For us this year, the excitement heading into the Gartner PPM and Enterprise Architecture Summits in London started weeks before with being named a Leader in both Gartner’s IT PPM Software Applications and Cloud-Based IT PPM Services Magic Quadrants (download a complimentary copy here).

We rode that wave across the pond to join top IT and business professionals to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing our industry. Here are the key takeaways we gathered from demos, conference sessions, and conversations with top Gartner analysts, attendees and customers.

1. There’s no “single source of truth”

Data is our business. And businesses rely on data. These are universal truths for our industry and we heard time and again how people throughout the industry are using data to inform their business decisions. Not shocking. We were at a PPM summit after all. While we all lean on data to boost profit, flatten margins or increase efficiency, we were surprised by the number of services promising a “single source of truth”: one tool one place where businesses are able to access all the information and data they need.

It sounds great on paper or in a sales pitch but the reality is wholly unrealistic. Every business is different and even the internal functions of the same business have differing needs. No one application fulfills them all. In today’s IT organizations, the number of tools and technologies used is in constant flux. While an overabundance of tools can be paralyzing, done right, a PPM solution should deliver simple, holistic cross-organization that includes the suite of applications you’re using at any point in time. Clear, actionable insight into the value you get from your technology and resources is a powerful differentiator in driving organization and business success.

2. Embrace openness

IT pros are the gearheads of the tech industry. The early adopters. Whether it’s the newest hardware or latest collaboration tools, they eagerly embrace new tools and evangelize favorites. As a result, many PPM users face difficulties maintaining a holistic view when considering tools like Jira, Trello or Slack. They find their PPM solution doesn’t have a solid, open platform that prioritizes integrations. Just as the tech industry has embraced open source and one API, businesses should prioritize open platforms that emphasize integration to give them greater flexibility and adaptability. You shouldn’t have to settle for a sub-par tool because it’s the one that your PPM or EA software supports. Open platforms let teams test and select the best tools for their team. The outcome? Smarter, better work.

3. The cost conundrum

Immediately after PPM Summit wrapped, we joined Gartner’s Enterprise Architecture Summit. At EA, we noticed a sometimes single-minded focus on application cost. While cost is a factor, investment justifications should also account for impact. Factors like impact on productivity, utility, ease of integration, and flexibility to grow with your organization’s needs must be evaluated.

We understand the ongoing need to rationalize the cost of applications but making decisions based on cost without accounting for value, is dangerous and short-sighted. Organizations could easily terminate a high-value application. Businesses must think about their investments holistically and consider rationalizing lower cost, less valuable applications before choosing to remove a potentially high-value application.

We came away from the PPM and EA Summits feeling energized after a week surrounded by good work and smart people. We’ll continue to engage with Gartner and other industry leaders to shape and challenge our industry moving forward.