Blog Post Gartner Hype Cycle: What's Next in I&O Automation?

Gartner’s annual Hype Cycle for I&O Automation report sheds light on innovation adoption, maturity, and ability to solve your real-life business opportunities. We’ve summarized 2022’s biggest changes here.

Gartner Hype Cycle for I&O Automation 2022

Whatever-you-want-as-a-Service. You-name-it-Ops. Cloud-native applications. Hybrid IT. These are more than passing fads. They’re the new ways of working that help deliver faster value, improve efficiency, and optimize costs.

But which innovations are worth pursuing? Emails fill your inbox with claims of being the next big thing, but it’s difficult to know what’s real and what’s marketing. Let’s look more closely at the biggest changes to Gartner's Hype Cycle for I&O Automation in 2022.

Go-Getters in the I&O Automation Hype Cycle

Many of the categories shown on the 2021 hype curve proceeded forward in 2022 but stayed within the same phase. Some technologies moved into new phases along the path of innovation, at varying paces of speed. Among those moving forward by one phase:

  • Continuous Compliance Automation, Intelligent Infrastructure, and Value Stream Delivery Platforms are now near the peak of expectations, marked by well-publicized activities of varying degrees of success. The first is considered a moderate priority, while Intelligent Infrastructure and Value Stream Delivery Platforms are high priorities. All three are expected to see mainstream adoption in two to five years.
  • Cloud Data Backup, Site Reliability Engineering (SRE), and Vulnerability Prioritization Technology (VPT) all entered the trough of disillusionment, as I&O teams try to reconcile the results of their pilots against overly optimistic expectations. As an approach that “delivers customer value at speed at scale while managing risk,” SRE can be transformational for I&O teams in enabling new ways of working. SRE and VPT should see mainstream adoption in the next five years, while Cloud Data Backup is expected to take longer.
  • Software-Defined Infrastructure, Network Automation, and Software Asset Management (SAM) Tools entered the slope of enlightenment, where the benefits of the innovation become more clearly understood. Software-Defined Infrastructure and Network Automation have high benefit ratings, while SAM Tools is moderate.
  • DevSecOps entered the plateau of productivity. The benefits are clear and it’s well on the way to mainstream adoption. Because its “goal is to speed up development without compromising on security and compliance,” DevSecOps has a transformational benefit rating.

Five categories moved off the hype cycle chart in 2022. Much like DevOps in 2021 and Workload Automation (WLA) in 2018, DevOps Toolchain and Cloud Application Discovery have become so widely accepted and proven that they’re no longer considered hyped approaches — they’re mainstream drivers of enterprise automation initiatives. AITSM and IA for Infrastructure Managed Services dropped due to limited interest and overlap with other approaches. Platform Operations has been incorporated into the new Platform Engineering category, highlighted in the next section.

Newcomers to the I&O Automation Hype Cycle

Two categories are new to the Hype Cycle for I&O Automation in 2022. These new kids on the block are innovations on the rise — early in their proof-of-concept. They’ve garnered publicity and interest, yet still must prove viability.

  • NetDevOps is the practice of applying an automated continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) approach to network activities, to enhance agility and reduce human error.
  • Platform Engineering is the discipline of building and operating self-service internal developer platforms for software delivery and lifecycle management, with the goal of optimizing developer experience and accelerating value delivery.

What about Service Orchestration and Automation?

New to the I&O Automation Hype Cycle in 2021, the Service Orchestration and Automation Platform (SOAP) category joined the curve already climbing the slope of enlightenment. This early-mainstream position indicates where initial, potentially inflated expectations recede, and true benefits are more widely understood. It’s a high-priority technology that’s expected to reach mainstream adoption in the next two to five years.

How did SOAP end up so far along, so quickly? It actually represents a modern evolution of WLA, which, as mentioned earlier, moved off the hype cycle a few years ago. Modern SOAPs extend WLA, job scheduling, and batch processing to support event-based scheduling in real time, as well as cross-platform orchestration with one central command center.

Designed to drive customer-focused agility as a part of cloud, big data, and DevOps initiatives, SOAPs build a solid foundation for whatever comes next.

  • Automate in real time. Use any combination of event-, time-, or batch-based prompts to create workflows that keep up with your business.
  • Facilitate business-wide agility. By connecting IT workloads with business workflows, you extend the role of automation beyond operational efficiency to support today’s fast-paced transformation initiatives.
  • Centrally manage automation across your hybrid IT infrastructure. Manage any combination of on-premises and cloud-based compute, network, and storage resources.
  • Orchestrate processes across applications. Create and manage workflows across multiple applications and platforms, no matter where they reside.
  • Data pipeline orchestrationPut the ops in DataOps by applying DevOps-like methodologies to your data science workload design and execution. Centrally manage the automation within existing data tools to support enterprise-wide data science and analytics workloads. 
  • Empower citizen automators. Give business users, developers, and specialists appropriate access to the low- and no-code self-service automation tools they need to succeed.
  • Enable advanced observability. Gain a clear view of system activities from a comprehensive command center that provides alerts, dashboards, SLA monitoring, and much more.

SOAP solutions like the Stonebranch Universal Automation Center (UAC) are a force multiplier in innovation, efficiency, and value. SOAPs even help organizations succeed with many of the other innovations listed in the hype cycle.

What's Next for You?

Take advantage of the research and analysis that’s already been done for you — read the Gartner Hype Cycle for I&O Automation, 2022 report (Gartner customers only) or sign up with Stonebranch for access to the 2021 Gartner Market Guide for Service Orchestration and Automation Platforms.

Both reports paint a clear picture of how these critical tools and strategies can help you stay agile and keep up with the pace of business.


"Gartner, Hype Cycle for I&O Automation, 2022," Chris Saunderson, 27 July 2022. The Hype Cycle for I&O Automation, 2022 graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of the Gartner Hype Cycle for I&O Automation, 2022 report (Gartner customers only) and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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