Bruce Robertson

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Bruce Robertson
Research VP
15 years at Gartner
27 years IT industry

Bruce Robertson is a research vice president at Gartner in the Business Process Management (BPM) group, formerly in the Enterprise Planning and Architecture Strategies (EPAS) group. Read Full Bio

Announcing Gartner’s 2014 BPM Excellence Awards

by Bruce Robertson  |  October 2, 2013  |  Comments Off

We are now accepting nominations for our 2014 Gartner Business Process Management Excellence Awards. As we did last year, winners will present at our three BPM Summit events in 2014, and so the submission deadlines are structured to match those events:

Gartner would love to see your excellence and help you share that widely!

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Category: BPM     Tags:

Last Gartner BPM Summit of 2013 Coming Up May 13-14 in Sydney, Australia

by Bruce Robertson  |  April 11, 2013  |  1 Comment

Time to sign up for our last Gartner BPM Summit in 2013 in APAC:

See also the winners of our BPM Excellence Awards.  See you there!


These two are already in the books — thanks to those who attended:

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Category: BPM Uncategorized     Tags:

Gartner Annnounces the Regional Winners of 2013’s BPM Excellence Awards

by Bruce Robertson  |  April 11, 2013  |  1 Comment

Gartner is very pleased to announce the winners of our Business Process Management Excellence Awards in our three BPM Summit geographies: EMEA, North America and APAC.  The official press announcements are here:

We made awards in three separate categories this year:

  • Best Business Outcome Drive by BPM
  • Best BPM Organization
  • Best Use of BPM Technology

We are proud to be able to highlight the key BPM oriented solutions provided by these organizations, and to have each of these winners speak at our three regional BPM Summit conferences, including the APAC BPM Summit still to come in Sydney, Australia, May 13-14, 2013.  Please join us there!

We will announce our overall worldwide single winner from these 9 regional winners soon. 

Who do you think should be our single overall winner from this group?  Please comment.


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Category: BPM     Tags:

Coming up in 2013: Gartner BPM Summits in UK, US, Australia

by Bruce Robertson  |  January 7, 2013  |  Comments Off

Time to sign up for our Gartner BPM Summits in 2013 — and we have 3 locations for your pleasure: 

Full details on our web site as noted above.  Also see Jim Sinur’s post with topics and more detail too.  See also the winners of our BPM Excellence Awards.  See you there!


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Category: BPM     Tags: ,

Gartner announces deadline for BPM Excellence Awards: 14 Dec 2012

by Bruce Robertson  |  November 27, 2012  |  Comments Off

For those with great user case stories about business process improvement (BPI) or business process management (BPM), please submit them for Gartner’s BPM Excellence Awards.

BPM Excellence Awards

Due date for submissions:14 December 2012

Here’s the link to the “Gartner Accepting Nominations for the 2013 Business Process Management Excellence Awards” press release, and to our BPM Excellence Award web page online with all the details you’ll need. Alternatively, you can just email, which is also where all entries must be mailed by December 14, 2012.

We would love to have you participate!

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Category: BPM     Tags: ,

Cap and Trade EA Waivers?

by Bruce Robertson  |  May 4, 2011  |  25 Comments

It’s all the rage on Capital Hill — can environmental legislation take a new step toward reducing global warming by another round of cap and trade targetting new thresholds of air quality.  As The Washington Post covered in Vehicle Emission Rules to Tighten, the US Federal government seems to be moving to enact legislation setting new mpg and co2 efficiency goals.  It worked for acid rain, they say.

One interesting thing motivating industry to sign up to more stringent standards is that they get a national one, rather than separate ones for different states and cities.  Imagine the cost of complying with too many different standards.  Having a widely shared standard simplifies things, and surely reduces costs for the supplier and thus price to the consumer.  Simply put, the design principles and requirements for vehicles are changing — providers must adjust to consumer demand.

This should sound very familiar to any EA practitioner.  It’s hard to get any standards set or complied with.  Does this case offer a good example we could leverage?  Yes: play the role of mediator between provider and consumer.  However, since EA is often seen as in the pocket of the provider (central IT, the one trying to get standards set), this often backfires.

How can EA remain inbetween the consumer and the provider?  This is one great argument for having EA report outside of IT, not just outside of application development and infrastructure/operations — tho that too is a boundary condition best straddled too.

But, back to cap-and-trade.   Maybe this can work for EA, particularly for waivers.   You can break the rules, not follow the standards, but there is a cost.  And, you can trade your set of waiver grants to others for a price.  What would that price be?  I get your waivers next year?  I get some of your budget for my project?  If a price could be created, trading might occur.

