Thursday, December 29, 2005


Industry Analysts and Blowhard Jamborees

Developing valuable working software within an enterprise is already difficult. We are confronted with design-by-committee (aka let's go around the table) and anti-pattern leveraged infrastructure. This is made even more difficult by so-called industry experts (The Business Rules Community seems to have more than their fair share) that often influence technology decisions.

Analysts and the media create articles/research that criticize particular aspects of technology causing architects in corporate America to spend way too much time answering the concerns of "executives" and decision-makers (usually not "executives") arising from their tales. Many of these so-called experts truly aren't. Many of them are also equally guilty of presently thinly-veiled biased viewpoints in which most practitioners can see through but non-technical folks in IT can't.

It has always been curious to me how analysts can justify their research as being credible if even the largest of analyst firms, maybe have visibility into 5% of the entire marketplace! Is a 5% at best statistical sample considered credible? Would't statictical accuracy improve if they were to not only talk to their customers but others as well? I know the folks over at RedMonk spend a significant amount of time talking to non-customers so their research is credible and the same thing can be said of the folks at Seybold Group but what should us enterprise customers think about the research put out by other firms? Do these firms even care about what we think?

Maybe the answer in the long run is for enterprises to have an in-house expert on each key technology so that they can discriminate between facts, misinformation and the opinions expressed in popular media. Maybe these same folks could start creating or at least participating in open source industry analysis. In fact, lets make this a call to action with me being the first volunteer. I will assist any analyst firm that agrees to create their next report using open source analysis on a topic that I am familiar with and agrees to also include my employer's logo!

Of course, the large analyst firms have absolutely nothing to worry about as they understand that an in-house expert requires deferral which is almost non-existent in a design-by-committee culture. Maybe this is the real problem that enterprise architecture attempts to solve...

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