Sunday, August 20, 2006


Recent Thoughts about Brenda Michelson

Last week, industry analyst Brenda Michelson to conduct research for a case study she is doing on enterprise architecture practices. I figured I would share some of my thoughts regarding her visit...

I happen to work for one of the most open large enterprises on the planet where we frequently provide updates to industry analysts in terms of our practices. Being that I had the opportunity to put together the agenda, I made sure it had a good mix of folks throughout our enterprise. Of course, she had the opportunity to speak with our SVP, but more importantly she also got a chance to speak to folks who were new to the discipline of enterprise architecture and all of the folks in between. I hope that she is of the belief that my peers upon meeting them were thoughtful and more importantly transparent in terms of them sharing.

After the visit, Brenda dropped me a note indicating that she wanted to have a followup conversation with our most junior architect. I sent her an email and told her I would have to blog this as this isn't typical analyst behavior. Having brought in analysts from large firms in the past (For some reason I haven't talked with IDC yet) they all tend to want more time with our executives and ignore junior folks who actually are sincere in their interactions. Brenda didn't make think of anyone in the snobbery way that some analyst firms treat folks in the middle of the pack. She gets one check for knowing how to get business out of us.

Anyway, it did remind me of something that has been bothering me. Afterwards we did have a chat about the folks over at Redmonk whom I have the utmost respect for. Lately, I have been growing increasingly frustrated though in that I would like to see the relationship grow between Redmonk and other large enterprises. I acknowledge that the Redmonk style isn't condusive to the dinosaur thinking that most IT executives practice but am of the belief that there needs to be a sense of urgency in getting them engaged in other conversations.

I was thinking that the best way to solve for my own concerns would be to publicly invite them to meet our coworkers face-to-face without this over the phone stuff that is done by other analysts firms to do a case study on any topic that is within my authority to give permission to. If James, Steven and Michael are ever back in CT visiting IBM and want to drop by and start on a case study, then I am here to help.

Brenda can testify that we are pretty easy to work with and have few constraints on what can be discussed. The only problem I think we would have to solve for is our desire for formal research reports over blogs. Redmonk's work on compliance oriented architectures was thoughtful and consumed by many. The main problem though is I don't want them to be a one hit wonder. Sometimes advice to those whom you respect is tough yet I believe that they have something to offer that others lack.

The only other thing is that as Scott Mark mentions is my frequent use of my blog as the bully pulpit. I would of course after doing analysis on my peers that Redmonk also do a case study on Scott Mark's organization for all to consume. For those who are clients of Forrester, Alex Cullen just completed a study on our EA approach. You should read it...

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