I hate the way enterprise IT industry analysts see the world.\n\nThat\u2019s hard for me to say as I am one of those analysts. But it\u2019s something that I not only feel myself, but that I hear (in various forms) from tech vendors and enterprise IT execs alike \u2014 all the time.\n\nThe reason the analyst's view of the market is so unsatisfying isn\u2019t hard to decipher. Their objective is to break this massive market down into evermore narrow categories so that they can compare vendors and create the nice little graphs that every tech vendor clamors to be included within.\n\nAnd I get it. There\u2019s something enticing about the process of collecting a bunch of vendors in a report and comparing them. As an enterprise executive, it gives you a starting point for exploration and something to backup a purchase decision (that you\u2019ve probably already made).\n\nThe problem is that this process completely ignores the enterprise IT leader\u2019s reality. We don\u2019t look at our operational state and think in terms of tech categories. We think in terms of process and problems. Sadly, however, I\u2019m talking to an increasing number of enterprise IT execs that are adopting the analyst mindset and viewpoint \u2014 speaking in terms of these artificial categories.\n\nI believe that\u2019s a significant risk because those categories serve the interests of the analysts and (sometimes) the tech vendors, but do little to help enterprise IT leaders address the real challenges they\u2019re facing.\n\nSo, let\u2019s break the paradigm.\n\nI\u2019d like to offer up an alternate approach that simplifies things and uses the enterprise IT leader\u2019s perspective as true north.\n\nThe narrow category problem\n\nThe challenge with the narrow analyst view becomes apparent in what will be the first of what I\u2019m calling my Sector Briefs. Falling into the analyst trap, I set out to identify the leading AIOps vendors to prepare some analysis on the category. The problem is that I couldn\u2019t tell where to draw the line between AIOps and Observability or APM or Infrastructure Performance Management.\n\nAnd why did one vendor that I considered an AIOps player call themselves an Observability player? And why was the Infrastructure Management player leaning so hard into the AIOps positioning? And what about the traditional APM vendor that now called themselves an Application Observability and AIOps player?\n\nIt literally made my head hurt. And I\u2019m an industry analyst who makes his living trying to make sense of this market. Ugh.\n\nThe challenge is that enterprise IT leaders are facing a deep and complex set of challenges when it comes to monitoring (or observing, if you prefer) their infrastructure and application estate \u2014 and then trying to make sense of what they\u2019re seeing to keep it all running and make solid strategic go-forward decisions about it.\n\nSo, there\u2019s a whole slew of technologies that help them solve those challenges across various stages of the process and for specific categories of their tech estate. But fundamentally, the enterprise IT executive is trying to accomplish just two things:\n\nAnd these two actions are inextricably linked. Which is why so many of the vendors are helping their clients solve, at least in part, for both of these needs.\n\nAll the countless analyst delineations that take this process and break into countless little categories are academic and do little to help an enterprise IT leader address their fundamental challenges. So, why create all these categories? Not for the good of the enterprise IT leader, that\u2019s for certain.\n\nMy answer: treat it as the single category it is.\n\nMore on what that looks like in a moment.\n\nEnterprise IT vs. the LOB and functional estate\n\nBefore I give you my simplified view of the enterprise IT tech space, I need to make a delineation. When I talk about enterprise IT, I\u2019m talking about those technologies that IT uses to facilitate and manage its operational state \u2014 essentially, these are the control room technologies that make up the core of what I\u2019m calling the Digital Transformation Platform that bridges the gap between functional and LOB efficiency-focused apps, and an organization\u2019s innovation capability.\n\nOf course, every IT organization allocates a significant portion of its resources to deploying, supporting, and managing the Line of Business and Functional Apps that are often core to delivering business value for the enterprise. This often includes things like CRMs, ERPs, and any number of industry-specific functional apps (such as an Electronic Health Record app in a healthcare organization).\n\nBy definition, these technologies and their respective support and management requirements are unique to each organization. But the technologies that I\u2019m covering as part of my definition of Enterprise IT Tech and Digital Transformation Platforms are universal \u2014 every enterprise IT organization should have some version of them in their environment, regardless of size or industry.\n\nThis is still imperfect, but I think it\u2019s a useful demarcation point to help enterprise IT leaders address their complex concerns and challenges.\n\nA simple 5-category lens through which to view enterprise\n\nWith the clarification made, how should you view the enterprise IT market space in a way that is useful and helpful to addressing your real challenges, positioning yourself strategically, and delivering a transformational capability?\n\nIt comes down to understanding the fundamental process by which you should evaluate, deploy, manage, and optimize, any business process and the technologies to support it. When I look at these challenges through that lens, it becomes both clear and simple. I believe virtually every technology that exists within the enterprise is deployed through a five-stage process:\n\nThat\u2019s the lens. Those are the five big, meaningful buckets of core enterprise technologies that enterprise IT leaders should focus on \u2014 and those are the five sectors that I think matter from an enterprise IT perspective. Here\u2019s what I call them:\n\nThese five simple categories encompass an almost countless collection of analyst categories, but I believe that viewing the enterprise IT world through this simplified five-category lens aligns it with the real challenges you\u2019re facing and will make it easier to make strategic deployment, rationalization, migration, and purchase decisions with clarity and purpose.\n\nThese will also be the five Sector Briefs that I\u2019m going to strive to produce each year, providing you with a simple and direct way of understanding each of these process stages and how the various technology vendors within a sector can help you address your challenges in a meaningful way.\n\nFor now, try looking at your tech stack through this lens and see what happens. I\u2019d love to hear what you think and how things change when you look at things this way.