Mastering the Hype Cycle

I have to include a note on the publication of Jackie Fenn and Mark Raskino’s book. It’s got to be a significant publication.

I haven’t had it in my hands yet, so this isn’t a review. I’m just going to point you to SageCircle. What you should do also, if it’s in your line, is subscribe to the Gartner blog (see my post the other day: you don’t have to be a Gartner subscriber). Jackie has posted a string of interesting examples of hype-like diagrams in many other areas.

Let me remind you, though, what the Hype Cycle is, and what it’s not. What it measures is the exposure of an idea in the public (or professional-public) perception. Column-inches, primarily. In the language of Six Sigma, it’s a surrogate measure for potential value. The observation is that the level of discussion of a new technology peaks (over-valued), then troughs (under-valued), then settles down. This reflects initial discovery; exploration of potential; identification of problems resulting from wider exposure; and, finally, a settled and recognised position in the corporate armoury – if, of course, it gets that far.

But the Hype Cycle doesn’t, of itself, tell you whether or when to invest in a technology.

If you think there’s significant competitive advantage, then invest early, while the technology is new. But as a tactical investment: skills will be scarce and expensive, and the risks of technical failure high. Or, invest in the trough when you begin to see the shape of the long term market, when vendors may be discounting and skills, perhaps, may more readily available. Or, don’t buy at all if it doesn’t do what you want! And you still have to find a vendor (Hype Cycles cover technologies, not the competitive marketplace) and, when it’s grown long in the tooth, let it give way to something newer.

The Hype Cycle – and Forrester’s much newer equivalent, TechRadar – are valuable contributors to your emerging technology assessment work. Gartner’s work in this area defines the framework and the terminology; it’s recognised and very well respected. I look forward to getting my hands on the book!


• Mastering the Hype Cycle – Highly recommended for different reasons for different audiences SageCircle, 7 Oct 2008
• Mastering the Hype Cycle (Gartner blog by Jackie Fenn and Mark Raskino)
• Which is the right Gartner blog for you? ITasITis, 17 Sep 2008
• Forrester get TechRadar on the road ITasITis, 25 Apr 2008

A bit more on Gartner’s blogs

Zymurgy’s Law of Exploding System Dynamics says: “When you open a can of worms, the only way to re-can them is to use a larger can”. Looks like I did that with this one. Particular apologies to Euan, because I should have remembered his presentation better than this! But I don’t regret starting the discussion about how external facing guidelines can be effectively created. Make sure you read the comments as well as this post.

I just came across the starting note on Anthony Bradley’s Gartner blog which is interesting because it outlines the process Gartner went through before they let their analysts loose. Task forces, business plans and guidelines all carefully researched and internally validated by management.

I’m not going to add any commentary except to say that if you’ve heard Euan Semple talk about the way that blogging was introduced to the BBC and became a significant force both inside the BBC and outward facing, you’ll have seen a very different, lighter weight and more community-oriented option. Not least: the BBC’s guidelines were developed, via a wiki, by the people actively doing that stuff. Only then were HR and legal invited to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. My last encounter with Euan was at a BCS evening in June – follow the link.

• Gartner Blogger Network Lessons Learned, Anthony Bradley, Gartner, 18 Sept 2008
• An evening with Social Computing – and a stunning view!, ITasITis, 17 Jun 2008

A housekeeping note

If you’re tracking this blog, you’ll notice the sudden arrival of a fistful of old posts from September last year to mid February. In February I moved ITasITis from LiveJournal to WordPress, primarily because WordPress shows me usage statistics and LiveJournal doesn’t. But I left the older postings on LJ for the time being.

It’s these old postings from LJ that I’ve just moved over, so I can close down the LJ account. You may see them crop up again as I edit them to bring the tagging into line. They might even be worth reading!


Is it “OK to stop the project”?

Mike Rasmussen of Corporate Integrity has been busy. He’s in the right business – in the current climate, regulation and compliance are climbing right up the agenda and there will, I’m sure, be many extra demands on IT to provide visibility of data and respond to new regulatory demands.

If you read this in time, Mike is hosting a webinar today (Tueday 7th) at 5pm UK time. He’s done a lot of work on a new structured analysis of the global regulatory and compliance (GRC) arena to identify the issues, and, he says, to define 13 core technology areas that the organization should build into an enterprise architecture for GRC.

Gartner have released a short note (and right at the moment it’s available for free) advising IT organisations to prepare for three scenarios: flat spending, a 20% reduction, and a small increase. But I haven’t seen anyone suggesting that IT should be prepared to increase spending on GRC, either by a budget increase or by diverting resources from other things. Think on!

You might like to look at George Colony’s take on the mess as well. He proposes three general rules:
• Apply a simple rule: “If it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make sense.”
• Risk assessment and management programs (perhaps within Sarbanes) should be placed on alert to identify danger points (by which he means: where computer models fail rule one)
• Never be afraid to say Andy Grove’s favorite business word: “No.”

This last one reminds me of a visit I paid a year or two back to London Heathrow’s Terminal 5, which was then one of the UK’s biggest building projects. The biggest message, plastered all over the site and aimed at everyone from plumbers to executives, was “It’s OK to stop the project”. No-one was going to get hammered for saying something was going wrong, or unsafe, or didn’t make sense. Most building projects, our host said, get built one and a half times. They aimed to avoid that cost, and did.

• GRC 2.0 the GRC EcoSystem Mike Rasmussen, Corporate Integrity, 6 Oct 2008
• Hal destroys Wall Street Counterintuitive: George Colony, Forrester CEO, 3 Oct 2008
U.S. Congress Rescues Banks but Pressure on IT Budgets Looms Gartner, 6 Oct 2008