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Predicts 2011: Pattern-Based Strategy Technologies and Business Practices Gain Momentum
Gartner introduced Pattern-Based Strategy as a new discipline in 2009, with a focus on helping business leaders to move from reacting to events that had major effects on business strategy and operations, to proactively seeking and adapting to patterns that might indicate an emerging event (threats and opportunities). In this Predicts 2011 research, we explore how these technologies and business practices are taking hold and will grow in businesses during the next few years.

Key Findings
  • Three critical technologies will be increasingly integrated and adopted for pattern seeking and modeling in the next three years – predictive analytics tools, complex-event processing (CEP) engines and social network analysis (SNA) tools.
  • Gartner data on economic and other performance metrics indicates that organizations pursuing aggressive information management, combined with pattern detection analysis, are all outperforming their peers, based on various performance metrics, by more than 25%.
  • Most organizations measure performance; they don't manage it.
Recommendations
Vendors of business intelligence (BI), middleware suites, business process management (BPM) suites and CRM systems:
  • Consider investing in predictive analytics, CEP and SNA technologies to meet the demand for continuous intelligence internally and externally.
User enterprises:
  • Understand if and how vendors can help with business change management to model and adapt to opportunities and risks that patterns might be indicating.
  • If you intend to utilize Pattern-Based Strategies, alter your business culture to accept unexpected analytic results as valid and as having the authority to challenge "gut feel" responses.
  • Develop a business strategy that explicitly mitigates the threats and exploits the opportunities of greater transparency.
  • Define a metrics continuum that links lagging financial performance indicators to leading nonfinancial indicators and, ultimately, to weak signals.
STRATEGIC PLANNING ASSUMPTIONS
By 2013, IT spending for pattern seeking and modeling will generate over $2 billion in software revenue.

By 2013, every software "megavendor" will offer technologies to enhance the seeking and analysis of new and emerging patterns.

By 2013, organizations using system-based pattern detection in strategic planning and tactical decisions will outperform their peers by 20%.

By 2013, timely and reusable exposure of material information to stakeholders will yield a 20% higher return on equity.

Through 2015, 80% of enterprises will lack a coordinated enterprisewide approach for dealing with information from the collective.

Through 2015, organizations that implement a performance-driven culture will outperform their peers by at least 30%.

ANALYSIS
What You Need to Know

One of the positive lessons that many organizations have learned during the economic downturn and the global recession is that waiting to act till some event impacts business is too late. Rapid business, economic, social and political changes are leading organizations to shift their thinking from reactive (sense and respond) to proactive (seek, model and adapt) in order to detect opportunity and threat events that could affect their business.

Pattern-Based Strategy is about organizations seeking patterns (a set of recurring and/or related business activities, events, and weak or strong signals of change) that may have a positive or negative impact on business strategy and operations. 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. Current and emerging technologies – such as predictive analytics, business activity monitoring (BAM), social network analysis, and operations planning and modeling – provide the critical catalysts and the tools that enable organizations to support, encourage and enable business change that is fueled by people, process and information change.

In this Predicts research, we explore how these technologies and business practices are taking hold and will grow in businesses during the next few years. To accomplish this, we look at a few critical trends to develop a set of predictions to help guide and inform organization planning. While we group these into technology trends and business trends, it is critical to note that any technology trend will affect business trends and vice versa.

Technology trends:
  1. The emergence of a real market of tools and applications that can begin to support Pattern-Based Strategy – see the first Strategic Planning Assumption (SPA).
  2. Clear market positioning of products and services by major vendors in support of seeking, modeling and/or adapting to Pattern-Based Strategy – see the second SPA.
  3. An evolution from "gut feel" planning to system-based planning as an integral part of strategic planning cycles – see the third SPA.
Business trends:
  1. The change of focus of transparency from "have to do" for regulatory reasons to a "must do" for business growth and transformation – see the fourth SPA.
  2. The opportunity for business and IT leaders to capitalize on the massive growth of information and intelligence within the collective that could affect their business – see the fifth SPA.
  3. The critical requirement that organizations shift their thinking to focus on emerging patterns and weak signals, and to proactively evaluate them for their impact on strategy and performance management at all levels of the organization – see the sixth SPA.
Strategic Planning Assumptions
Strategic Planning Assumption: By 2013, IT spending for pattern seeking and modeling will generate over $2 billion in software revenue.

