Sunday, July 16, 2006


Industry Analysts and Case Studies

At work, we have a pretty open media relations policy that allows us to share information with industry analysts in the form of case studies yet many of them don't seem to take advantage of this fact yet they rant that most Fortune enterprises are insular and don't want to share. I am curious if they somehow have it twisted...

In the past, we have done case studies on SOA with Jason Bloomberg of ZapThink and Anne Thomas Manes of the Burton Group. Likewise, Alex Cullen of Forrester is putting the final touches on a case study on our EA practices that should be on their site in the August timeframe. We also have one of my favorite bloggers and industry analysts Brenda Michelson scheduled to visit us in August to analyze us and publish the results on various practices we have.

There are several analyst firms that have never contacted us regarding the desire to do a case study which I think speaks to some problems with how industry analysis works. Many of them have suggested that getting case studies out of corporate America is difficult. I cannot say whether this is true or not for other firms, but I can say that it is not difficult at all for my employer. All one has to do is ask.

Other analysts are worried that corporate media relations departments will want to censor their work. We do not practice this aspect. We of course want all information to be 100% accurate when published. One of the philosophies that is engrained within our culture is to acknowledge our own faults and shortcomings. Sometimes acknowledging areas in which you need improvements shows more signs of maturity than if you simply do case studies that are motherhood and apple pie.

I would say though that we have three constraints that I think folks should understand before approaching us. Constraint one is that we only talk on the record. Many analyst firms attempt to abstract us down into a Fortune 100 enterprise in the Northeast instead of mentioning our names on the record. From an ego perspective, we of course scenarios where the study is all about us and we are not just in the mix.

Constraint number two is that we tend to allow folks who want to do case studies on us to do it face-to-face. None of this over the phone stuff. Constraint number three is that information collected and ultimately published should occur in a formal research report. We acknowledge that blogs and other web 2.0 forms of communication are starting to grow in importance but the formality of traditional approaches is still king.

Actually, I would say there is a forth constraint. We obviously don't talk about our security posture and won't tell you all the open firewall ports, provide network topology diagrams or anything else that if it fell into the wrong hands could be exploited. This even includes organization charts along with headcounts.

Anyway, within my blog I tend to interact most with the folks over at Redmonk but we never seemed to have ever landed on doing any form of case study. Have to figure out how to make this happen with them. On this same note, they also interact with noted EA and blogger Scott Mark. It would be interesting for Redmonk to also do a case study on his employer as well...

It would be intriguing to see analysts that blog such as Stowe Boyd, James Bach, Dan Keldsen, Thomas Koulopoulos, Rob Enderle, Frank Gens, Gordon Haff, Neil Macehiter, Jeff Gould, Mike Rothman, Jeff Kaplan, Amy Wohl and James Governor talk about why they aren't doing more case studies on us enterprise folk. I would think that this would also provide immense value to software vendors that are paying the vast majority of their bills...

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