Monday, April 16, 2007


Response to Earl Perkins of Gartner

Earl Perkins, noted industry analyst at Gartner left an interesting comment in a previous blog entry that I figured was worthy of additional discussion...

My perspective says that while it may be unrealistic to run every software package or solution, it is not unrealistic to at least have a belief that the analyst has seen it run which I can say that many analyst firms are solely repeating what they seem from vendor slideware. One interesting perspective I have observed is folks at the Burton Group such as Gerry Gebel organizes interoperability events with the most recent being in the XACML space. Holding these types of events says that pretty much every Burton Group analyst has seen and touched the software. Does Gartner hold similar events or at least have the expectation that analysts giving insights have seen the software running?

Favoritism is OK as long as its declared upfront. Have you ever read the blogs by the folks over at Redmonk? Check out James Governor's blog. He openly declares which vendors are clients (aka paid) and which one's are not. I suspect lots of folks would be curious to know if there has ever been a vendor to appear in a Magic Quadrant in the leaders portion that have never paid fees.

Favoritism has absolutely zero to do with diversity. If Gartner were to hire me, I of course would have my own favorites. The key is whether I disclose them as such. Imagine being in a dialog with James McGovern regarding Open Source Portals and you asked me about which one is better. Of course, I am going to represent Liferay as I belong to this community. While this isn't about money, it is about ego and therefore declarations solely in terms of money may not be enough transparency.

The funny thing is that you can hire in a diverse way but that still doesn't guarantee that folks have touched software at any point in their career. Consider the fact that the vast majority of large enterprises have lots of folks who work in IT organizations but are otherwise not IT professionals. If I were a manager, my agenda could have included Web Services, BPM, etc where I simply repeated content borrowed from analyst firms and put them into my own Powerpoint. If Gartner then hired me, do I really have experience?

I would like to state that you do not have 27 years of IT experience. Here's why. In 1983, I started my IT profession by working in Cigna's Data Center where I wrote an asset tracking application and also changed out IBM terminal controllers. In this period, I would say that within one year, I gained two years of experience in that I not only programmed but also understood infrastructure. If you do the math, I could say that I have 24 years of IT experience but in all reality, I only have sixteen and it isn't because I left IT.

Consider for a moment folks who have done mainframe software development their entire career and then their jobs were suddenly outsourced to places such as India. One perspective says that they can claim on their resume 30 years of IT experience while in all reality they simply had one years worth of experience thirty times...

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