Analysis By: Regina Casonato, Yvonne Genovese and Dan Sommer

Key Findings: Pattern detection is not new. Any human activity involves pattern seeking and modeling – for example, making a business decision, playing chess and identifying a potential problem are all about pattern seeking and modeling. What's different today is that a growing number of IT technologies can be used for certain types of pattern matching (finding new instances that match a known pattern) and pattern discovery (finding a new pattern), which leverage the growing volume of data and events available that otherwise would be impossible for people to seek and model in an effective manner.

Three critical technologies are and will be increasingly integrated and adopted for pattern seeking and modeling during the next three years. While there is more to Pattern-Based Strategy, such as process adaptation, just these three segments combined will generate over $2 billion in software revenue by 2013:
  • Predictive analytics tools identify and predict patterns of opportunities or risks (for example, in security, to spot patterns so the defenders can recognize the threats). Knowing what happened and why it happened is also required to do good modeling and predictive analysis. Adoption of predictive analytics, which includes predictive modeling, scoring of predictive models and forecasting, is growing, and we project it will contribute $1.2 billion in software revenue by 2013, from $829 million in 2009. This growth will also generate opportunities for system integrators (SIs) – combining, engineering and delivering solutions based on these technologies will be an opportunity and challenge for SIs.
  • Complex-event processing engines can be used for pattern matching and discovery at runtime. CEP engines listen to event streams continuously, and when they find a set of events that match or fall outside of a particular pattern, they trigger specific actions – alert a person, start a business process, turn off a machine and so on. The CEP market is growing rapidly, with a projected worldwide market size of around $580 million by 2013 and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31% from 2008 to 2013.
  • Social network analysis tools analyze patterns of relationships among people in groups and communities. SNA involves collecting data from multiple sources (such as surveys, e-mails, blogs and social networks), analyzing the data to identify the human networks and relationships, sentiment, and market trends for patterns that may signal opportunities for cross-selling, upselling or fraudulent behavior. By 2013, this market will reach $250 million, with a CAGR of 24%.
Market Implications: Pattern seeking and modeling technologies are gaining momentum. We anticipate increasing merger and acquisition (M&A) activity as mainstream infrastructure vendors continue to focus on Pattern-Based Strategies and add predictive analytics, CEP and SNA technologies to their portfolios. We also expect the simplification of technology adoption, and its crossover or leverage in the different markets to continue during the next three years.

CEP has moved beyond the financial services, defense and intelligence sectors to include logistics supply chain, Web commerce, CRM and other markets.

Interest in SNA is growing in industries with significant quantities of customer information to be mined – for example, telecommunications, banking and retail. In telecommunications, SNA uses information from call distribution records (such as the number dialed, incoming number, call count and types of call) to find out about individual consumers and their calling circles. Gartner expects that, by 2014, SNA functions will be integrated into traditional big CRM applications from vendors such as SAP, Oracle, salesforce.com, Microsoft, Amdocs, ATG, SAS, IBM and RightNow.

Gartner estimates that only a third of organizations that have BI initiatives under way leverage data-mining and predictive analytics technologies today. Most analysts within organizations lack a thorough understanding of which technologies can solve which particular pattern-mining problems. However, recent events – for example, IBM's acquisition of SPSS for $1.2 billion and Google's entry into the market with a free predictive product – signal that this market is heating up and that more vendors will attempt to capture a piece of this growing market, possibly through more acquisitions.

Recommendations:
  • User enterprises: Get educated in the area of predictive analytics, CEP and SNA technologies to understand the benefits they can bring and where their use can be appropriate.
  • Vendors of BI, middleware suites, BPM suites and CRM systems: Consider investing in predictive analytics, CEP and SNA technologies to meet the demand for continuous intelligence internally and externally.
Strategic Planning Assumption: By 2013, every software "megavendor" will offer technologies to enhance the seeking and analysis of new and emerging patterns.

