Wednesday, February 22, 2006


The fallacy of integrity within the industry analyst community

Joe Guralnick in his blogged asked an interesting question: what if we knew the products that run many industry analyst's internal systems? Should they be bound to publish what vendor products they use? Would it be intriguing to know if the internal IT folks actually consume their own research?

When many enterprise architects make decisions around new technologies for their enterprises, they may start with research reports. Some will use it as input while others will use it as a filter and not consider vendors other than the ones listed as leaders. The latter are evil.

The one subliminal product endorsement that pretty much all the large analyst firms give is towards Blackberry. You ever notice how many of them use it at conferences? Will have to pay attention to see what brand of laptops the big guys use.

The one emerging trend that I wish they would talk alot more about is the savage practice of inventorying within corporate America. This is just another bad practice that has become pervasive and is a side effect of IT aligning with the business instead of providing guidance and leadership.

Imagine if you were an enterprise architect for Wild Oats (My favorite supermarket) and the CIO wanted to know how much storage is used by relational databases. Would you then run out and count every database for every application?

Now imagine the business wants to know how many cans of soup are on the shelves. Instead of walking the aisles, taking inventory of everything on the shelves, and then storing that inventory data in a database, while establishing periodic reconsiliation practices, instead just leave the "data" with the can of soup. Then, in the business process of restocking, the nightly, hourly or however frequently scan of all the RFID tags in the store bypasses the step of storing the inventory data in a database and goes directly to placing an order for more of that can of soup. Not only does the resulting business process come closer to achieving real time timing, but a step is eliminated from the process.

Note that in the above scenario, you would have eschewed creating a "framework", you would have avoided six sigma like analysis paralysis and instead chose innovation as the driving factor. Do you think that in this situation, innovation could have also reduced otherwise growing storage costs?

Inventorying nor any other form of metrics gathering can never provide real alignment. Maybe alignment comes by adoption of innovation as a mindset vs. publishing historical reports to aid in the justification of otherwise questionable decisions. Maybe enterprise architects at our competitors should ignore this message and instead keep filtering, inventorying and putting things into nice boxes...

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