Gartner has done multi-analyst podcasts from two IBM events so far this year:
- IBM: Growth through Innovation, 8 March 2006 (analysts: Cearley, Cantara, Clark, Karamouzis, Rozwell, Young)
- Live from Lotusphere, 3 February 2006 (analysts: Austin, Cearley, Eid, Mann)
What is striking about both podcasts is that the analysts were overall very positive about what they heard. Yes, there was some perfunctory skeptical commentary, but the analysts were mostly cheerleading IBM’s positions and announcements.
So, two questions: a) why does Gartner podcast only from IBM events, but not other vendors’ events, and b) why is the commentary so positive? There are both innocent and sinister explanations for these two questions:
a) Innocent: IBM is simply more effective at putting on events that attract the analysts and has an AR function that is more effective than other vendors.
Innocent: Dave Cearley, Gartner's IBM lead analyst, is more effective than his colleagues about getting his topics covered as podcasts. For Cearley is a matter of intelligent self-promotion.
Sinister: IBM is paying SAS fees to Gartner to guarantee analyst attendance.
Sinister: IBM is likely Gartner’s largest client and the analysts did not want to annoy Gene Hall by not showing up at IBM’s events.
b ) Innocent: IBM has an excellent plan and messaging for Websphere and innovation, so as a consequence the analysts are positive with only token skepticism. In addition, superior IBM AR execution means that the analysts were used as consultants on strategy and message creation so that they had an emotional buy-in to IBM’s success and were already very knowledgeable before they arrived at the events.
Sinister: IBM is likely Gartner’s largest client and the analysts did not want to annoy Gene Hall by dissing IBM.
Semi-Sinister -- Sloppy research: Any person can be seduced by a well-run event with razzle dazzle. Perhaps the analysts were razzled and dazzled by what they saw at the event and turned off their critical thinking. Maybe if they waited a week or two, they would not have been as positive.
What do you think? Are there are other reasons to explain this potential bias? Please vote on the various innocent and sinister options.