Charles Zedlewski had an amusing and organically growing post yesterday that made me laugh. He started off with a simple link to a topically hip article at silicon.com doomsaying IT, backed by comments from Gartner VP Ken McGee. Note to Gartner: when your subscription marketing plan is based on driving revenue by spreading fear, you are officially supposed to start referring to yourself as a big media outlet rather than an analyst firm. As a blogger, I am willing to do a short briefing with you on this topic.
Charles' initial post was just a simple link and the title - "Nick Carr will write a post about this article in the next 4 hours (probability .8)". He later came back and added his thoughts, which are definitely worth a read. The most hilarious part is that he had the last laugh when Nick finally did post on that article! Nick's comments are also worth reading, but are not too new if you are familiar with his existing comments. He leads with stats about HP consolidating data centers to drop $1B off it's IT budget, which sounds to me like fiscal responsibility rather than the death of IT...
I loved the irony in Charles' post around the 0.8 probability. Gartner's reputation is preceded and perhaps even precluded by their predilection for the decimal-based probability, which I find ridiculous. Maybe I'm just a sucker for substantive and even subjective analysis, but for all of the Gartner research I have read I can't say that I planned to do or not do anything over the decimal. I have had some great conversations with Gartner analysts, such as Gene Phifer who really get their area. So I don't have trouble with the individuals, but I'm not crazy about the Gartner culture or posture. As far as content goes, they could spend a little more time on open source as well - talk about IT not mattering anymore, how about looking at commodity software and ignoring FOSS offerings?
My tastes for analysis have become much more broad in the last couple years. The main firms I look towards are places like RedMonk, Burton Group, and Patricia Seybould Group. Burton in particular has fantastically in-depth and substantive research reports, which I have called out numerous times before. But you also can't beat the fact that all of these firms have bloggers on staff. When you can subscribe to the likes of James Governor, Stephen O'Grady, Cote', Brenda Michelson, Mike Gotta, and Richard Monson-Haefel you find out that your analysis needs change. You see not only their brilliant analysis for free but, perhaps more importantly, see the community dialog around topics of interest. How many analyst firms are actively seeking to build communities among their constituents? The answer is automatic if firms allow or encourage their analysts to blog.
Final note: holding an annual conference or several, while being a schweet boondoggle we all appreciate does not count as building community - there's more to it than that.