Analysis By: Betsy Burton

Key Findings: The business environment emerging from the recession demands an increased focus on detecting leading indicators of change, and on identifying and quantifying risk emerging from new patterns, rather than obsessing over lagging indicators of performance. In this way, enterprises move from a world of "sense and respond" to one focused on "seek and act." An increasing number of clients are seeking new and emerging patterns that may have an impact on their strategies or operations from internal and external people, processes and information.

In response to this market need, several of the major software vendors are starting to focus their products on this emerging opportunity, including:
  • SAP with BusinessObjects Predictive Workbench,1 as well as SAP industry solutions (including mining, healthcare, retail, sustainability, manufacturing, automotive and chemicals)
  • Google Prediction2
  • IBM with predictive analytics,3 social analytics and content analytics
  • Oracle with predictive analytics4 and business analytics (Skywire Software)
While some of these products and services are in their early stages, and some still in vendor-supported academic papers, they are indicators that the vendors are evolving their products toward supporting pattern seeking of stored and real-time data, social networks, content, and vertical applications.

Market Implications: Seeking patterns has long been in the lexicon of business (retail, mining, healthcare and so on) and science. Today, it is gaining prominence as software vendors begin to offer tools and applications to enable businesses to seek leading signals of market, economic, business and social change. During the next three years, more existing products will be positioned and evolve to support pattern seeking and analysis, as well as new products introduced to the market.

The challenges, however, are twofold:
  • No one technology will solve all of an organization's needs to seek and analyze patterns from all the potential information, people, process and technology sources. Vendors will most likely offer products that are most relevant and an extension of their current offerings.
  • Technology alone cannot support an organization's ability to seek, model and adapt to emerging patterns. It is equally critical for organizations to understand and evolve their business, people, processes and information.
Recommendations:
  • Before looking for any technologies to support Pattern-Based Strategy, understand what sources (people, processes or information) you need to use to seek and analyze patterns.
  • Ask vendors to clarify how pattern-seeking products fit into their overall business strategy, so as to ensure that new and emerging products are part of an overall vision, and not just marketing hype.
  • Understand if and how vendors can help with business change management (services, training, evaluation tools and industry frameworks) to model and adapt to opportunities and risks that patterns might be indicating.
Strategic Planning Assumption: By 2013, organizations using systems-based pattern detection in strategic planning and tactical decisions will outperform their peers by 20%.

Analysis By: Mark Beyer

Key Findings:
  • Gartner data indicates that organizations pursuing aggressive information management, combined with pattern detection analysis, are all outperforming their peers based on various performance metrics (such as market penetration, margin realization and cost control strategies) by more than 25%.
  • IBM's Global Chief Financial Officer Study, and the subsequent "The New Value Integrator" report, provide quantitative arguments that the aggressive use of information management practices, combined with strategic analysis for business patterns, yields higher economic performance metrics in nearly every metrics category.
  • EMC estimates that the amount of data/information available worldwide doubles each year.
  • An Informatica-sponsored study of the Oracle Applications Users Group reports that 87% of all performance issues in applications are related in some way to data growth.
Market Implications: The quantifiable gains from detecting new and emerging business patterns and leveraging them in strategic and tactical decision making, combined with the enormous growth in data volume, create a powerful argument for the use of computer-driven pattern detection to augment human inference.

Throughout the late 1990s and the entire decade from 2000 to 2009, organizations demonstrated improved cost control, market penetration, margin improvements and other competitive advantages when utilizing BI and performance management solutions. A variety of technologies and best practices for analyzing enormous data volumes were deployed, revised, refined and redeployed. The business demands for information in decisions created a pendulum swing between performance and completeness of available details, forcing one set of compromises or another. It is definitive that data or information volumes will continue to grow at rates that exceed the growth rate of the physical capacity of storage and processing hardware. It thus becomes imperative that a multistage strategy emerges, combining machine processing with human processing for using data in making decisions.

