Blog post

Strategy and Innovation Roadmapping Tools

By Philip Allega | January 08, 2018 | 2 Comments

VisualizationRoadmappingPortfolio ManagementEnterprise ArchitectureEnterprise ArchitectBusiness Architecture
EIRMA Roadmapping View
Roadmapping: A view of roadmaps, and a roadmap of roadmaps

Strategy and Innovation Roadmapping Tools are new to Many, Even if the Techniques are Known

Gartner has recently released a Market Guide for Strategy and Innovation Roadmapping Tools. The Market Guide profiles tool providers that helps those seeking to visualize the change across many layers and different states of change: plans, in-flight efforts, and existing assets. Today, the ability of a single person to keep the state of change in their mind at the same time is nearly impossible. Compounded not only be changes in the marketplace, the effect of existing, new, or planned products and services, and the supporting technology estate adds more concerns to be analyzed. Tracking their relationships and dependencies, too? Well, that’s pretty much impossible given the amount of change that’s planned and in flight in most organizations today. Tools are most important to make this possible.

Client inquiry tells us about how users are bringing dynamic visualizations of complex relationships and interdependencies, over time, with leadership teams. Conversations show that leadership teams get engaged when they can quickly see the connectivity between plans, in-flight projects, and existing assets on screen. Risks, costs, skills, profit margins and many other attributes and categorizations can be used to quickly inform leadership as to the effect of investment choices.

In some ways, this isn’t new. The ways of doing roadmapping have existed for some time, but supporting software has not. Motorola is credited with the development of roadmapping in the 1970s to support integrated product and technology strategic planning.  Unfortunately, many have struggled with drawing, and coloring boxes and connecting lines in different tools for over 20 years. This doesn’t have to be the case today.

Buyers of Strategy and Innovation Roadmapping Tools Make Decision-Making Smarter

We know that this type of roadmapping tool (and/or capability) is important to enterprise architecture and technology innovation leaders today. 63% participate in business strategy planning and 92% are involved in technology innovation – to varying degrees.  In preparation for our 2018 Enterprise Architecture (EA) and Technology Innovation Summit in London, we found that 43% of respondents (n=1088) ranked roadmaps as their 3rd most important concern, behind innovation strategy and “linking EA and business strategy.”

Further buyers and users of roadmapping tools include:
* CEOs, CIOs, Chief Digital Officers, Operation Managers, IT-Managers, R&D Technical Director, CTOs
* Head of Engineering Strategy, other Senior Technology Officers, Digital Transformation Director
* Chief Product Officers, Directors of Product, Product Managers, Product Owners, and Program Managers
* Head of Group Risk, Director/VP, and C-level (board level) owners of product, market, technology, and/or innovation programs and strategies
* Innovation Managers, Head of Innovation Centers, Strategy Departments, and Consultancies

Analytical Techniques Add Value to the Visualization of Relationships

Added analytical capabilities in this group of strategy and innovation roadmapping tools may cover techniques such as scenario planning , Delphi, Blue Ocean and more . Such analysis may be disconnected from in-flight efforts; but, such analysis may also allow for future plans to be considered in light of current state results. Analysis techniques for the Marketplace (e.g., PESTLE , Porters 5 Forces , etc.) are also integral to creating and delivering strategy and innovation in many organisations. The marketplace we’ve profiled in our Market Guide for Strategy and Innovation Roadmapping Tools supports many of these techniques; but. each tool provider may emphasize one over another.

Don’t underestimate the power of these strategic layers illustrated in the opening graphic on this page (e.g., market, products and services, technology). They each move simultaneously, but it’s their connections across each other that give power to decision-makers. Further support comes from further analysis into the effect of change. It’s not about the roadmapping of one layer alone, but the roadmapping of  many related roadmaps and supporting analytics within layers and across them too.

Some of the vendors we profiled are demonstrating business ecosystem analysis capabilities, simulation and modeling, and strategy execution performance dashboards. Capabilities exhibited by these tool providers may cross into other marketplaces Gartner is following today: Enterprise Architecture, Portfolio Management, Innovation Management, Strategy Execution, Simulation and Modeling and more. Some buyers of such tools parse capabilities to meet specific role needs and others are aggregating with a heavier weighting towards one purpose or another. Such use cases impact product and vendor selection, compounded by affordable price points to the buyer and their ability to make impactful use of the selected tool.

Strategy and innovation roadmapping tools can help leadership teams make smarter decision about their future. But, it’s not a panacea or a placebo. It is an important addition to the tools at the ready for those who need to engage stakeholders in a dynamically visual environment of plans, in-flight efforts, and existing assets.

Tool Providers Gartner has profiled in our Research

For this research, Gartner profiled the following tool providers:


The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

Comments are closed


  • Dear Philip, so true.

    Business complexity gives a new youth to modeling capabilities.
    Unlike in the past glorious age of modeling with headache, end users today are more likely to enjoy much easier, seamless ecosystem-based rationale and decision making, rather than the headache of modeling skills requirements just for the sake of nailing a model on the wall and waiting for it to find a use case!

    Happy new year, best wishes!

  • Philip Allega says:

    Thanks for your comment Jean-Marie. These visualization environments are quite rich, but they also allow for easily placed arrangements of change over time for (in some cases) small amounts of money and few work hours. This is enticing for those attempting to engage leadership teams in decision-making activities without waiting for deep content capture.

    Sometimes, higher velocity decision making is more important than 100% certainty. For example, modelling results of 20 scenarios with 80% certainty may get you to a more comfortable decision to move forward than waiting to perform 3 scenarios with 95% certainty. Every situation has to be considered for the degree of certainty required (e.g., limiting health and safety concerns, spending the last of you cash, etc.), but the tools also allow for further analysis as more information about the state of change is modelled.

    Use-cases should be about the business outcomes you seek to deliver. As you suggest, much can be done; but, solutions in search of a problem may not be solutions at all.

    Kind Regards, and happy New Year to you as well,