Must Be Something in the Water: "open season" on Industry Analysts
I've noticed a significant uptick in Gartner criticism over the past 6 months. From little offhanded remarks at conferences (like mine when looking at a couple of their quadrants related to integration), to Colin's statements about their relevance, to this, the strongest reference I've seen in print:
"No show ripping on Novell and Red Hat would be complete without a helping of cynicism directed at Sun Microsystems, Facebook and the masters of the felch spoon over at Gartner."...which is part of the description of the Open Season podcast this week. Trash-talking is always entertaining.
Now, I happen to know some of the Gartner analysts and like them. I also know some that I'd like to bang repeatedly with a shovel. But as an organization, I don't think it offers much of a service to the industry given how products and technologies are evaluated and how those evaluations are paid for. The problem is that if Gartner went away today, some other company would soon become exactly like they are.
Reality in the analyst world is that there is a love-hate relationship between vendors and analysts, and there are constant ethical challenges and real or perceived conflicts of interest that you have to watch out for. The slow erosion of the profit motive over telling the truth leads to the current trust situation, in the same way it has worked to destroy the journalistic tradition in so many countries, particularly the US. If anything, I look at some of the analyst firms the same way I look at Fox "news".
Analysts should be like investigative journalists. Often they are forced to soft-pedal negatives by their managers to avoid jeopardizing revenue. More insidious is self-censoring (like the white house press corps or the celebrity TV interviewers) where negatives or embarrassments are avoided for fear of losing access. OMG! Tom Cruise isn't talking to Gartner and went to Forrester instead! Except in this case Gartner is like an important tabloid you don't want to anger.
What the market really needs today is an analyst firm that tracks analyst firms, rates their predictions, examines their conflicts and assesses the quality of their work. Maybe the Open Season can create an annual "felch spoon" award too.
Labels: gartner, industry analysts, open season
Posted by Mark Wednesday, December 12, 2007 4:00:00 PM |