Press Release

ORLANDO, FL, October 22, 2009 View All Press Releases

Gartner Identifies Four Disciplines of Pattern-Based Strategy™

Pattern-Based Strategy Micro Site Provides In-Depth Analysis on How to Exploit This Model to Gain a Competitive Advantage

As business and IT leaders look for opportunities to gain a competitive advantage, a Pattern-Based Strategy will enable them to drive change, rather than react to it, according to Gartner, Inc. These leaders will need to focus on four disciplines to successfully adopt a Pattern-Based Strategy.

A Pattern-Based Strategy provides a framework to proactively seek, model and adapt to leading indicators, often-termed "weak" signals that form patterns in the marketplace. Not only will leading organizations excel at identifying new patterns and exploiting them for competitive advantage, but their own innovation will create new patterns of change within the marketplace that will force others to react.

Gartner analysts are discussing the framework for implementing a Pattern-Based Strategy at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, being held here through October 22.

“Today we can find examples of organizations of applying elements of Pattern-Based Strategy within their business, and technology vendors providing solutions that meet specific business needs,” said Val Sribar, group vice president of Research at Gartner. “However, we believe that significant market advantage will be gained by organizations that adopt all the disciplines needed to implement a Pattern-Based Strategy, and by those technology providers that seek to enable this transition.”

“Hindsight is 20/20, and it will always remain so. But we now see the emerging ability, through adopting the disciplines and technologies of a Pattern-Based Strategy, of foresight to approach that level of accuracy, and for businesses to move in this direction to increase their competitive advantage,” Mr. Sribar said.

Gartner analysts have identified four disciplines to successfully adopting a Pattern-Based Strategy. They include: pattern seeking, optempo (operational tempo) advantages, performance-driven culture, and transparency.

Pattern Seeking
Pattern seeking comprises focusing on the competencies, activities, technologies and resources that expose signals which may lead to a pattern that will have a positive or negative impact on strategy or operations—focusing on those areas of vulnerability or risk and innovation/opportunity for the business. Seeking patterns can mean looking inside or outside the organization, and involves exploiting the new power of the collective—i.e., exploiting collective knowledge with creative activities, and exploiting collective activities as an unexplored source of patterns.

“The collective is made up of individuals, groups, communities, crowds, markets and firms that shape the direction of society and business,” said Tom Austin, vice president and Gartner Fellow. “The collective is not new, but technology has made it more powerful—and enabled change to happen more rapidly. The explosion of social software, for example, has enabled groups and individuals to rapidly form and rally to a cause, often resulting in significant societal changes.”

Optempo Advantage
Gartner terms optempo advantage as representing the set of coherent guidelines and actions necessary for maximizing the allocation and utilization of enterprise resources as new patterns emerge.

“In a Pattern-Based Strategy, an organization excels by adjusting the relative speed of its operations better than competitors. However, enterprises must first understand the levers they can control to drive change. These levers are people, process, and information. IT and business leaders can think of an optempo advantage as a formal management philosophy for improving their organization's competitive rhythm so that it can consistently and dynamically match pace to purpose,” Mr. Sribar said.

Performance-Driven Culture
A performance-driven culture enables an organization to monitor leading indicators of change, and where performance is used to enable change through the alignment of organizational resources to strategic performance metrics.

“Most organizations measure performance; they don't manage it. The traditional focus has been on measuring high-level, financially oriented outcomes after the event. This creates a reactive sense-and-respond mind-set,” Mr. Sribar said. “Today’s environment demands looking at leading performance and risk indicators to provide a forward-looking focus that then must permeate all levels of an organization—rather than just providing top-level measures. Changes in business strategy and operations will be reflected in changes in performance metrics, which will then drive change in behaviors and operational tempo.”

In the context of a Pattern-Based Strategy, transparency means both the demonstration of corporate health and the strategic use of transparency for differentiation.

If organizations can proactively evolve transparency from a once-a-quarter financial-results event to using it to set the right expectations of seeking new patterns and responding with consistent results, this proactive use will enable them to enter new markets, gain access to funds that competitors can't access and demonstrate differentiation to customers and suppliers.

Additional information is available on the Pattern-Based Strategy micro site on Gartner’s Website at A collection of Gartner research is available on the site that examines the different elements of Pattern-Based Strategy.

Gartner analysts are hosting a number of sessions examining various aspects of Pattern-Based Strategy at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo October. Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the industry's largest and most important annual gathering of CIOs and senior IT executives. This event delivers independent and objective content with the authority and weight of the world's leading IT research and advisory organization, and provides access to the latest solutions from key technology providers. Gartner's annual Symposium/ITxpo events are key components of attendees' annual planning efforts. They rely on Gartner Symposium/ITxpo to gain insight into how their organizations can use IT to address business challenges and improve operational efficiency. Additional information is available at

Upcoming dates and locations for Gartner Symposium/ITxpo include:
November 2-5, Cannes,
November 11-13, Tokyo, Japan:
November 17-19, Sydney, Australia:

About Gartner

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