Thursday, March 30, 2006


Industry Analyst firms and Case Studies

At work, several of my peers have expressed an interest to share even more information about our IT practices with industry analyst firms who are willing to do five page case studies on us where we are the exclusive focus (not comingled with other enterprises). We have pinged lots of analyst firms and for the most part all have been receptive. I have noticed a pattern here though, that I find intriguing...

We have decided to share our thoughts with analyst firms on the following topics:

We contacted analyst firms of which we subscribe and don't and both types were receptive. Part of our constraint in this undertaking is that we offered up an opportunity to come onsite and interact with lots of people instead of just doing briefings over the phone (face-to-face conversations are always better). It seems as if the larger analyst firms tend to either have analysts already on our side of town negating any travel costs for them and/or had plans to meet with other companies in our area and was game to schedule around it.

Enterprises are wonderful places to practice one's profession. The opportunities abound to have meaningful dialog with others is immense. There are many folks in the blogosphere who have the outsider looking in perspective and miss the point for a game changing conversation. One of the things in arranging these case studies is that I felt it was important that I only be a coordinator and not a participant so as to not establish a perception that its all about me. I wanted to make it all about others. To a certain extent, the notion of declarative living should demand this behavior of others.

In previous blog entries, I have always encouraged industry analysts to explore the ecosystems of other enterprises. I am a big fan of Duke Energy who not only uses open source but made a conscious effort to give back to the community. There are lots of other enterprises whose primary business model isn't about technology yet they have a strong sense of community. Stories on these companies need to be told and amplified for others to hear. Enterprises aren't evil but the folks that refuse to tell their story may be...

The funny thing is that I am passionate about not telling the story of my employer. It is not that we don't do wonderful things, reality states that we have the premier set of architects in the universe and it is futile to think that any company could assemble an architecture team that is better than ours. Most folks assume that because I talk about enterprise topics that I must somehow be talking about what goes on at work. They would be guilty of reading "into" too much of what I say. If I happen to be employed by or the folks whom I have open conversations with work for such Cigna, Aetna, Travelers, Prudential or Lincoln, their names doesn't really matter as folks would get caught up in focusing more on name-dropping than the actual intent of communicating in the first place.

Are the demographics of who are paying clients to industry analyst firms look different if you are small vs large? I could only find information that Forrester attempts to make sure that us "enterprise" folks make up 1/3 of their paying client base. Would love to know general industry statistics in this regard.

Anyway, I would love for others to provide me with their own thoughts on what other topics would you like to see large enterprises sharing with others? The story of vendors, new software development languages such as Ruby are uninteresting when juxtaposed against what occurs in large enterprises. Of course, I will be fighting an uphill battle to get others who are otherwise outsiders looking in to see what I see and therefore will be perceived in many unpleasant ways but I am savage in my beleif that if real perspectives on enterprises are allowed to emerge, the outsiders may come to appreciate alternative thinking. The journey is long and I hope they have the stamina to keep up...

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