GARTNER RESEARCH PROCESS
Gartner’s research architecture supports our overall research process and is designed to analyze and interpret existing and new information so that we can challenge conventional wisdom, make connections, understand patterns and discover trends. Our research architecture consists of methods we call Scenarios, Key Issues and Strategic Planning Assumptions—ways of framing and simplifying information and opinions so our clients can apply them more easily to their IT and business planning.
Gartner Scenarios represent our viewpoint on a particular issue or trend within the greater context of the business and technology world. These capture the distinct business and technology drivers Gartner clients should consider when making decisions.
- Master Scenarios—a high-level view of the entire business and technology industry or a major business issue. Master Scenarios outline Gartner’s broad position on major trends or issues, and project the impact they will have on the near future of your business and your current decisions.
- Topic and Theme Scenarios—embrace a topic, region, industry or theme. Topics are the major areas we cover, such as Software, Hardware and IT Services. Themes are a major field of study, such as Web services, real-time infrastructure or application development. We explain how we believe the field is likely to develop over the next few years based on identifiable trends, providing our clients with a position from which to examine their decisions and investments and plan for the future.
- Alternative Scenarios—an alternative argument, or “What if?”, that takes into account possibilities that don’t fit with the original Master, Topic or Theme Scenario. In an Alternative Scenario, we provide clients with an alternative outcome to our existing scenario, saying, “Yes, but what about this?”
Key Issues identify high-priority questions—critical questions being asked by our clients—and provide a focus and scope of definition to a research area. For example:
- How should enterprises be guiding their investments?
- Which markets are heating up?
- Which technologies have the potential to disrupt an industry or change an industry’s predominant business model?
- Which technology providers will survive a consolidation trend?
- Which IT strategies will reap the greatest rewards?
We organize our research around questions like these to sharpen our focus on issues of high priority to our clients.
Strategic Planning Assumptions
The Strategic Planning Assumption (SPA) is our best answer to a Key Issue at a given point in time, and includes a concise positioning statement and time frame. In this way, we attempt to address questions long before the answers are obvious, providing early advice so our clients can plan and strategize.
Example: By 2010, SOA will be the design standard for more than 80% of new, mission-critical applications and business processes designed.
An SPA creates a debate around an assumption. It goes beyond the facts and data into suppositions and predictions. SPAs enable clients to form sound judgments, and help our clients make technology purchasing and strategic planning decisions by showing them the risks of ignoring trends or the competitive advantage they might gain from addressing them.