What I love about Gartner is its willingness to take a term that seems to be self-describing and apply a complicated definition to it. I don't know -- maybe that's unfair. Maybe they're only putting to words a definition already in play. But it seems to me you can always trace a complicated definition back to Gartner.
Recently, Gartner predicted the emergence of enterprise information management as the next big thing. Now, if you google EIM, you'll find plenty of references already being bandied about, including a veteran-owned small business and IBM partner called Enterprise Information Management.
But that's not what Gartner means by EIM. Gartner analyst David Newman, according to this article from destinationCRM.com, defines EIM as "an integrated end-to-end discipline for handling information assets regardless of technology "to improve operational efficiency, promote transparency, and enable business insight."
EIM is an outgrowth of CRM, but according to Gartner, it will be a critical partner technology for SOA, because both are about breaking down information silos. It does make sense that if SOA is about breaking down application silos, you'd need a tool for breaking down information silos.
EIM is not for the faint of heart -- even Newman acknowledged it's so complex as to be "overwhelming." And so far, EIM is very cutting edge -- only a handful of companies are starting EIM projects. In fact, there are only a few vendors that touch EIM from a technology standpoint, so many of these early adopters are building their own solutions.
Which means, we'll soon see vendors jumping into the fray, most likely with their own new terms and possibly conflicting versions of what constitutes EIM -- much as we've seen with SOA.
But heads up -- Gartner has spoken. The next big business technology trend will be EIM.