In the age of the customer, technology and business leaders must start with an understanding of customer needs, then choose appropriate technologies to address those needs. But complex emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation, robotics, and the internet of things can be challenging to harness in service of customer need. These critical CIO targets often require new operating models to succeed. To truly put these emerging technologies to work, leaders must invest in employee talent, skills, and culture; evolve or invent appropriate organizational structures; and sometimes even change their own leadership style.

This journey isn’t easy, but succeeding here can yield tremendous business returns. To help drive success with emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, Forrester will hold a deep-dive session at our Digital Transformation Forum in Chicago, May 8–9. I’m leading a deep-dive track that will feature presentations by myself and my colleague, Craig Le Clair; we’re two of Forrester’s leading voices on automation and AI.

The first session will introduce you to RQ (the Robotics Quotient). I’ll be publishing a major report in a couple of months on this topic, so the forum represents an early sneak peek. RQ measures the ability of individuals and organizations to learn, adapt to, and collaborate with automated entities such as AI, intelligent assistants, RPA, or even physical robotics. RQ will soon join IQ (intelligence quotient) and EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) in the lexicon of human resources, business, and technology leaders everywhere. RQ looks at how People, Leaders, Organization, and Trust — or PLOT — drives enterprise effectiveness with AI and automation.

The second session will feature an applied example of RPA. Robotic process automation (RPA) has been one of the hottest technologies at enterprise organizations over the past year, and Craig Le Clair has been on the front lines, leading change as technology and business leaders reinvent business processes. In this talk, Craig will show how organizations can put RPA to use as an example of the emerging technology approaches that work. Over time, real success will be determined more by the efficiency of bot deployment, security, and ability to scale and provide proper governance. Analytics, both for bot maintenance, process optimization, and support of other AI building blocks, will determine ultimate success.

The third session will feature audience Q&A. Craig and I will take questions from the audience. We’ve found that this interactive approach can often lead to great conversations for clients who are solving real problems — and for peers to hear the learnings, as well.

We hope you will join us in Chicago next week for Forrester’s Digital Transformation Forum!

J. P. Gownder is a vice president and principal analyst serving CIOs. He leads Forrester’s research on the impact that robots, AI, and automation technologies have on employment, the economy, and the future of work. He also covers innovation in the context of disruptive devices and interfaces — from PCs to mobile devices, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), software, and intelligent agents. He was named one of the five most important people in the world in the area of wearable computing. Follow him on Twitter at @jgownder.