Creating a 3rd life for the industry analyst business

Barbaraanalysts, Events

Lots of very smart people like to point out what’s wrong with the industry analyst business. Yet, few engage in a constructive conversation about what it’s going to take to revitalize the industry analyst business — so that it plays a more valuable link in the IT procurement chain going forward. Chanting lies-damn-lies won’t do the trick. To foster a more useful and informed public debate, I’m supporting a new speaker series at the Computer History Museum. Here’s some insight into my thinking, and my personal thank you to some inspiring individuals and organizations also helping to promote this event, albeit each for their own reasons.

To recap the CHM event: The Computer History Museum is presenting Gideon Gartner, in conversation with Neill Brownstein, on May 15th. It’s free; a $10 donation at the door is suggested (if not a CHM member). Find more information and register at the CHM website.

Recently, I surprised James Governor at RedMonk by pointing out that I see many parallels between RedMonk today and Gartner’s early days. If you know him, you can guess just how pleased he was. But here’s my point: as a company, Gartner was a innovator and a disruptor in the industry analyst marketplace in the early 1980s. It changed the rules about information and advisory delivery, sales models, business culture, and more. Gartner was not the only innovative company at the time, nor was it the last. However, many its innovations became standard practices. Most of the analyst companies we see today are interpretations of this earlier period of innovation — despite the fact that as early as 1995, Gideon Gartner himself characterized the 1980s business model as outdated and out of sync with the market.

That, in a nutshell, is why this Computer History Museum speaker series is worthwhile. It provides an opportunity to hear personal insights and stories about a successful cycle of innovation — including the challenges, wins, frustrations. It’s an opportunity to understand the human story behind what it took to disrupt and innovate. What could have been done differently? What will it take to reinvent the analyst business again, today or in the future?

Starting up a new cycle of innovation is never easy in any industry. The analyst business is no exception. Independent analyst businesses — and analyst-like business divisions — are springing up all over the world. Most present very little change in the old business mission, model, culture or mechanisms. It seems apparent that any significant impetus for change must created intentionally.

Several individuals and organizations are engaging in meaningful discussion about new dynamics in high tech market influence. I want to thank those who have stepped up to help promote the CHM event — most notably, the Society for New Communications Research and Hewlett-Packard’s Carter Lusher — and also:

I hope to see you at the Museum on May 15th.

Reprinted from Tekrati