Monday, August 07, 2006
Outstanding Questions for Industry Analyst Michael Dortch
You stated: I believe there is similarly potential value in what is provided to IT practitioners by analysts -- even if those analysts lack sufficient hands-on experience in enterprise IT to warrant direct comparison to those practitioners. Do you think that if you are in the business of helping users that you should do more to enable direct conversations between end-users instead of always serving as an intermediary? Do you think that industry analysts should mention in their research reports whether they actually installed the products they are comparing or simply gathered the knowledge of users? Do you think analysts at large firms ever actually install the software they cover?
You also stated: we've recently published findings of a survey on enterprise open source database adoption, and are planning a teleconference on the subject. This of course didn't address my actual comment. While I find it noble that coverage of open source in genernal is receiving more coverage the real statement was more about listing open source projects next to commercial proprietary implementations. For example, if you do a report on Enterprise Service Bus and you feature CapeClear and Sonic in leading positions, don't you think that open source approaches such as ServiceMix should also be there? Likewise, if you are doing a research report on Portals, don't just list BEA, Oracle and IBM but also include Liferay.
You are probably aware that the biggest problem with the above is lots of the large analyst firms operate off a model of someone briefing them instead of them actually researching the marketplace. Others have made the conversation all about the vendor with less emphasis on product which is the exact opposite of what enterprise folks need. Do you think us enterprise folk care a lot about the vendor's vision and whether they see dead people or some other feely unquantifiable bullshit or do we care more about which features can satisfy our business requirements?
Anyway, I have five questions (other than what is listed above that I would love to see you take on since you are into helping out users:
- Industry Analyst Firm Redmonk started a trend of transparency in their blogs where they mention who is a client and who isn't. I hope you believe that transparency helps us end-users make better decisions. I would like your prediction as to when large analyst firms will stop rationalizing why they don't publish and instead start also embracing higher levels of transparency. Could you get your firm to embrace this concept?
- Speaking on rationalization, large analyst firms are afraid to change the conversation for the better when it comes to listing open source projects next to commercial closed source offerings. Do you think this is to protect their revenue stream because they would lose if us customers learned that open source projects may actually be of a higher quality and offer better support than many closed source proprietary vendors?
- Isn't it irresponsible to tell us enterprise folks to think of open source in terms of cost reduction but not tell us how to also contribute? Setting the expectation of having your cake and eating it too is simply bad form. There are many large enterprises that openly contribute to open source but don't pay analyst firms to tell their story. Is it reasonable for say Duke Energy to pay an analyst firm to talk about their wonderful .NET framework that they derive absolutely zero revenue from ? In your opinion, does the analyst community also have a fiduicary duty to tell the open source stories of Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, JPMChase, Citigroup, Boeing, Bank of America, Wachovia and others developing software for absolutely free and of high quality and providing it to others especially if this isn't their primary business model?
- You may have noted some slight bias in my blog towards Brenda Michelson and James Governor. They only practice transparent behavior, they aren't guilty of the crime of moderation. Many analyst bloggers don't have trackback turned on. Why are the analysts at large analyst firms so afraid of trackback? I assume that their research would show that managing blog spam has been for the most part solved. Why put themselves in the middle instead of the user in the middle? Wouldn't observing the conversation provide additional insight? What do you think it would take to get all bloggers from say Gartner to enable trackback? (yes, this will require you to speculate and you will probably get it wrong. We forgive you in advance)
- I am spec lead for an open source project in my vertical that involves multiple competitors in the federated identity management space. What should I be doing to get analysts to simply talk about the initative?
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