Gartner recycles its Hype Cycle

26 Aug 2015

As featured in DisruptiveViews

It’s pretty much common knowledge that we at DisruptiveViews (and before that BillingViews) don’t hold Gartner or its magic squares and hype squiggles in much esteem.

The company itself has some brilliant analysts working for it but they seem to be stifled by a model that was once quite innovative, even creative. Today, it seems to have gone a bit stale and has become little more than a means of sustaining revenues.

I know we have already been over the broadly held belief that senior executives fearful of making bad decisions will buy the Gartner stuff and use it as a crutch to support their case for selecting one supplier or technology over another. But, sadly, most of their competitors are doing much the same so originality and innovative decision-making flies out the window – as does any potential market advantage.

For vendors, not being on the Gartner ‘list’ and not appearing in one of those ‘better’ quadrants is tantamount to not being in business at all.

They will subscribe to whatever Gartner is selling as a first critical step to ‘joining the club’ and hopefully be able to exert influence on those that put the dots in the squares.

As I said, it’s a fantastic business model but, like everything else, it has a shelf life and one wonders just how long before the Gartner models reach its – and those aimless followers are brought to task for poor decision making.

The most recent reason to question the Gartner ‘grasping at straws’ (or gasping for air) model to remain relevant is the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2015. It passed our desk as a press release, snippets of which I would like to share with you.

“The journey to digital business continues as the key theme of Gartner, Inc.’s “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2015.” New to the Hype Cycle this year is the emergence of technologies that support what Gartner defines as digital humanism — the notion that people are the central focus in the manifestation of digital businesses and digital workplaces.”

Yes folks, remember that term – ‘digital humanism’ – if Gartner says it exists then it must. Oh, but wait, how can people be the central focus in the manifestation of digital business and workplaces when they are losing their jobs by the thousands in retail sales and other sectors as a result?

Gartner says, “The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report is the longest-running annual Hype Cycle, providing a cross-industry perspective on the technologies and trends that business strategists, chief innovation officers, R&D leaders, entrepreneurs, global market developers and emerging-technology teams should consider in developing emerging-technology portfolios.”

So there it is. If you are one of those types and you don’t read anything, or follow what Gartner says in its hype cycle, you are simply not hip.

“Major changes in the 2015 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies (see Figure 1) include the placement of autonomous vehicles, which have shifted from pre-peak to peak of the Hype Cycle. While autonomous vehicles are still embryonic, this movement still represents a significant advancement, with all major automotive companies putting autonomous vehicles on their near-term roadmaps. Similarly, the growing momentum (from post-trigger to pre-peak) in connected-home solutions has introduced entirely new solutions and platforms enabled by new technology providers and existing manufacturers.”

Surely any self-respecting and basically intelligent business strategist, chief innovation officer, R&D leader, entrepreneur, global market developer and emerging-technology team would have already picked this up from all the press coverage.

I guess it’s nice to see all that technology in one place in some semblance of when it might reach the elusive ‘Plateau of Productivity’ but I can’t help think that there is something wrong when the vast majority are tagged with reaching it in 5 to 10 years and greater.

That seems bizarre when a number of these technologies were hardly making the news last year and today are the headlines – wearables and autonomous vehicles to name just two – that won’t, according to Gartner, reach nirvana for 5 to 10 years!

With technology moving at the speed of light, if they don’t make it within the next year or two they probably won’t be around at all in 5 to 10 years, at least not in their current form.

“The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies is the broadest aggregate Gartner Hype Cycle, featuring technologies that are the focus of attention because of particularly high levels of interest, and those that Gartner believes have the potential for significant impact,” said Betsy Burton, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “This year, we encourage CIOs and other IT leaders to dedicate time and energy focused on innovation, rather than just incremental business advancement, while also gaining inspiration by scanning beyond the bounds of their industry.”

I wonder when Gartner will heed Betsy Burton’s advice and come up with something new, innovative and exciting that is more than just shapes on a wavy line or dots in squares and the odd paid-for report?

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