Gartner-Meta merger a sign of the times for research industry

It's not just the IT industry that is consolidating but so is the industry that provides advice and insight about it. Gartner's acquisition of Meta Group annouced last month is the latest in a series of mergers among market-research firms facing a tough market with thinning margins.

scoreIt's not just the IT industry that is consolidating but so is the industry that provides advice and insight about it. Gartner's acquisition of Meta Group annouced last month is the latest in a series of mergers among market-research firms facing a tough market with thinning margins. While this is good news for Gartner clients--they'll get to tap into the talent Meta analysts bring--it looks like the major benefit to Gartner is its rival's sales force which will help to add to Gartner's bottom line. Next, expect the consolidation wave to hit second-tier firms. But as trusted resources dwindle, some companies are utilizing several firms simultaneously for a variety of opinions on a subject. An article from InformationWeek illustrates this with a viewpoint from retailer Sears, Roebuck & Co:

A good end result to consolidation would be the firms establishing knowledge-sharing groups where the firm serves as the facilitator rather than the source. This type of communication and sharing of information, directly between companies, can be much more valuable than generic research of survey results.

The world would be a better place if consolidation eventually led to that level of cooperation, but the trick would be for the firms to figure out how to do it while remaining competitive and profitable, and avoiding accusations of misconduct.

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