After another fantastic DIGIT event at Dynamic Earth I always like to take a little time to look back at the speaker (and vendor) perspectives and see what’s changed since last year. Here’s a couple of my key takeaways from the event:
AI is continuing to battle its built-in contradictions. While AI powered products are now starting to arise from their early stages where they provided answers that were frequently just plain wrong which led users to lose interest quickly, they’re not yet at a stage where they can always (or at least nearly always) be relied upon to provide a correct answer. The value these AI powered tools delivers then becomes very closely tied to the delivery area’s tolerance for mistakes. Businesses need to be thinking closely about the balance between quality and quantity they’re looking to strike.
Replacing older systems isn’t always the correct answer. While leaders in IT are well aware that businesses can’t afford to build up technical debt over time by neglecting to invest in their systems, sometimes extending the lifespan of a system can be the right answer. Where those systems are linked to big investments in industrial equipment, if you have other higher priority security areas for your teams to work on or even if you’re just looking to buy some time to implement a planned depreciation of a system rather than a mad rush, using tools like Droplet to help secure an older system can be the right decision in the moment.
When businesses are going through difficult times it’s important for leaders to really create the vision in your teams minds about where you’re heading. Partially to help your employees break out of the unsuccessful cycle you’ve been stuck in and also to help them think about whether they share that vision. There were some great stories of businesses that succeeded largely because of a recommitment from employees inspired by a vision, alongside the stepping aside of those who asked themselves honestly if the direction was for them.
Key takeaways aside, whilst at the conference I was asked whether it had been a ‘good’ event. While I wasn’t able to listen to all sessions on offer, I was really quick to let them know that the whole day would have been worth it just for any of the five minute conversations I had with vendors and other attendees during the breaks. These catch ups have helped me deal with thorny technical (and management) issues, connected me to new contacts I’d never meet otherwise and help me feel like I’m giving back to the IT community. After the pandemic I’m more convinced than ever that in person events are essential for anyone working in the IT space in Scotland.
Maybe I’ll see you there next year!