Saturday, 11 March 2006

Kudos to Gartner Analysts for Re-examining their Predictions – Now Gartner should make this a Standard Practice

In the post Grading pundits and prognosticators: More famous = less accurate we expressed the wish that someone evaluate the accuracy of the IT industry analysts’ predictions. Well maybe Gartner is taking a small step in that direction for its research.

Over the last few months there have been at least four research notes that re-examined earlier predictions for accuracy:

  • “Former Web Services and Portal Predictions Re-examined” (ID: G00134789, 11/11/05)
  • “Yesterday's Security Predictions Re-examined Today” (ID: G00137715, 2/10/06)
  • "Assessing Our 2005 Manufacturing Predictions" (ID: G00137298)
  • “High-Performance Workplace Predictions Re-examined” (ID: G00138223, 3/1/06)
While the four notes are slightly different in titles and formatting, they share a basic approach of looking at past predictions, whether they were right/wrong and why, and offering lessons learned. Only subject matter experts will know how honest and accurate Gartner is being with the re-examinations, but it is a good step in the right direction.

To make this really valuable, Gartner needs to formalize the format and do it consistently across all research teams. Here are some suggestions free-of-charge:
  1. Parallel how the annual “Predicts” research notes are packaged and promoted
  2. Start the subject line with “Predictions Re-examined: “ to make searching easier
  3. Timing-- pair Predictions Re-examined: notes with the annual Predicts notes in November
  4. Use consistent formatting and labels for the section
  5. Focus on Strategic Planning Assumptions (SPA) like the November Web Services note did

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