Simple reports or available data within an analyst's interface deployed as stand-alone solutions have been widely adopted and will begin to fail in creating competitive differentiation. This is due in part to the fact that they are now widely deployed and used. More importantly, these types of solutions often require human intervention to make connections between two or more interim analyses.

Recommendations:
  • Organizations that intend to utilize Pattern-Based Strategies: Alter your business cultures to accept unexpected analytics results as valid and as having the authority to challenge gut-feel responses. Further, if pattern analysis cannot overturn gut-feel decisions, use analytics at least to refine and augment decisions.
  • Use pattern recognition tools to deploy a form of computer-assisted or guided analysis, which encourages the human decision maker to recognize alternative conclusions, emergent patterns and contraindicated trending.
  • Alter the strategic and tactical decision-making culture to adapt to minority or rising-trend opinions in a formalized process.
Strategic Planning Assumption: By 2013, timely and reusable exposure of material information to stakeholders will yield a 20% higher return on equity.

Analysis By: Michael Smith

Key Findings: Transparency has become a buzzword used generally as the antidote for the global financial crisis of 2008. It may very well be, but before transparency is used to lower risk and improve decision making, it must be defined.

Transparency is a condition in which the material facts of an enterprise are made available to its primary stakeholders in a timely and, preferably, reusable manner, including:
  • Material facts encompass reliable information that is critical to the decision making of both internal and external stakeholders.
  • Primary stakeholders include shareholders, creditors, employees, customers, suppliers and strategic partners.
  • Reusability allows consumers of information to construct their own analyses without compromising the contextual meaning of the material facts.
In its white paper titled "Quality and Transparency in Business Reporting: A Call for Action in the Public Interest," the Enhanced Business Reporting Consortium (a nonprofit organization formed by the AICPA) estimates "discounts of 80 to 160 basis points in their average cost of debt and 150 to 300 basis points in their average cost of equity" relative to firms that provide greater transparency to the marketplace.

Stanford Graduate School of Business professor David Larcker determined that companies that use transparency internally earn over 5% higher return on equity.

Combining these two studies yields our projection that companies that expose material information to internal and external stakeholders in a timely and reusable fashion will earn a 20% higher return on equity by 2013.

Market Implications: Businesses must clearly define their stakeholder groups, and they must thoroughly understand the information that each of these groups relies on to make the critical decisions that define them as a stakeholder. Businesses must also understand the channels through which each stakeholder group obtains its information. Finally, businesses must actively provide reliable information that addresses the needs of its stakeholders in a timely and reliable manner.

The need for transparency will have a significant impact on IT organizations and IT service providers. New channels for communicating material facts (that is, social media) require new tools and expertise to gain competitive advantage. Reusability requires new forms of structured data and taxonomies (XBRL). These new sources of digital information will have a significant impact on required BI capabilities in both private- and public-sector enterprises.

Recommendations:
  • Use our research listed below to understand the forces contributing to the need for greater transparency, and the new sources of information that are beginning to satisfy that need.
  • Develop a business strategy that explicitly mitigates the threats and exploits the opportunities of greater transparency.
Strategic Planning Assumption: Through 2015, 80% of enterprises will lack a coordinated enterprisewide approach for dealing with information from the collective.

Analysis By: Tom Austin and Bill Gassman

Key Findings: About 600 million people engaged in at least 100 million collectives are influencing one another's behavior and buying activities, all outside the traditional reach of enterprise activities. Together, they are generating exabytes of new, "nontraditional" business information annually. Various departments inside enterprises are rapidly and independently awakening to the B2B and business-to-consumer opportunities to seek out and adapt to new patterns, which may indicate shifting attitudes and intentions, and the people and venues that are influencing them.

The scale of this opportunity is massive – as will be the trove of information generated out on the Internet that enterprises will need to analyze on a near-real-time basis. Departments will be trying to tap into, influence and use the collective, launching initiatives to, for example, manage their brands, provide better customer support, create new products and drive sales. In most organizations, this stream of information is being ignored by IT organizations, while business departments go their own way, because these huge (and valuable) external information streams do not fit with traditional ways of thinking about IT information or processes.