Then again, maybe this is half-baked.  Maybe there aren’t enough waiver situations where such trading would be needed.   How many projects do you even have to manage with respect to EA waivers.  Too much extra work just to implement this.  Worth doing for $millions, but not for a few bucks here or there.



Category: EA     Tags:

Enterprise Technical Architecture in 4 Slides

by Bruce Robertson  |  May 4, 2011  |  26 Comments

Next week I’ll be presenting on this “Enterprise Technical Architecture in 4 Slides” topic at Gartner’s EA Summit conference in London, and then again on June 22-23 in San Diego (event details in the links per event — follow the event on twitter using the #GartnerEA hashtag or me directly @brucemr).

We’ve noticed (since we review so many client architecture documents) that many EA practitioners have trouble generating a high level, conceptual, simple and direct statement of their enterprise architecture, particularly in enterprise technical architecture (ETA). This however is required — so many stakeholders will never read a longer detailed description of the architecture. You may of course still need to create deeper logical and implementation level detail about things — but these are mostly for those doing the building, not those who would use the resulting new system or standards. In fact, most if not all EA stakeholders need — at least at first — a simple summary of just what the architecture is.

In this presentation I’m going to describe one effective way to handle this problem: just use a 4 slides technique. What 4 slides? Future state, current state, gap analysis and migration plan. Not surprising really — these are the base deliverables of any EA discipline at a high level. There are of course many best practices and indeed alternatives to the representations of such information to consider — I’ll discuss those too. But, the basic point I’m making is that you can do it in 4 slides. You should be able to do it in 4 slides — and if you can’t, then you’re not doing a good job at sending key yet simple messages about your ETA.

Ironically, however, I have more than 4 slides in my presentation. Oh well. I tried to make this the shortest Gartner presentation ever, but some overhead creeps in! The meat is the 4 slides, however.

Do you have a 4 slide approach like this for your overall ETA story, or more specifically for more specific areas (a given technical domain strategy, a technical service architecture, and technical pattern architecture)? How do you make the points simple enough to speak easily to key constituencies and stakeholders, the very ones who just don’t want to hear much about why you’re proposing this or the details of what’s inside?


Category: EA     Tags:

Is Amazon Your Architecture?

by Bruce Robertson  |  May 4, 2011  |  26 Comments

Next week I’ll be presenting on this “Is Amazon Your Architecture?” topic at Gartner’s EA Summit conference in London, and then again on June 22-23 in San Diego (event details in the links per event — follow on twitter using the #GartnerEA hashtag or me directly @brucemr).  My goal is to discuss the way Amazon has architected their store and logistics applications (sites, systems, solutions) with an extreme SOA architecture, and then how they’ve taken a similar extreme services architecture approach for infrastructure services with Amazon Web Services (AWS).   For many organizations both the application and infrastructure architecture approaches are useful, depending on the problem.

FYI: I’m only tangentially suggesting enterprises should leverage AWS or Amazon’s store and other “SaaS” like application options.  The point here is should their architecture (particularly technical) be used inside the enterprise.  For many organizations, I think the answer is yes.

What do you think?  Does your organization have solutions that require extreme SOA?

I think many do — and Amazon’s store is something not unlike many of your enterprises might actually try to build, so it’s a good example to use.   Amazon’s lessons learned are worth hearing about, I believe.

However, many of us have applications that can NOT take an extreme SOA approach without extensive modification (or complete reworking, more likely), and there’s no money for that any time soon.  For these non-extreme applications, should we then consider using AWS?  The answer is: sometimes.  Monolithic apps that can’t run in parallel on separate virtual machines (and as recent EBS and S3 outages have reminded us — in separate availability zones and regions) are very risky on the infrastructure services Amazon and other providers offer today.  However, there are times when the risks are worth it — such as for test and dev work.  Depends on the problem and the risk tolerance of the enterprise.  Even with the recent Amazon outages, some organizations can live with a system not being up for a whole day.  It all depends on the problem and the risk tolerance of the organization.

Still, the real lesson most enterprises should learn from AWS is not to use external cloud services alone, but to structure their own technical services or infrastructure service offerings not unlike AWS.  Look at how Amazon defines their AWS portfolio.   Look at how they describe each service (not much on the provider, but lots on how to use it and service levels offered).  Really peruse to see how they market their shared services.

Can your IT organization do this?  Have you described the “what does the customer get” part of your shared technical services as well as you’ve defined how they are built or provisioned?


Category: Cloud EA     Tags:

Are You Doing Infrastructure Portfolio Management?

by Bruce Robertson  |  December 6, 2010  |  24 Comments

At Gartner’s Data Center Conference this week in Las Vegas, I’m hoping to get lots of input on how infrastructure leaders manage infrastructure investment.  I’m particularly interested in seeing if similar portfolio management techniques are leveraged, as for example in the fairly common discipline of Application Portfolio Management (APM).  In fact, I’m hoping to discover what I believe are current practitioners of and best practices for a new “infrastructure portfolio management” (IPM) discipline.

