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Gartner Hype Cycle 2009: What’s Peaking, What’s Troughing? « I’m Not Actually a Geek July 27, 2009

Posted by hruf in Enterprise 2.0, Internet & Communities, Mobile & Gadgets.
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On July 21, Gartner released its omnibus 2009 Hype Cycle for Emerging Markets. This report covers a wide range of industries, from flat panel displays to home health providers to cloud computing.

Honestly, it’s fascinating to see how Gartner positions the various industries along the cycle. Here is 2009’s hype cycle for emerging technologies:

Gartner Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle 2009

Boy, that’s a full hype cycle isn’t it? The report itself is chock full of analysis and forecasts for the various technologies. Here are a few notes of mine from reading it.

Social Software Suites: It’s clear that the market is moving toward more applications bundled into Enterprise 2.0 offerings. As Nikos Drakos and Anthony Bradley write, “we expect that successful products will continue to assimilate new functionality.” The report notes that Social Software Suites have tipped past the peak of inflated expectations.

One observation made by Drakos and Bradley resonates with me:

In the longer term, many companies will have social software technology supplied by their strategic workplace vendor, perhaps augmented with additional third-party products. Accordingly, industry is starting to move from general-purpose suites to more targeted products, concentrating on “horizontal” social business challenges, such as idea engines, prediction markets and answer marketplaces.

Putting Enterprise 2.0 to work on specific problems was something I wrote about as well in Enterprise 2.0 and the Trough of Disillusionment a few months ago. If you’re not addressing specific problems as a social software vendor, you’re basically angling to replace the company intranet or portal.

Finally, note that both wikis and corporate blogging are in the Slope of Enlightenment. Even though those apps are part of social software suites.

Idea Management: Idea management is further along the curve, knocking on the door of the Slope of enlightenment. What’s interesting to me is how much the idea management space is really overlapping the social software space. Indeed, read the quote above. It notes that social software is moving more toward tackling horizontal challenges, “such as idea engines.”

Speaking from my own Spigit experience, this quote rings true:

Industries that emphasize new product development were early adopters of idea management tools. In 2009, service industries and government are increasingly adopting innovation and idea management practices.

Microblogging: With Twitter’s rapid ascension in the public consciousness, it’s no surprise that the Enterprise 2.0 vendors are rapidly adding microblogging to their suites. Analyst Jeffrey Mann predicts that “by 2011, enterprise microblogging will be a standard feature in 80% of the social software platforms on the market.”

I like Mann’s advice to corporate clients reading this report:

Adopt social media sooner rather than later, because the greatest risk lies in failure to engage and being left mute in a debate in which your voice must be heard.

Note that a year ago, microblogging was just out of the Technology Trigger stage, barely in the Peak of Inflated Expectations. Now it’s knocking on the door of the Trough.

Cloud Computing: Cloud computing is at the top of the Peak of Inflated Expectations. It’s hot. I’ve seen bloggers debate what constitutes “cloud computing”. This definition by David Mitchell Smith seems as good as any:

Gartner defines “cloud computing” as a style of computing where scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service to external customers using Internet technologies.

Smith notes that cloud computing is actually quite varied, and “that one dot on a Hype Cycle cannot adequately represent all that is cloud computing.” So true, especially when you note the sample vendors listed in the report: Amazon.com, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce.com. They come from all persuasions in terms of cloud computing.

The report does say that cloud computing will be transformational. Yup.

E-Book Readers: So, have ya heard of the Kindle? When it debuted, I personally didn’t think much of it. I mean, what’s wrong with books? Turns out, that Jeff Bezos is a hell of a visionary. Kindle has done quite well. I still haven’t bought one, but that doesn’t mean much.

And this report is illustrative of the unexpected success of the Kindle and other e-book readers. They weren’t a specific category displayed on last year’s hype cycle; maybe they were part of “Electronic Paper” or “Tablet PC”. But they’re on there this year. Here’s what the Gartner analysts said for the appearance of e-book readers at the top of the Peak of Inflated Expectations:

This positioning has been reassessed from the prior year’s Hype Cycle. E-book readers saw serious hype in the early days of the Rocketbook and other readers. These largely failed to capture the attention of the consumer and fell into the trough never to emerge. Then Amazon and Sony entered the market, and Amazon’s wireless delivery innovation in essence reset the Hype Cycle and the hype started over again at a much higher volume.

Those are a few notes from the report. It’s 55 pages, and there are technology-specific versions of them as well. Gartner always has an interesting take.

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