Market Implications: Without a coordinated, central focus on developing enterprisewide services for external, collective information (the vast preponderance of which is poorly structured), there will be an explosion of poorly managed new "data" inside enterprises. There will also be an explosion in (often duplicative) spending for tools and services, in part because of a lack of central coordination and planning. This is a job for IT professionals, who should not shirk the opportunity. It's a natural extension of the role of IT – but it requires new thinking in terms of roles, responsibilities, integration and governance. It also requires the application of leadership, operational and technical skills to improve enterprise effectiveness. An iterative approach is best, because disrupting current social media activities of business users is not an option.

Recommendations:
  • IT executives and their direct reports should work with business executives to:
  • Assess existing activities (across all organizations) and skills.
  • Seek internal "first adopter" innovators, and engage them in planning.
  • Put in place skill improvement programs where necessary.
  • Define the role of the IT organization within the enterprise's online social strategy, and allocate the investment required to meet commitments.
    • To achieve continuous improvement, create two focus areas – one for listening to the collective, one for action. Both are critical. For listening, link to external services that mine Internet-based social applications (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, product reviews and so on) for key, collective-related patterns related to sentiment, attitudes, intentions and ideas.
    • Engage with enterprise-sponsored, customer-facing social applications. Integrate and time correlated social data with internal processes such as customer marketing, sales and support. For action, help business users augment departmental operations to engage with and exploit collective activities on the Internet.
    • Work with line-of-business leaders to maximize return and reduce overlapping and conflicting activities and investments. Within 90 days, jointly sponsor, with business leaders, a collaborative, enterprisewide "exploit the collective" planning process initiative to augment existing processes (such as innovation, hiring, promotion and support).
    • Be prepared to listen and learn. Many of the best practices are department-specific and being developed industrywide. Become excellent at the basics, and look for opportunities to be unique.
Strategic Planning Assumption: Through 2015, organizations that implement a performance-driven culture will outperform their peers by at least 30%.

Analysis By: Nigel Rayner

Key Findings: 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. Pattern-Based Strategy requires a completely different approach, in which emerging patterns and weak signals are proactively evaluated for their impact on strategy at all levels of the organization. This requires the implementation of a performance-driven culture, in which:
  • Performance is managed using leading indicators rather than with lagging financial measures. Leading indicators will be linked in an enterprise metrics framework that establishes cause-and-effect relationships between leading and lagging indicators.
  • Planning is supported by sophisticated analytic applications that enable managers and executives to model the impact of weak signals and emerging patterns on business strategies. These analytic applications will also leverage predictive analytics to help executives identify emerging patterns in current business activities. This will help organizations distinguish "news" from "noise," and will move them to a "seek and act" mode, rather than one based on "sense and respond."
  • Planning systems will be linked together across the enterprise so that changes in strategic plans can quickly be reflected in operational plans. Most organizations struggle to reforecast their business plans in the face of changing business conditions. For example, according to APQC, it takes average performers eight days to prepare a new financial forecast, while Gartner has seen an implementation of linked planning systems enable an organization to replan its entire business in less than one day.
  • Leading indicators will be used to help align employee behaviors to achieving corporate and departmental objectives. This will be aided by a culture of transparency, in which performance information is widely shared across the organization rather than being concentrated in the hands of a few managers who are "in the know."
Organizations that implement a performance-driven culture will outperform their peers in terms of both effectiveness management processes and business performance. For example, the organization that was able to replan its entire business in less than a day has consistently outperformed its main competitors and the markets by between 25% and 50% in terms of share price performance, while the effectiveness of its planning exceeds the "best performers," who average three days (according to APQC). Although examples of organizations that have fully implemented a performance-driven culture are rare, some organizations that exhibit these characteristics are reporting impressive results.

Market Implications: A performance-driven culture will impact the vendors and service providers that deliver performance management applications (that is, packaged analytic applications focused on improving business performance across different business domains and industries). There will be increasing adoption of these applications in various domains, creating significant revenue opportunities. For example, the corporate performance management (CPM) suite market is already approaching $2 billion per annum, making the whole area of performance management applications a very attractive one. However, today, no one vendor provides a fully comprehensive solution, so the growth of interest in the analytic applications that support a performance-driven culture will likely fuel another round of acquisitions of small, specialist vendors by larger vendors.

