3 Themes Emerge From the Gartner Hype Cycle for Midsize Enterprise, 2020

October 30, 2020

Contributor: Laura Starita

Midsize enterprises can leverage the insights of this Hype Cycle to make IT investments that enable priorities around remote work, resource optimization and efficient operations.

Midsize enterprise (MSE) CIOs began 2020 leaning in to the need to equip their organizations for digital business with modern infrastructure and strategic use of automation. They still are doing so, but with more urgency, as the pandemic economy forces them to make the most of their people, platforms and data, and still protect the enterprise from security threats. 

“ Technologies cited in this Hype Cycle offer MSE IT leaders a high degree of benefit”

“MSE CEOs are looking to technology enablement from technology, automation, business intelligence, data and digital, as the No. 1 way to improve productivity/efficiency within their organizations, says Mike Cisek, VP Analyst, Gartner. “The technologies cited in this Hype Cycle offer MSE IT leaders a high degree of benefit and applicability.”

The 41 technologies in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Midsize Enterprises, 2020 reflect these complementary priorities in IT, with a focus on three particular themes driving CIO investments.

  1. Data-driven culture: CIOs are delivering the data and analytics infrastructure and capabilities business leaders need to understand and act on data-driven insights.
  2. Risk-based security: Trends related to remote worker and edge infrastructure have accelerated the need to strengthen security and simplify how IT teams deliver it. Risk-based security allows CIOs to focus on high-priority areas of risk in an efficient and cost-effective way.
  3. Infrastructure utility: Modernizing legacy infrastructure is a high priority for MSEs to enable remote work and higher productivity. Infrastructure utility solutions support distributed workloads to securely navigate between on-premises infrastructure and cloud-native architectures.

Read more: Gartner Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021

Six technologies from the Hype Cycle offer a snapshot of a few of the high-benefit investments CIOs will reap in the short to midterm in line with these themes: SD-WAN and workplace analytics to facilitate remote work; citizen developers and citizen data science to increase productivity; and FWaaS and managed detection for improved operations. 

Learn more: About the Gartner Hype Cycle Methodology

Gartner Hype Cycle for Midsize Enterprises 2020

Workplace analytics

What is it? Insights about employee experience, engagement, collaboration and productivity, based on data from workplace applications, network traffic, user devices and other sources.

How does it benefit my organization? Workplace analytics provide one input on the state of individual and team productivity and collaboration. Workplace analytics can offer insights about, for example, the business impact of a new tool or policy, or which team members are overburdened or underutilized. Challenges remain with how analytics solutions access and integrate data, and employee concerns about privacy can delay adoption.

Time is short. Enterprises are still working out how to best use workplace analytics, but the potential benefits are high and will drive rapid adoption over the next two to five years.

Citizen data science

What is it? Tools that automate aspects of data preparation, exploration, pattern detection and modeling to enable business users to get value out of data assets without needing an expensive and high-demand data scientist to do the work.

How does it benefit my organization? Citizen data science makes data insights more accessible and applicable across the organization, while helping to optimize the value delivered by scarce specialty data scientists. Citizen data scientists also contribute domain expertise to ensure data initiatives align with the needs of the business.  

“ Over the next two to five years, citizen data science will become more widespread”

Citizen data science is an emerging capability that should transform how businesses design and deploy next-generation analytics and machine learning. Over the next two to five years, citizen data science will become more widespread as BI and data science platforms add more augmented analytics capabilities.

Look for collaboration opportunities between specialist data scientists and citizen data scientists, and work to educate and advocate with business units about user enablement, responsible use, data ethics and other key issues.

Managed detection and response (MDR)

What is it? A 24/7 security threat monitoring, detection and response service that leverages advanced analytics, threat intelligence and human expertise to prevent or minimize security breaches. MDR technologies and deployments currently focus on network and endpoint security, as well as monitoring the cloud.

Read more: Gartner Top 9 Security and Risk Trends for 2020

How does it benefit my organization? MDR services allow enterprises to secure their networks and reduce the complexity of identifying and investing in the right mix of in-house people, processes and technology. MDR solutions provide particular value for organizations that want a single, turnkey solution or that lack the internal resources to respond to threats when they occur. MDR may not be right for businesses that have already invested in point solutions for network security, such as endpoint detection and response.

MDR solutions will continue to mature and increasingly deliver high value over the next two to five years.

Firewall as a service (FWaaS)

What is it? A multifunction security solution delivered as a cloud-based service to protect multiple satellite offices or remote users. FWaaS provides a more flexible and centralized way to deliver enterprise firewall features to multiple locations.

How does it benefit my organization? FWaaS gives distributed organizations an efficient way to deliver secure internet connectivity to all work sites (including remote work sites). FWaaS competes with secure web gateways and web application firewalls to achieve many of the same aims. Interest in FWaaS will grow over the next two to five years as solutions integrate more closely with SD-WANs and prove consistently good latency across all endpoints.

Hybrid cloud

What is it? A combination of integrated public and private cloud services that operate as separate entities. Distinct from multicloud, which is the use of two different cloud service providers, hybrid cloud includes some enterprise-managed infrastructure with the addition of service integration, cross-service security, availability/disaster recovery and other useful capabilities.  

How does it benefit my organization? Hybrid cloud theoretically combines the cost optimization and flexibility benefits associated with cloud with the control and compliance capabilities of private infrastructure. About 10% of MSEs have implemented hybrid cloud for availability/disaster recovery purposes, but that number is expected to grow rapidly. MSEs seek to optimize their resources as they explore new business opportunities that require flexible infrastructure. Expect high benefit from this still-immature technology.


What is it? Designed for IT leaders who want simplified solutions, hyperconvergence is a building-block approach to deploying software and infrastructure. Hyperconvergence vendors use off-the-shelf infrastructure and packaged software, which they can deliver as a service or in a public cloud.

How does it benefit my organization? Hyperconvergence is attractive to enterprises seeking IT management simplicity. Hyperconvergence allows IT teams to deliver or add functionality more frequently through modular solutions, instead of requiring business stakeholders to wait for less frequent but bigger upgrades.

The acquisition cost of hyperconvergence may be higher than for three-tiered compute, storage and networking implementations, but the management efficiency is often better, leading to faster response times. MSEs can eventually expect lower operational costs, especially if they standardize on hyperconvergence. 

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