Gartner's Hype Cycle Special Report for 2010


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The 2010 Gartner Hype Cycle Special Report evaluates the maturity of 1,800 technologies and trends in 75 areas. New this year are business use of social technology, sustainability and green IT, emerging energy technologies, enterprise architecture, Pattern-Based Strategy, and performance management.


Welcome to Gartner's 2010 Hype Cycle Special Report, an annual maturity assessment of more than 1,800 technologies and trends. The 2010 Special Report consists of 75 individual Hype Cycle reports, each of which gives a snapshot perspective of a key area of IT or business.

The Hype Cycle reports provide an overview of each area in two graphical formats — the Hype Cycle and the Priority Matrix. Hype Cycles and Priority Matrices are management models that help organizations understand the landscape of technology maturity and markets, and to decide which technology innovations to adopt, postpone or ignore, and when is an appropriate time to adopt. The Hype Cycle model was first published in 1995 to show the overexuberance and subsequent disillusionment that inevitably accompanies each new trend and technology prior to its real maturity. The Priority Matrix was introduced in the 2006 Hype Cycle Special Report as a way to compare the relative benefit and maturity of technology candidates.

In addition to the two graphics, each Hype Cycle report contains an introduction that highlights key trends, such as advances in technological capabilities and changes in the provider marketplace. Each technology or trend featured in the Hype Cycle and Priority Matrix is also profiled in more detail, including a definition, assessment of business impact, advice on adoption and example vendors where applicable.

New Hype Cycles for the 2010 Special Report are:

  • Business Use of Social Technology. This Hype Cycle complements the "Hype Cycle for Social Software, 2010" and was initiated to provide our perspective on the accelerating adoption of social technologies for specific business functions and within selected industries. As reflected in the clustering of technology profiles in the early stages of this Hype Cycle, the business use of social technologies is just emerging. We expect adoption to accelerate and to expand across business functions and industries. Even where overt social-media initiatives are not planned, examination of social technologies will become an imperative where key business participants (such as employees, customers, constituents and partners) engage in social interactions outside of structured or sanctioned enterprise technology solutions.

  • Sustainability and Green IT. Sustainability will be a strategic discontinuity to most organizations, impacting their business models, how they do business, with whom they do business and in which markets they function. The solutions to the climate-related and broader environmental sustainability issues will involve substantial technological innovations. This Hype Cycle has a wide spectrum of technologies, ranging from green-IT-related technologies to energy-generation technologies, transportation, manufacturing, product labeling and so on — all of which help IT or are enabled by IT. It also includes regulations, processes and applications that will drive sustainability initiatives.

  • Emerging Energy Technologies. Energy supply is a key national concern in all regions of the world. The energy technologies studied in this Hype Cycle are those currently being developed to address the three cornerstones of energy policy in many of the world's developed and developing nations — ensuring the security of energy supply, achieving energy efficiency, and reducing the environmental impacts of energy supply and consumption. As these energy technologies evolve, they will impact energy company and utility operations and, consequently, their technology needs. This Hype Cycle expands our coverage of energy-related topics, which include Hype Cycles for solar energy and data center power and cooling technologies.

  • Enterprise Architecture. This Hype Cycle discusses the current and future evolution of enterprise architecture (EA) practices, disciplines and technologies, with a focus on EA renewal, frameworks, approaches and viewpoints. The 2010 EA Hype Cycle comprises the disciplines, practices and technologies that the market of both practitioners and technology vendors that support EA programs contend with daily. This Hype Cycle targets the market of those who share the concepts of, support the efforts of or provide technologies for those engaged in EA in all its forms.

  • Pattern-Based Strategy. Gartner introduced Pattern-Based Strategy as a new concept in 2009 as a result of research that demonstrated a desire from business leaders to move from reacting to events that had major impacts on business strategy and operations to proactively seeking patterns that might indicate an impending event. Because finding a pattern is only the first step, Pattern-Based Strategy goes beyond seeking the pattern into modeling the impact of the pattern and adapting the organization to change required by the pattern. For this reason, we have included both technology and culture that will support the implementation of Pattern-Based Strategy in this first edition of the Hype Cycle.

