What is Radar Scope?

The I&R (Innovation & Research) Radar Scope is a bit of transparency showing the technologies about which we are currently interested. It is not meant to be a comprehensive list of everything in the marketplace (progress is much too fast for that), but rather it’s a list of major players and concepts that have a shot in moving from the “emerging” status to becoming imminent. Some of the items on the stop have already arrived (e.g. iOS & Android) and some of them may still be a few years out – well, at least in our geography.

Click here to get a PDF copy of the map. Its native size is 36”x48” but as it is a PDF, you should be able to easily scale it to whatever size you need. And yes, is is readable on an 8.5”x11” sheet of paper.

If you would like the raw file to make your own scope, just ask. We used OmniGraffle Pro on a Mac, but it can be exported to Visio (although your mileage may vary).

How the Scope Works
Our goal is to create something primarily internal to Centric that gives us all a glimpse into the technology landscape and helps the BD function tie things together when someone on a sales call hears the word “Clojure.” The scope would show that it is a functional language that we know about, it is on the outside looking in, but making progress towards the center.

Future scopes will show movement (in and out) as well as technology relationships, so you would be able to see that Clojure is tied to Java and from there we can start talking to our Java-based clients about their thoughts on functional programming and Java.

Eventually, as we refine the process and become comfortable with how items are categorized and evaluated, it could be a valuable tool for our clients that are looking ahead.

The specifics of the scope are described in the following sections.

Scope Sections
The I&R Scope is made up of six sections. Four of those sections represent the primary or major technology areas in today’s world: MobilityCloudBig Data, and Languages. These are primarily the “news making” items. Most technology people are familiar with at least some of the items across the four major areas.

The two smaller or minor sections are Architecture and Concepts & Strategy. These are the areas that speak more to implementation, process, and approach. They are the “how” to the major four sections’ “what.”

Amount of Focus
Each section is divided into three concentric rings of increasing focus or in the case of Architecture and Concepts & Strategy, increasing confidence. Because we separate the “what” and the “how,” we have a different approach for how to manage the migration of items from out to in.

Managing Our Future Capabilities
In the Major sections, we are concerned with staying in front of the demand curve so as technologies begin making the trek from outer circle to inner circle, we begin understanding the capabilities of that technology, how it fits within the eco-system and how it correlates to existing skills or client tendencies. The characteristics of each step in the path are described below.

These are the technologies that we feel are imminent. Currently, they’re stocked with no-brainers (as most of them are already making an impact in the marketplace), but we build our skills, we hope to be better placed with trained resources and experience before they become no-brainers.

As an item moves in to the “Focus” circle, I&R is staging environments, trying to secure funding for proofs-of-concept, getting the appropriate people trained and helping to prime the sales engine. If the timing works out right, we are pushing out delivery capacity at the same time the sales engine closes a deal.

These items have progress to the point where we are forced to take notice. I&R sees a thousand tech items per day from all parts of the industry. Most of it is noise, and the faint signals end up in the Periphery section (described below). When the signals get stronger, we start to connect the dots between current client needs and capabilities and the overall trends of the IT market. When those converge, we begin to pay more attention. An example of this would be Riak.

Riak is one of the many NoSQL players in the field today with a reputation for being more industrial strength than most. They were firmly in the Periphery of our scope as the Big Data news has many players and they have yet to coalesce enough to make definitive predictions (with the exception of Hadoop/HBase). Then the CTO of Accenture left to become the CEO of Basho (makers of Riak) which added some legitimacy to the product. Then recently, v1.1 was released and a lot of the things left wanting in the 1.0 product (namely commercial fit & finish) were addressed. The product has matured rapidly, thus we will probably move it up this Spring. Additionally, Riak has a high likelihood of making it into a CampIO demo this year.

Items on the outer ring of focus are closer in than “out of sight, out of mind,” but as stated above, they are not receiving much attention. This circle will be the most volatile of the of the three as it represents more of the natural state of the technology landscape. Fast rising and falling companies, looking for a niche, being acquired and experiencing funding issues are all present in the players located here.

Managing our Maturity and Thought Leadership
The two small sliver sections house non-specific technologies that are currently being explored by I&R. Approaches, techniques, strategies, theories, and perspectives are all addressed by these items. Some of these are simply things we need to understand in order to better use some of the newer technologies (e.g. CAP Theorem directly pertains to most schema less databases and functional programming refers to the specific subset of the programming languages on the scope).

Other items are actually “homegrown” capabilities that we hope to use to in order to assist in establishing more credibility and reputation with our clients and competitors.

What we learn from these items will invariably find their way into proposals and statements of work, either as fully fledged project tasks/approaches or as a way of showing how we understand the subjects in question more than the competitors do.

We categorize the progression of these items in the minor sections a bit differently than those in the major sections. Here, they are divided as:

  • Promote
  • Practice
  • Understand/Develop

Each of these division rings are described in detail below.

We know these items very well and will not hesitate in recommending the approach or solution. These are tried and true techniques and we have a high confidence in the ability to successfully utilize them. Items in this section will receive active evangelizing and will potentially be actively sold.

While we understand the topic, we are in the process of formulating a better perspective through use on internal initiatives or non-critical projects. In a client setting, these topics may come up in conversation as potential alternatives to a standard or customary approach. If the client shows interest, then the topic can be pursued, but it should be sold with the knowledge that the outcome is less known.

Practice-level items are good for proofs-of-concept, pilot projects or other leading edge expositions. Use of these items will help show that we are always looking for more appropriate solutions (note, not better solutions).

Understand / Develop
This section is as it is titled: understanding the concept and beginning to develop a position for it. As with the Periphery ring of the major sections, the items here are relatively fluid. Cycling in and out much more frequently than those items in the inner rings. What differs however, is the reason for that movement.

With the minor sections being populated by less tangible items (e.g. ideas and approaches), once they are understood, then they simply become part of the background. Reference material for other endeavors.

The more substantial ideas (like those internal to Centric) will actually incorporate other items in order to form something we can actually sell, present, or claim as intellectual property.

The Centric Radar Scope is meant to be a tool used as a reference guide and planning tool internally, but we hope that it will eventually become a sought after resource by our clients looking for validation or opinion and a selling point for projects where we wish to project our deep understanding of the technology landscape.