Sunday, October 23, 2005


Industry Conferences and Industry Analysts

This was an interesting week for me in that I had the opportunity to speak at one conference about service oriented architectures, attend another conference on information security and talk in detail with six different industry analysts throughout the week. Today's blog entry is an blend of all of my thoughts for the week.

In the blogosphere it is typical practice for folks to blog their experiences at industry conferences. I am no different. As usual, the vast majority of speakers are either from the industry analyst community or the vendor community and are infamous for presenting thinly veiled sales presentations chock-a-block with eye candy but lacking any substance. I can finally say, that I was presently suprised in attending the Information Security Conference put out by TechTarget. While it had the analysts doing their industry voodoo and vendors pitching their wares, it also had some decent presentations by end customers something that is rarely seen at other conferences.

Within the information security space, it seems as if folks are still struggling with getting spam under control, patch management and other kindergartner level information security topics. With the recent attacks that are in the media, I was disappointed in that no one was talking about security that happens at the application level. There were no presentations on identity management, federated identity or a topic near to my heart on writing secure code. For the most part everyone is still talking about security at the infrastructure level. No wonder most enterprises when breached end up in the media. No pity on them...

As far as my conversation with industry analysts in all started with a conversation I should have had with a prominent industry analyst that didn't occur. Awhile back, I came across a report on enterprise portal software and noticed that it did not contain any mention of open source portal offerings. Within the same time period, I ran across a wonderful open source portal: Liferay that was more scalable than anything on the planet and was validated to be more secure by an independent third party. As I started to learn more about Liferay, I also learned that it was used by several prominent Fortune 100 enterprises. Was curious why the analysts weren't talking about it.

The conversations with analysts brought me to a conclusion that I never really thought about in the past. I used to contribute to a variety of open source projects but that there are tons of folks on the planet to do this. My real calling is in my own ability to speak about corporate usage of open source. Since I am employed by a Fortune 100 enterprise, I could start talking about not only open source in terms of the software we use, but our mindset in what we will adopt and what we won't. I asked myself what would happen if I started to think of myself as a vendor giving a briefing to an industry analyst on the products we use would they then consider putting them into their quadrants...

Only time will tell if analysts will if analysts will start covering open source projects not created by just large software vendors who are simply dumping stuff into the marketplace but will tell the story of those who simply want to create useful software with no profit motive. Maybe there is an analyst that would not only talk about using open source software but contributing to it. Maybe they would tell the story in better detail of my own experiences or even the experiences of others. As a purchaser of analyst research, I feel it is important that analyst cover multiple perspectives including paid and open source software. Maybe they will tell the story of the folks at Duke Energy and their contribution of the DUKE .NET development framework to open source.

Anyway, in concluding today's entry I encourage all folks in corporate America to read a great blog entry by Bill Burnham entitled: Conflicts and Cash: Industry Analysts and Start-ups. It is eye-opening...

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