Gartner is like a mainframe in 1979

Gartner is like a mainframe in 1979

Summary: "Gartner is like a mainframe in 1979. Ripe for deconstruction.


governorbw.jpg"Gartner is like a mainframe in 1979. Ripe for deconstruction." So says Redmonk analyst James Governor in his post about transparency and the analyst business. Notice that he said "deconstruction," not "destruction." With nearly $900 million (FY 2004) in revenue and about 4,000 employees, including 650 analysts and 550 consultants, Gartner is the big gorilla in the analyst space. It's not going under any time soon, but its margins and credibility could come under increasing pressure.

In reality, Gartner is actually more like the IBM of today than a 1979 IBM mainframe. IBM sells its consulting services and products to customers, taking revenue from both ends of the funnel. It maintains a significant amount of proprietary sauce but has also adapted to the open source world. Gartner gets paid by companies and vendors to consult and also issues analyst reports rating the vendors. Not exactly the same, but both work in an environment in which they have perceived and real conflicts.

James rightly contends that Gartner and other analyst firms (including his own) should simply disclose what firms are paying for services as well as the methodologies that underlie analyses. He argues that customers don't want to foot the bill to support the so-called proprietary analyst firms, and that a shared model for market research and analysis will emerge. Bringing some of the virtues of an open source ecosystem to the analyst world will result in more innovation and better decision making, he said.

"What if you could base your best practices on peer experience, rather than someone else's tablets of stone, brought down from the mountain?," James spouts. "Wouldn't it be nice to think that one day in the not too distant future enterprises had access to, and could contribute to, their own platform quadrants. No magic required, just aggregated decision-making."

Enterprises would like that kind of collaboration, transparency and standardization to develop best practices, but to 'encourage' Gartner to lift its veil will take more than James Governor throwing stones. The vendors and the enterprises paying Gartner will have to demand the same level of transparency that their customers are beginning to expect from them in doing business. 

Topic: CXO

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  • Analytical Skills will be commonplace

    Yes. Software will be developed where human brain will find hard to comprehend. Lot's of data is coming in everyday on the internet and it's waiting to be absorbed and analysed.
    Soon enough firms will be drawing out their own roadmaps based on the analysis conducted on their own *backrub* server in the backyard.
  • Gartner's credibility is like last night's dinner...

    ... in the toilet. Gartner will say anything and everything, as long as someone pays them to do it. I have yet to see a Gartner prediction or analysis of the future come true. The only people who quote Gartner are people trying to support a bent viewpoint (tech zealots, salespeople) that they know is completely unsupportable, but have an "expert" on their side gives them credence. If I had a dollar for every bad decision I have seen made based upon a Gartner "analysis", I could quit my job. Quoting Gartner is up there with quoting Wikipedia in my mind, it simply marks the person as naive and incapable of performing real research.

    Justin James
  • Gartner is like a mainframe

    As a career researcher, I have seen the customers needs evolve and change without the requisite changes in the industry. General information was useful when you had an uneducated market. But as users became more knowledgeable about their world, many analysts did not keep up with the needs to stay ahead, keep the pace as well as use more advanced research techniques and methods to uncover the emerging trends.

    The Gartner analogy makes sense, since like the large tech provides who have broad but sometimes not deep solutions, vs. the smaller focused providers (who have to be good just to stay in the game), the challenge becomes for the customers of these 'institutions', how do I find the really rich stuff vs. the general stuff.

    If you are making million dollar decisions, you might want some depth.

    The question them becomes, can these large institutions--whether GM, Gartner, etc reinvent themselves to provide the value for today's business needs?