Enterprise architects use metadata repositories to indicate the enterprise state of the items stored within. Gartner’s IT Market Clock plots the current state and predicted lifecycle of IT products or services within a marketplace. Enterprise architects will benefit from communicating the lifecycle positioning on internally held assets versus the marketplace perspective, as well as be in a position to identify opportunities, challenges, entrance end-of-life concerns for assets their organizations hold in their portfolio given their lifecycle positions. This is, in many ways, simple…but powerful.
Gartner research fellow Brian Gammage has reminded me in successive emails and blogs (“Tick Tock, Market Clock“), it’s coming, get ready. Well, it’s here. And, it means something to enterprise architects who focus upon, or include, the viewpoint of technology architecture within their enterprise architecture (EA) program. The IT Market Clock is a Gartner methodology that supports strategic investment and divestment decisions. It can be applied to any IT product or service category. Using a clock face, Gartner plots the stage of IT products or services within their lifecycle and predict how long until they arrive in the next stage (Brian blogs about this here: http://blogs.gartner.com/brian-gammage/2010/08/20/market-life-and-the-it-market-clock/):
Using Gartner’s “IT Market Clock for Client Computing, 2010” as an example of one marketplace we can explore how this helps EA programs. Within this research, for example, Gartner places Windows XP just past the “dusk of obsolescence”, at nine thirty, and at 2 to 5 years from end of life (Microsoft will end extended support for Windows XP in April 2014). In the 2009 version of this IT Market Clock, Windows XP was just past eight o’clock, and set to enter the replacement phase within 2 years. Gartner recommends that our clients “establish plans to migrate off now…[and] remove from portfolio by 1Q13″. This research also qualifies the state of Windows 7, noting that it is now ready for mainstream deployment and that “migration plans should already be in place”. Windows 7 is positioned in the choice phase of its life, just past three o’clock: in 2009 it was positioned early in the advantage phase and Gartner’s advice highlighted the time required to prepare for deployments.
Recognizing that client operating systems (OSs) continue to be the most critical asset in client-computing portfolios, defining the underlying cadence of upgrade and replacement initiatives, Gartner’s positions concerning Windows XP entering the replacement phase and Windows 7 entering the choice phase should inform, minimally, trends that are impacting the business context of the organization. Many organizations in cash preservation mode may decide to extend the life of their underlying primary OS for end-users for more than 2 years, taking the position that upgrade and replacement initiatives are on hold until, at least, 2013.
As EA programs aid there business in making investment decisions that add future costs or delay investments today in exchange for a more costly future problem, EA leaders must be in the position to communicate the future state that’s being created, whether for good or “not-so-good”.
Gartner’s IT Market Clock allows IT organizations to map their IT assets to the IT Market Clock phases, focus on the advantage and retirement/replacement phases, and commit fewer resources to commoditized assets. Many organizations take a structured approach to adopting new technology assets, but few have mechanisms for deciding when to replace or change their sourcing approach. Gartner’s IT Market Clock helps evaluate and prioritize IT investments across items within any technology asset portfolio.
EA programs should use Gartner’s IT Market Clock to understand and communicate the impact of the external market on internal IT investments, the state of the cumulative portfolio and the time until replacement and/or retirement.
It’s time for EA programs to update their EA metadata repository to reflect the state of those assets today and project their future state in the years to come, based upon investment choices made, or not made, today. It’s simple, but it’s an extremely valuable update to the enterprise technology architecture (ETA) viewpoint of EA. For Gartner EA clients, here’s what to do next: http://www.gartner.com/resId=1426122.