They spoke to a room full of IT pros and corporate executives about some of the most fundamental changes affecting their businesses today.

[See Gartner's 10 Tech Predictions That Will Change IT.]

In the session, the four discussed topics like what "digital natives" expect as customers from natively digital businesses. Those expectations include such things as apps and products that are:

  • Mobile-first and always connected
  • Intelligent and personalized
  • Real-time and on-demand

They also talked about what companies have to do in order to reach these customers. The "to do" list includes:

  • Focus on outcomes, not merely products
  • Optimize existing businesses and invest in new options
  • Experiment and learn

After the well-attended session, I had a chance to get together with the four in one of the hallways at the Walt Disney Swan hotel, where the panel happened. I asked about some of the issues that had occurred to me while listening to the presentation, beginning with one of the most basic questions on terminology.

Read our hallway interview, edited for clarity and space. It's not a short one, filled with quick sound bites. These are people who have spent a great deal of time thinking about the topic. They're eager to engage with the industry on the issues around transformation.

I'm eager to know what you think about the whole idea of "digital transformation." Is it just another buzzword that we'll forget in a couple of years, or is it the label for something serious that's taking place in the business world?

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