I have my own ideas based on my experience to date with infrastructure planning and technical architecture planners I’ve spoken with over the years.  But, frankly, I still haven’t seen much focus on a holistic approach to planning particularly the shared infrastructure services with portfolio management techniques.  Since these investments are made separately from any single application, they are hard to get funded yet critical to achieving new efficiencies and effectiveness in infrastructure.

I do propose that planning a set of shared infrastructure services – including WAN, LAN, voice, as well as mainframe as the most mature cases – is getting to be more critical as there are more and more shared services.  Today, most IT organizations have shared storage, shared compute for platforms other than the mainframe using virtualization technologies, shared security services (like identity or firewall), shared middleware based infrastructure (shared portals, shared ESB, etc.) and so on.   Most organizations admit they have more and more of their IT spend (and most of their infrastructure spend) tied up into these systems.  But, they don’t yet apply APM-inspired portfolio management techniques to manage the investments in these assets.

I do propose that infrastructure planners and technical architects must leverage this set of techniques moving forward.  They should show a portfolio of the services, defined with both provider and more importantly consumer viewpoints well documented and agreed upon.  Then, they need to develop a road map for moving that portfolio of investments from the current state toward the future state.  They need to make sure these are integrated or synergized with the APM planning too.

Instead, we seem to attack this problem one shared system at a time, without a concerted effort to see a portfolio level view.   Why not leverage proven APM techniques?   Why not describe the intended upgrades for the shared services as being run or grow or transform the business investments?  Why not review the road maps for change with key stakeholders, including those focused only on applications, only on APM, or only on projects.

I’m sure some of you are doing more than one system planning here, but exactly how do you do it?  I’d love to hear the stories.  If you’re out here at the Gartner Data Center Conference this week, come by and setup a 1-1 with me and tell me your story.  If you’re already overbooked at the Data Center Conference or aren’t out in Las Vegas, please don’t hesitate to comment publicly on this blog or privately email me ( with some sense of what you’re doing.  I’d like to highlight a few best practices from the field in my research soon, and frankly I need more examples of what’s working and what’s not.  Perhaps you think I’m off my rocker on this – then tell me why (but also how you “manage your investments in shared infrastructure”).

Thanks.  I look forward to discussing this with you all.

For more, see past blog:


Category: EA     Tags:

Enterprise Architecture at Gartner Symposium 2010 in Orlando

by Bruce Robertson  |  October 15, 2010  |  25 Comments

Many of you who read Gartner blogs and specifically our EA team’s blogs will be attending our Symposium/ITxpo conference next week.  As I was using the “My Agenda” function to setup my own time, I thought it would be wise to mention a few things we’re covering on EA topics at the conference for others attending.  EA analysts at Symposium Orlando include: Philip Allega, Scott Bittler, Betsy Burton, Nick Gall and David Newman.

Nick and David are both discussing Hybrid Thinking,  then Nick adds EA teams and EA maturity and David adds Information Sharing. Philip is discussing EA for CIOs, EA and portfolio management, and ITScore.  Betsy is discussing EBA and EA governance, along with Pattern Based Strategy.  Scott is discussing EA principles, EA communications, EA requirements and the EA Hype Cycle.  I’ll be floating around, meeting with clients and prospects and otherwise meeting all of you attending at the various functions.  We’d all love to talk to you if you’re attending, so do please say hello.  There will be EA birds-of-a-feather seating at breakfasts as well.

The full layout of different choices (sessions, analyst user roundtables, workshops, and case studies) is listed here.  The sessions are described in the “My Agenda” function here.  A few things that are new that you may want to check out include:

  • ITScore — we’ve updated the EA Maturity Assessment, and Phil will be discussing this 9am Tuesday.  Clients can prepare by reading this in advance: ITScore for Enterprise Architecture (G00205016)
  • EA Hype Cycle — we’ve created this for the first time, and Scott will be discussing it 12:30pm Tuesday.  Clients can prepare by reading this in advance: Hype Cycle for Enterprise Architecture, 2010 (G00201646)
  • (check the my agenda function to confirm availability (some workshops and roundtables may be full already)

Finally, if you are attending, please don’t hesitate to setup a one-on-one (1-1) meeting with me or our other EA team members attending: Philip Allega, Scott Bittler, Betsy Burton, Nick Gall and David Newman.  You can schedule as you need at the Dolphin  Pacific Hall scheduling desk or at interactive kiosks around the event.

See you there!


Category: EA     Tags: