The 2022 WSJ Tech Live Event Recap: My Three Biggest Takeaways

November 28, 2022

The 2022 WSJ® Tech Live Conference brought together the most influential leaders in technology and business who are defining the scope of technology’s impact on business, regulations and innovation. As proud sponsors, Rocket Software had a significant presence at this year’s event, which was held October 24-26 online and in-person in Laguna Beach, CA. Fellow Rocketeer Kyle McNabb, vice president, solution and partner marketing, and I were on-site in Laguna Beach, while Milan Shetti, president and CEO of Rocket Software, participated in a virtual fireside chat hosted by Brian Kamentzky, senior editor of The Trust. There, we had the opportunity to discuss the complexities of infrastructure and the importance of modernizing without disruption.

WSJ Tech Live gave us a chance to converse with other bright minds leading the tech sector and partake in discussions around important issues and trends, including the metaverse, new investment opportunities, the future of work, M&A and leadership changes, booms and busts and the evolving role of social media.

Here are my three biggest takeaways from the three-day event:

1. Today, every business must think like a tech business.

The movement of consumers to do even more online over the last few years has forced companies to invest in improving and expanding their digital presences. Whether you sit at the upper echelon of your industry or are a smaller player looking to win market share, the technology you use to engage, understand and service your customers can make or break your business. That is why industry giants like The Walt Disney Company are leaning into how they use technology to gain insights into their customers in order to improve and create new experiences for them—which Disney CEO Bob Chapek discussed from the event’s mainstage. The ability to understand and utilize technology to improve business and customer outcomes is key to help Disney and myriad other companies outpace their competition.

2. Modernization without disruption is both critical and possible for mission-critical organizations.

During Milan’s fireside chat, Managing Modernization Without Disruption, he discussed how, with the introduction of new innovative tools and technologies, mission-critical businesses feel the urge to “rip and replace” mainframe systems for cloud software. However, rip and replace approaches to modernization are highly risky, requiring a lot of time, energy and cost with no guarantee of success. Organizations must replace everything they had while trying to match the resiliency, data governance and security of the mainframe, which often leads to significant operational disruptions and an inability to deliver business and customer outcomes.

Today, businesses have the ability to leverage the innovation of cloud technologies alongside mission-critical software by adopting hybrid models and modernizing in place with the right technology by their side. Modernizing in place not only gives teams the flexibility and technology to implement the latest tools and practices into operations within a secure and reliable mainframe infrastructure, but it allows organizations to eliminate business disruptions throughout modernization. This enables organizations to focus on the customer and business goals while remaining at the forefront of innovation. 

3. Continuous innovation is top of mind for all business leaders.

It wasn’t long ago Uber burst onto the scene, and its disruptive technology forever changed the transportation industry as we know it by creating the ridesharing category. In just over a decade, Uber, once the world’s most valuable startup, has quickly gone from disruptor to disrupted as self-driving automobile tech companies like Waymo look to reimagine the way we travel. Draft Kings is another example of a recent disruptor looking to fend off market innovators. New companies are entering the sports gambling market to challenge Draft Kings through innovation and forward thinking, such as Fanatics, which is building a digital sports platform that allows users to watch and bet on live sports, as well as buy merchandise, digital collectibles, NFTs and tickets, are entering the sports gambling market. Both Waymo and Fanatics took the stage at Tech Live to discuss their companies’ disruptive technologies and visions moving forward.

Businesses that were once the disruptors in their respective industries are being upended by industry newcomers or other organizations that continue to evolve and push the envelope with innovation. Whether you are reimagining the ridesharing industry, challenging the way audiences view and gamble on sports or continuing to bring to life the happiest place on earth for your customers, like Disney, the overarching theme amongst industry movers and shakers is the need for continuous innovation. Each day, markets become more saturated with businesses looking to improve or reinvent the way customers live their lives. If you are not looking toward the future for ways to innovate operations and business outcomes to improve your customers’ experience, you will leave yourself at risk of falling behind.

From the innovative leaders on-stage at the WSJ Tech Live Event to everyday brands looking to keep up with evolving consumer demands in today’s fast-paced markets, the ability to understand and modernize technology in order to continuously innovate and improve products and services is essential. While the thought of modernization can be daunting, the solutions and partnerships needed to simplify and effectively modernize operations exist. With the right technology and expertise, businesses can continuously modernize and innovate while avoiding any disruptions to their business—allowing companies to focus on improving their products and customer experiences.

To learn how Rocket Software has helped many of the world’s largest enterprises remain atop their industry through modernization without disruption, visit the Rocket website.