New opportunities brought about by digitalization can be captured through the use of many emerging technologies and new products and services. The “Cool Vendors” who provide these technologies, products and services will support digitalization and the notion of “big change,” according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner’s 2014 Cool Vendors research series identifies the innovative companies, products and services that will shape the future.
This year Gartner has published 87 reports, profiling more than 385 Cool Vendors that have the potential to exploit digitalization and radically alter competitive dynamics across many industries. By definition, Cool Vendors are small companies offering a technology that is:
Innovative — it enables users to do things they couldn’t do before.
Impactful — it has or will have a business impact; it’s not just a matter of “technology for its own sake.”
Intriguing — it has caught Gartner’s interest or curiosity during the past year or so.
A list of this year’s Cool Vendors is available at www.gartner.com/coolvendors.
“The age of digitalization is in full bloom but comes with challenges the average organization has yet to overcome,” said Daryl Plummer, managing vice president and Gartner Fellow. “Issues are rising everywhere from consumers choosing their own technologies to new competitors entering markets traditionally closed to them. In a digitalized world, it seems that anything is possible when accessing digital assets, capabilities and channels within an ever-growing Internet of Everything.”
In order to get a grip on the challenges, enterprises, vendors and investors will need to recognize the magnitude of the change that faces them. Today’s change, is not just change, it is big change. Gartner uses the term big change to refer to the significant alteration of business operations in a high-risk environment involving pronounced levels of volatility, disruption, novelty and complex scope.
“Our 2014 CEO surveys show that as economic uncertainties lessen, CEOs are investing in growth strategies,” said Michele Cantara, research vice president at Gartner. “The responsibility for execution goes to business and IT leader change agents who are waging a losing battle to stem the tide of volatility, novelty, disruption and complex scope that digitalization and other forces are driving. Time-honored business operation best practices can become obsolete in a digital moment. As a result, to deliver on the growth outcomes the C-Suite expects, change agents in business and IT need to challenge long-held assumptions about management, organizational and technology best practices.”
Big change in cool vendors 2014 is exemplified in the emergence of several areas. 3D printing, for example, highlights an aspect of big change that represents the translation of digital representations back into physical representations. This challenges the notion that manufacturing, distribution and supply chains will remain discrete chains as opposed to collapsing into one 3D printing, manufacturing and production mechanism. Similarly, the Internet of Things sees the reciprocal effect of taking information about the physical world and moving it through digital channels in massive quantities to open new doors to opportunity. This challenges the notion that machines will not be peers to human beings in business interactions, and exposes the degree to which machines are invading our every process and situation.
“Since we began the Cool Vendors report in 2004, Gartner has profiled more than 2200 Cool Vendors,” said Mr. Plummer. “This can be a risky proposition — a few Cool Vendors have gone on to become IT megavendors in their own right, while others have been acquired by megavendors and other industry stalwarts; however, some just burn out and vanish. By the same token, the 2014 collection of Cool Vendors is by no means exhaustive; there’s no way we can introduce every company that’s making waves. Therefore, we’ve selected some to highlight based on our sense of how impactful they are today and can be in the near future.”
Additional information is available in the report “Cool Vendors 2014: The Digital Age Forces Everyone to Confront ‘Big Change,'” which is available on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/doc/2734521.