The Buzz at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo in Orlando – In the end is all about the same old

Gartner’s ITxpo event is always a place for learning what are the newest and upcoming trends and technologies which are most likely to impact the enterprise landscape. There is probably no other single space and time that is able to bring together so many experts, executives and professionals. Every year, 5000 people flock over to the land of Mickey Mouse with hopes to absorb some of the magic that supposedly is in the Disney air.

This year, just last week, it was not different. The pre announced theme evolved around balancing cost, risk and growth. But it turned out that the real buzz was around the new trend that most Gartner analysts had on the tip of their tongue: – Pattern based strategy. According to them, now, not only IT executives should juggle with all the elements of cost cutting and risk mitigation, while attempting to keep the growth chart going upward, but now they also need to contend with observing, identifying, measuring potential economic impact of patterns, in both, inside and outside the organization.

According to the Gartner analysts, as businesses emerge from the recession, questions also emerge around IT and business strategy, with organizations looking for new ways to gain competitive advantage. They believe there is a new IT value model that will demand greater attention of global business and IT leaders in the coming years.

This new model will be about implementing a framework to proactively seek, model and adapt to leading indicators, often-termed “weak” signals, that form patterns in the marketplace—and to exploit them for competitive advantage, and they are calling this new model Pattern-Based Strategy.

In addition to a strategic framework, technology will be an essential component of a Pattern-Based Strategy. This new model will require both existing and new technologies: those that identify patterns of change to indicate opportunity or risk, those that model the effects on the enterprise and those that enable an organization to consistently adapt to these patterns.

According to the analysts, a Pattern-Based Strategy will allow an organization not only to better understand what’s happening in terms of demand, but also to detect leading indicators of change, and to identify and quantify risks emerging from new patterns, rather than continuing to focus on lagging indicators of performance. A Pattern-Based Strategy also provides a framework for execution—connecting the activity of seeking and modeling impacts of patterns directly to executing with measurable results.

One thing however, that the analysts did not mention, and yet still seems to be evident, is that organizations need to have a minimum level of stability and control, in order to be able to build up to a position, where pattern monitoring and strategy definition can become a reality and effective. Many organizations are still scrambling with the consequences of the worldwide economic downturn, which still seems to be very present.

Besides the Pattern-Based Strategy it seems that the cloud computing topic was the other highlight, as it was the one most sought by the attendants. Out of the 10 most attended sessions, there were three directly related and two others that cloud computing was also part of the discussion.

This is because, as much as being a new and innovative technology approach, just as is virtualization, both address the same old premise, the same old demand by executive management. It is all about metrics, indicators, productivity and business performance. And these issues have been around for centuries and are not technologically related.

In the end, it is all about business outcome and how much stockholder value has been provided as a return on their investment. The only difference is which approach, tools and technologies are the most adequate ones.

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