Thursday, December 07, 2006


What Industry Analysts can learn from the Burton Group

Sam Buchanan recently commented on a posting by Scott Mark that is absolutely worthy of amplification...

Sam states:

Other analyst firms embrace the notion of a seat which is absolutely painful from an end-user perspective. Why should I have to go through an internal coordinator simply to have a conversation? Imagine if I am calling up an industry analyst firm to get advice on increasing efficiencies within my IT department and I had to go through a person simply to coordinate the call? I have an account with the Burton Group and can schedule my own briefings without the overhead of internal coordination. I don't know the model for small analyst firms but if they are noodling such a construct, immediately beat yourself over the head.

Direct access is important. Do you know how many times I have searched for information and ran across a link that pointed to Gartner and Forrester that sounded interesting only to have to wait for my coordinator to send it to me? I wonder if this problem can be solved by analyst firms simply checking the IP address range of their clients for access or even consider implementing some of those wonderful federated identity ideas in your research reports. I cannot think of a better use-case for federated identity than the analyst / client relationship. How about all of us eating our own dogfood.

Burton Group really understands security. I assume Sam that you were hooked by their research because it wasn't the shallow marketshare discussion about vendors. While this helps you procure, it doesn't help most other IT folks in their day jobs. You probably were hooked in that it covered useful information at a sufficiently deep level. You were probably further drawn in by the fact that when you requested a briefing the analyst could go even deeper and didn't simply read the report to you over the phone.

Yes, I would love to see Burton Group blog more than they do especially Dan Blum and Gerry Gebels. Maybe us customer bloggers could get them to become jealous of the folks over at Redmonk who have mastered this domain. Would be curious to know which redmonker you read the most. For me, I follow James Governor the most. Not because he has a really cool name but like many UK analysts he talks about problem spaces more than products which I like. I guess this is a general pattern that I have observed outside of Redmonk in that UK analysts tend to talk about architecture and analysis while US analysts almost always go to product endorsements.

Stephen and Michael are equally tied for second. If Cote started talking about agile from an enterprise perspective and how the community could benefit by having conferences with speakers other than consultants so as to bring a balanced perspective, he would immediately steal my number one spot.

Sam, the one thing I am surprised that neither you nor Scott mentioned was the length of briefings. With the large guys, it seems as if all conversations are shoved into a 1/2 hour slot where as Burton Group expects at least an hour. 1/2 hour on anything is simply too short to discuss anything meaningful nor derive any value from a conversation...

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