Monday, March 03, 2008


Industry Analysts, Armadgeddon and Rationalization

The folks at Armadgeddon have an interesting perspective on the notion of open source analysis. Likewise, the highly respected industry analyst James Governor of Redmonk provides his response. Of course, I believe that both need amplification as well as refinement...

James Governor stated: Our view is that their is an exuberant over-abundance of great analysis out there, the majority of which doesn’t even come from analysts. It is not our goal to be an aggregator of everyone’s analysis. That would be impossible. I know that the likes of the IIAR and James McGovern have recommended that we all go into one big M&A frenzy, and roll up all the UK independents to create a “credible” and “easy to work with challenger”. But in my humble opinion RedMonk is already credible and easy to work with.

My perspective says that in terms of the business model that James is building, me and him are in 100% agreement. No one has a lock on ideas or analysis, nor is it fruitful to be a impedimentgateway to access. The problem at some level is that my recommendation is done for a very different reason which probably gets lost in translation of perspectives.

Let's acknowledge for a moment that I am an Enterprise Architect and employed by a Fortune 100 enterprise. Let's also speculate that the average IT department in this size enterprise may work with a lot of vendors. If you thought for a moment, the number of vendors an enterprise may work with is minimally in the three digits and more than likely four digits for others. In terms of my day job, one of my tasks is to rationalize the number of vendors and products we do business with. One can acknowledge that no architecture can remain sane for any period of time if you have multiple products that are duplicative in functionality.

The enterprise architecture lens would suggest that redundancy should be eliminated. If James Governor were to walk into our shop and see that we have twenty five different J2EE application servers and we allowed him to publish this fact, he would blast us. It would be apparent to many that having that many can't possibly make sense regardless of how easy any of the product vendors are to work with.

Another perspective says that good analysis is worth paying for and that many enterprise architects in the blogosphere would love to work with firms such as Redmonk but have other constraints. I have been very supportive over the years of small analyst firms such as Entiva, Macehiter Ward-Dutton, ZapThink, Nemertes, Elemental Links, CMSWatch and so on. Now ask yourself, how successful do you think I would be if I wanted to get approval to work with all of these analyst firms using the argument that they are easy to work with?

I am simply advocating the need to consolidate from an enterprise procurement perspective while maintaining your own unique value proposition. In terms of the folks from Armadgeddon, I think it is equally important to acknowledge to your clients that some analyst firms don't actually expect revenue from software vendors and do expect us end-customers to pay for it. The traditional model is being challenged from more than just becoming open source. Please provide a balanced perspective going forward...

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