Earlier today I was part of a panel that discussed Gartner's acquisition of the Burton Group. The other participants were:
Jonathan Yarmis - Research Fellow Ovum and ex-Gartner/AMR
Naomi Higgins - Analyst Relations EMEA, Microsoft
Jonny Bentwood - Head of Edelman's AR practice and author of the Technobabble blog/analyst list
It should be no surprise that Jonathan takes a contrarian view, wondering whether this truly represents a furtherance of Gartner's reach into the IT community. Naomi is concerned that other than Gartner, there are few, if any analyst houses with sufficient brand strength to challenge the status quo, especially in EMEA. For my part I see Gartner as the Oracle roll up game in the analyst community and am concerned about the contraction of choice for those looking for independent advice. Jonny served as ringmaster who kept us ticking along.
During the call we discussed the role of the small, boutique houses with specific mention of Freeform Dynamics and Redmonk as representing emerging analyst models in an increasingly complex world. It is worth noting that while none of us believe Gartner's role and especially the dreaded Magic Quadrant are going away, important questions remain around independence, quality of information and the changing market requirements.
For me, the most interesting parts of the conversation were:
- In the discussion around the requirements of business decision makers and the use of social computing platforms as a method of reaching buyers
- The real impact of analysts as influencers going forward
- The possibility that Forrester might be acquired
- Best of breed competitors and their role in conversations that matter
The recorded podcast (which runs 44 minutes) is available at the Technobabble site.