  • Performance Management Applications. Despite all the advances provided by transaction-processing applications during the past 20 years, business managers and executives still struggle to understand what drives performance and how to make decisions that will achieve their strategic goals and objectives. The whole area of performance management has been an increasing focus during the past five years; however, the impact of the global downturn over the last two years has now made this a high priority for C-level executives. IT professionals and business users need to understand what technologies are available to support a more-structured approach to performance management, as well as the emerging performance management disciplines.

Based on the number of clients reading each Hype Cycle, the most popular Hype Cycles from 2009 were Cloud Computing, Emerging Technologies, IT Operations Management, Virtualization, IT Outsourcing, Networking and Communications, Application Development, Software as a Service, Social Software, and Consumer Mobile Applications.

The Hype Cycle Graphic

Gartner's Hype Cycle characterizes the typical progression of an emerging technology, from overenthusiasm through a period of disillusionment to an eventual understanding of the technology's relevance and role in a market or domain. Each phase is characterized by distinct indicators of market, investment and adoption activities (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Gartner's Hype Cycle
Research image courtesy of Gartner, Inc.

Source: Gartner (August 2010)

Gartner analysts position technologies along the Hype Cycle based on a consensus assessment of hype and maturity. To represent the varying speeds, all technologies on the Hype Cycle are assigned to a "years to mainstream adoption" category (for example, two to five years), representing how long they will take to reach the Plateau of Productivity from their current position on the Hype Cycle — that is, how far they are from the start of mainstream adoption.

Hype Cycles help technology planners to decide when to invest in that technology. A Hype Cycle is a useful educational tool that:

  • Establishes the expectation that most technologies will inevitably progress through the pattern of overenthusiasm and disillusionment before proving their real value.

  • Provides a snapshot of the relative level and pace of maturity of technologies within a certain segment of the IT world, such as a technology area, horizontal or vertical business market, or a certain demographic audience.

  • Has a simple and clear message. Companies should not invest in a technology just because it is being hyped, nor should they ignore a technology just because it is not living up to early overexpectations.

For more detailed information on the causes, traps and opportunities of the Hype Cycle, see "Understanding Gartner's Hype Cycles, 2010" and the book "Mastering the Hype Cycle: How to Choose the Right Innovation at the Right Time" by Jackie Fenn and Mark Raskino, from Harvard Business Press, 2008.

The Priority Matrix Graphic

The Priority Matrix is a tool for prioritizing emerging technologies by forcing technology planners to look beyond the hype and assess technology opportunities in terms of their relative impact on the enterprise and the timing of that impact (see Figure 2). In the Priority Matrix, the vertical axis focuses on the potential benefit of the technology (rather than on the expectation levels presented in the Hype Cycle). The horizontal axis groups the technologies according to the same years-to-mainstream-adoption rating used on the Hype Cycle. The years-to-mainstream-adoption rating is a simple measure of risk based on the projected rate of maturation for a technology. High-priority investments appear in the top-left portion of the Priority Matrix, where technologies potentially have a high impact and have reached a reasonable level of maturity.

Figure 2. Gartner's Priority Matrix
Research image courtesy of Gartner, Inc.

Source: Gartner (August 2010)

The Priority Matrix answers the questions:

  • What level of benefit can an enterprise gain from a technology?

  • When will the technology be mature enough for an enterprise to derive this benefit at an acceptable level of risk?

Using Hype Cycles in Strategic Planning

Many Gartner clients use Hype Cycles and Priority Matrices as part of their technology-planning process. In particular, the Hype Cycle Special Report is a valuable resource for strategic planning activities as a "trend and technology scan." A typical use would be to select several Hype Cycles reflecting relevant overviews and drill-down initiatives. For example, a bank with an active call center might focus on the Hype Cycles for Emerging Technologies, Financial Services Payment Systems, the two Banking and Investment Services Hype Cycles, and the three CRM Hype Cycles as well as consumer and mobile topics. Once the bank had created a shortlist of relevant technologies from these Hype Cycles, it could document and discuss the relevant benefits and risks of each, using the ratings and information provided in the Hype Cycle technology descriptions, adjusted for its specific organizational goals and priorities.

