Monday, 28 March 2005

Forrester: a new virgin?

I was pointed this link on Friday, relating to a new publication by Forrester criticising Ford for alledged anti-Semitic views. The author, Tom Foremski, relates that Ford asked Forrester to withdraw and when that request was denied on editorial independence grounds, they pulled back several hundreds thousands dollars.

This follows well documented episodes on Forrester, Aberdeen or IDC and Microsoft but also other vendors over the past few years -where integrity was seriously questioned. Overall, one should question whether this is negative for the analyst community at large?
By all accounts, it seems the level of cynicism amongst industry watchers and more worryingly end-users is higher than ever -and the current industry consolidation is probably going to polarise further the industry in three camps: the watchers, the crunchers and the helpers. The watchers are firms like Gartner and Forrester, whose revenue comes from both vendors and users and who can claim vendor independence and insight in IT-buyers side. The crunchers are those like IDC, who are funded by vendors to analyse market trends. And the helpers are also finding their revenues source within the vendor community to produce "stuff" to help them go to market, often white papers.

Understanding an analyst's business model is key to gauge their claims for independence. But bold statements... Small ones are just too exposed to dirty tricks....


PS: in addition to the ComputerWorld link above, read also the post from Ben King "Analysing the analysts: Can independence be bought?"

Thursday, 24 March 2005

Resistance is futile

As we are nearing April Fools Day (the day the assimilation of META by Gartner is official), the details of Gartner's "plan" are starting to emerge. And it's quite bleak....

On the analyst front, some are talking of about a 50% survival rate. They got a letter of intent last week in the US and this week elsewhere. The rumour says that most US Infrastructure analysts will not be offered a position with the borgs....

And as far as META Group Consulting is concerned, it is very apparent that Gartner is not interested by vendor Consulting, bar the benchmarking activity. META was doing quite well there with a double digit revenue.

So with the Borg killing the golden goose, the "outstanding strategic fit" looks more and more like a competitive take-out. An expensive one....

Tuesday, 8 March 2005

Speculating on the golden goose

While the Borg are busy assimilating META, the rest of the industry is wondering what will happen in face of the Gartner juggernaut -and many like in this post are lamenting about the loss of an opinion. Some others are busy keeping an eye on Gartner, see this Register article on a KGC (unfortunately not deep-linkeable) article applying Gartner's usual M&A recommendations to this acquisition.

Since no one has actually got a clue of the exact reasons motives of Gartner to buy META (and probably not the borgs themselves) and we're all speculating, I would agree with Louise that one of the most interesting areas is what will happen with META Group Consulting (aka MGC).
MGC was the fastest growing practice of META, and they did a number of things that Gartner would not do, either for "ethical" reasons or else. Like profit margins for instance: Gartner is known to much prefer "easy" strategic consulting (bang 3 Gartner analysts in a room @ $10k or more / day and let them rip you apart) to more "tactical" projects, those that vendors really need.
We won't know for sure what will happen to MGC before April Fool Day (when the deal will be completed), but early indications are not in favour of keeping META's golden goose...

Friday, 4 March 2005

Shock and horror: more about Oracle and Forrester!

James found this great document in his blog from today: "We Are Not Influenced By Vendors".
This looks like another call to regulate the IT analysts, as put in the Investor's Business Daily a "dirty little secret" about "cozy relationships".
The paper, having dug some emails from the PeopleSoft vs. Oracle suit, raises two points:

  • The fact analysts submits papers to vendors for factual review. Frankly, this should be considered as best practice! If only journalists were asked to check their facts....
  • It also questions whether vendors should have the right to select which analyst they talk to. This begs for a questioning on the nature of the relationship. On one side, vendors are disclosing information to analysts and maybe they should treat them equally. But as we know, the best conversations happen at the bar. Should then AR get a bigger entertainment budget to fund larger rounds? (I would not be against)
    On the other side, well established AR departments should fence what is disclosed and operate a fair policy to not go beyond what's "publicly" available facts and offer additional commentaries.

Easier said than done, though....

Thursday, 3 March 2005

You will be assimilated...

As I write those lines, it seems that the assimilation of the META techno-utopians all in one probability of the Gartner Borg is inescapable (.9 probability)

The META sales force is trying hard to get all the business they can, often offering good discounts. In that respect, the latest META communication to their clients (25/02) insists
that "Gartner has clearly stated that it will honor all META Group contracts during and after this acquisition" (don't know where and when they said this though?). That same letter from their COO states that the integration team has identified the following areas to be directly complementary:

  • Topical research enhancement: Business process management, business applications, business intelligence, etc...
  • Vertical industry research enhancement: Energy and utilities, insurance, government, etc.
  • IT organizational role research enhancement: Enterprise architecture, IT operations, security, etc.
  • Geography presence enhancement: Germany, UK, Australia, etc.
Interesting they've singled out specifically those countries, Germany and UK being in EMEA those where META Group Consulting is the most developed.

What this leaves out is the "META Group's well-trained, successful sales force", as mentioned explicitly in the first release. I hear contradictory rumours, that pinks slips are already distributed in the US, that META US sales are already fixed on their future but also that Gartner has a very aggressive 2005 sales plan, is looking to expand coverage in geos/verticals. But as they're legally impeached to talk to their future colleagues, these are only rumours... (.3 probability)

The mood at the San Francisco METAmorphosis seemed bleak, the EMEA version which is slated for after the April fool day rumoured merger date will be interesting.... (.5 probability)

Gartner Watch blog

Should Gartner be regulated? Joe's arguing that "they are “information monopoly” that dominates the influence industry on the buy-side of a multi-trillion dollar IT industry" and that they should follow the same SEC regulations than financial analysts. Interesting analysis, who's going to do it though Joe?

Tuesday, 1 March 2005

Welcome to ARmadgeddon

This blog has been set up by IT Analyst Relations professionals to relate tales, real stories, analyst gaffes and (un)predictions, analinguo, rumours, gossips and more. It is meant to be tongue in cheek, so take it with a pinch of salt before and don't be offended by the satire. We also try to share best practices with the AR community.

Read on for little secrets of the IT analyst industry, including Gartner, META Group, Forrester, Ovum and many more...

If you have information to share, please don't hesitate to drop an email -confidentiality assured if required- to ARonaut@bigfoot.com or leave a comment on this post.