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How Gartner Creates The Top 10 Strategic Technologies List

by David Cearley  |  October 15, 2008  |  1 Comment

I’ve been getting a number of questions asking how we go about creating the top 10 strategic technologies list and how we intend for our clients to use it.  We do have a methodology  for evaluating technologies for inclusion but the process is not a quantitative rating process.  The methodology defines how we go about our qualitative asessment. 

Identification of technologies for consideration is an ongoing process.  Input comes from many sources:  gartner research tools such as the hype cycle, discussions with Gartner research communities, surveys and input from end users, discussions with other researchers (e.g., technology vendors and academics), and other research efforts (e.g., studying the chatter in the blogosphere).

 

To be considered for the list a technology should have the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Other factors that we use to evaluate inclusion and ranking are:  breadth of impact across geographies and industries; level of near term impact – either positive or negative – on the enterprise; clear and direct business impact; potential for IT cost savings from use of this technology; potential disruption to IT markets; IT dpearments, business models or end users; and the risk of ignoring the technology.  Given the concerns regarding the economy this year’s list places particular emphasis on cost savings and impact on “run the business” activities.

The list is not a comprehensive list of all technologies that a company might consider strategic.  Mainstream technologies that are part of the strategic plan for most enterprises are typically excluded unless there is something particularly new or different that users must factor into their planning or there are major investment decisions that need to be made.  A strategic technology might be an emerging technology that offers advantage to early adopters or an existing technology that has matured to the point where it has broader impact on the enterprise.   

We generally use this list – along with our Top 10 Disruptive Technologies list published each spring – as a starting point for conversations with clients.  We encourage our clients to use the list as a starting point and adjust based on their industry, unique business needs, technology adoption model and other factors.  Many find the list and related methodologies a useful tool to assist their annual strategic planning exercise.

 

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David W. Cearley

18 years at Gartner
30 years IT industry

David Cearley is a vice president and Gartner Fellow in Gartner Research and is a leading authority on information technology. As a member of Gartner Research, Mr. Cearley analyzes emerging business and technology trends and explores how these trends shape the way individuals....Read Full Bio


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