Many organizations have found the "My Hype Cycle" toolkit — which contains all the technology entries from all the Hype Cycles in a single spreadsheet that can be sorted and filtered, plus a Hype Cycle graphic auto-generation tool — an effective way to create custom Hype Cycles for internal meetings and presentations (see "Toolkit: My Hype Cycle, 2009" ). The 2010 version, with more than 1,800 entries, will be available in late September. Creating custom Hype Cycles and Priority Matrices forces planners to be explicit about the assumptions regarding risks and benefits, which helps discussion and decision making about adoption priorities. The output from this type of trend and technology scan typically feeds into a set of evaluation projects that further inform adoption decisions (see "Driving the STREET Process for Emerging Technology and Innovation Adoption" for more information).

Technology providers use Hype Cycles as a way to understand the likely market reaction to their products and services based on the adopter community's expectations and attitudes. They also find value in examining the Hype Cycles for candidate technologies and capabilities that will impact future product and service offerings and ecosystems. Investors watch for technologies that are on the rise in a Hype Cycle to try to catch them before the Peak of Inflated Expectations or at the beginning of the Slope of Enlightenment before they move into mainstream adoption.

2010 Technology Hype Cycles

Technology Hype Cycles provide a snapshot of core technologies, software and infrastructure. Examples include topics in wireless, security, productivity tools, hardware infrastructure and networking. The Emerging Trends and Technologies Hype Cycle provides a view of highly hyped and high-impact trends and technologies from across IT.

"Hype Cycle for Consumer Technologies, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Content Management, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Context-Aware Computing, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Data Center Power and Cooling Technologies, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Data and Application Security, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Data Management, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Emerging Energy Technologies, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Enterprise Communication Applications, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Enterprise Information Management, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for the High-Performance Workplace, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Human-Computer Interaction, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Identity and Access Management Technologies, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Imaging and Print Services, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Mobile Device Technologies, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Networking and Communications, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for PC Technologies, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Semiconductors, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Server Technologies, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Smart Grid Technologies, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Social Software, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Storage Technologies, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Telemedicine, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Web and User Interaction Technologies, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Wireless Devices, Software and Services, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Wireless Networking Infrastructure, 2010"

2010 Topic Hype Cycles

Topic Hype Cycles examine technologies and trends in services, applications, IT operations, and software development such as CRM, sourcing strategies and regulatory issues. Regional Hype Cycles highlight the particular areas of activity within the various geographies, including where the region is ahead of or lagging the global average.

"Hype Cycle for Application Architecture, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Application Development, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Application Infrastructure, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Business Process Management, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Business Process Outsourcing, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Business Use of Social Technologies, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Consulting and System Integration, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Consumer Services and Mobile Applications, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for CRM Customer Service and Field Service, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for CRM Marketing Applications, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for CRM Sales, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for E-Commerce, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Enterprise Architecture, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Governance, Risk and Compliance Technologies, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for ICT in China, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for ICT in India, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for IT Operations Management, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for IT Outsourcing, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Manufacturing Product Life Cycle Management and Production, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Pattern-Based Strategy, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Performance Management, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Real-Time Infrastructure, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Solar Energy, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Supply Chain Management, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Sustainability and Green IT, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Virtualization, 2010"

2010 Industry Hype Cycles

In addition to the cross-industry positioning featured in technology and topic Hype Cycles, industry Hype Cycles show how technologies may be at different levels of maturity and adoption in different industries. Industry Hype Cycles also feature technologies and trends unique to that specific industry.

"Hype Cycle for Automotive Demand and Supply Chain Technologies, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Banking and Investment Services Core Applications Technologies, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Banking and Investment Services Customer Acquisition and Retention, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Communications Service Provider Infrastructure, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Communications Service Provider Operations, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Consumer Goods, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Education, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Financial Services Payment Systems, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Government Transformation, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Healthcare Payers, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Healthcare Provider Applications and Systems, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Healthcare Provider Technologies and Standards, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Life Insurance, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Life Sciences, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Media Industry Advertising, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Media Industry Publishing, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for P&C Insurance, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Retail Technologies, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Transportation, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Utility Industry IT and Business Processes, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Utility Industry Operational Technologies, 2010"

"Hype Cycle for Vehicle-Centric Information and Communication Technologies (Vehicle ICT), 2010"

Recommended Reading

"Understanding Gartner's Hype Cycles, 2010"

"Toolkit: My Hype Cycle, 2009"

"Driving the STREET Process for Emerging Technology and Innovation Adoption"

"Mastering the Hype Cycle: How to Choose the Right Innovation at the Right Time," Jackie Fenn and Mark Raskino, Harvard Business School Press, October 2008

© 2010 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartners research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

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