Enterprise 'research' gone wild

A collection of realistic, yet amusing and satirical, enterprise charts. You may laugh, but you will also see truth in these insightful drawings.

Research is important and I enjoy reviewing the many reports, surveys, and other forms of data that cross my desk. Some of that research is excellent, and I try to share the best in blog posts.

Unfortunately, many so-called "research" reports are thinly veiled marketing campaigns offering little substance or meaning. This problem has reached epidemic proportions.With this backdrop, it was a delight to come across what can only be termed "enterprise graph snark" from genuine researcher Simon Wardley. Just for reference, here is a link to Wardley's blog and to a major report he published recently.

To create these graphics, Wardley emulated the style stereotypical analyst reports, but please be clear that these charts are satire. He did not base them on research or data of any kind. In other words, he created them as a joke.

Enjoy these beautiful examples of enterprise graph satire. As with all great satire, one can recognize points of truth mixed with the humor. As a great leader once said, there are "lies, damn lies, and enterprise graphics."

With each graph, I have included a few words of personal interpretation -- these comments are mine and not from Wardley (unless specically called out below).

The future of all technology companies

For this graphic, Wardley said he added some dots, lines, and squiggles to comment on random graphs that industry analysts create to explain the market.

It does look remarkably similar to some of those "hype cycle" graphs that bombard us all. Hmmm, maybe there's a message in here someplace?

simon-wardley-future-of-all-tech-companies.pngSimon Wardley Future of All Tech Companies

The three stages of expertise

A satirical take on self-styled gurus and experts who talk about culture because it's easy and sounds impressive.

Simon Wardley Three Stages of Expertise

The enterprise IT adoption cycle

I understand the conflicting mandates and pressures that face CIOs and folks working in IT. For that reason, it would be mean-spirited to ask whether this chart resembles any companies you know.

Simon Wardley Enterprise IT Adoption Cycle

The three Vs of strategy

This sure looks like marketing from many enterprise software vendors. Oy.

Simon Wardley Three Vs of strategy

The three stages of expertise

Okay, look closely at this one. Doesn't it accurately capture how certain consultants and marketing "experts" think?

Simon Wardley Strategy Development Flow

Thank you to Simon Wardley for being a good sport and letting me use these graphs. He's got a bunch more (including serious graphics) so check out the media section of his Twitter feed.

And, just to be absolutely clear, these are satire not based on data or research. Wardley created them for amusement.


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