There will also be increased embedding of predictive and pattern-seeking technologies in performance management applications. Today, some of these applications have limited predictive capabilities, but sophisticated statistical and correlation capabilities will become a key part of these applications in the future. Supply chain planning is one area where powerful optimization technologies are already used to predict outcomes in complex business environments, and these algorithmic approaches will increasingly be applied in other business domains.

Technology alone cannot support an organization's ability to seek, model and adapt to emerging patterns. Implementing a performance-driven culture will require organizations to understand and evolve their business, people, processes and information. This will create opportunities for service providers to help organizations identify, for example, the right leading indicators and to provide change management capabilities to assist with the major cultural shifts that will be required.

Recommendations:
  • Define a metrics continuum that links lagging financial performance indicators to leading nonfinancial indicators and, ultimately, to weak signals.
  • Ensure that corporate strategy is properly reflected in a strategic plan that links strategic initiatives to revenue and capital and operating expenses. Without this foundation, it will be impossible to move to Pattern-Based Strategies.
  • Link strategic, financial and operational planning systems with technology that supports dynamic reforecasting to enable the impact of changing patterns to be quickly assessed. In this way, patterns become a fundamental driver of strategy.
  • Create a culture that uses changes in performance metrics to align employee behaviors and incentives with corporate goals and objectives.
A Look Back In response to your requests, Gartner is taking a look back at some key predictions from previous years. We have intentionally selected predictions from opposite ends of the scale – one where we were wholly or largely on target, as well as one we missed. However, this is the first year that Gartner has published a stand-alone Predicts document for Pattern-Based Strategy technologies and business practices. For this reason, we do not have a body of past predictions that we can track for successes or failures.

Acronym Key and Glossary Terms
Pattern-Based StrategyPattern-Based Strategy is the discipline that enables business leaders to seek, model and adapt to new business patterns.
business patternA business pattern is a set of recurring and/or related elements (such as business activities, events, and weak or strong signals) that indicates a business opportunity or threat.
weak or strong signalA weak or strong signal is a piece of information, activity and/or event that indicates an impending change that might have an impact on your business pattern.
business pattern recognitionThe aim of business pattern recognition is to understand how elements (activities, events, objects and information) may form new patterns that represent an opportunity for innovation or a threat of disruption to business operations or strategies.
collectiveThe collective comprises individuals, groups, communities, mobs, markets and firms that shape the direction of society and business. The collective is not new, but technology has made it more powerful. Affordable and accessible technology has enabled individuals and communities to come together in a new way – and enabled change to happen more rapidly.
performance-driven cultureA performance-driven culture is one that focuses on disciplines, activities, technologies and resources that enable an organization to monitor leading indicators of change, and to use performance to enable change by aligning organizational resources with strategic performance metrics.


Evidence
1 SAP BusinessObjects Predictive Workbench (www.sap.com/usa/solutions/sapbusinessobjects/large/business-intelligence/advanced-analytics/predictive-workbench/featuresfunctions/index.epx)

2 Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics/product.html)

3 IBM's predictive, social and content analytics (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13846_3-20008717-62.html) and (www.eweek.com/c/a/Messaging-and-Collaboration/IBM-Lotus-Connections-Adding-Social-Analytics-Moderation-504253)

4 Oracle's predictive analytics (www.oracle.com/us/solutions/thoughtleadership/predictive-analytics-173109.pdf#search%3D%22predictive%2520analytics%22") and business analytics (Skywire Software)

This research is part of a set of related research pieces. See "Predicts 2011: IT Opens Up to New Demands and New Outcomes" for an overview.

Gartner RAS Core Research Note G00208030, Betsy Burton, Yvonne Genovese, Nigel Rayner, Regina Casonato, Michael Smith, Mark A. Beyer, Tom Austin, Bill Gassman, Dan Sommer, 01 December 2010

 
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