Research Architecture

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

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.

Key Issues

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:

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.