Bill Pray

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Bill Pray
Research Director
2 years at Gartner
16 years IT industry

Bill Pray is an analyst in the Collaboration and Content Strategies ITP team. He covers communications and collaboration solutions — e-mail, calendars, instant messaging, and web conferencing…Read Full Bio

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Field Research: Listening, Distilling, and Creating

by Bill Pray  |  April 18, 2012  |  Comments Off

A picture is worth a thousand words – in this case pretty much literally. One of the methodologies we use to conduct research in Gartner for Technical Professionals is something that was developed and refined by our group over the last few years called “Field Research.” This picture is from the field research I led on email systems management. This is a photo of the consolidation and interpretation phase. This is only one corner of a room with four corners…

I recently spent a week working on the consolidation and interpretation of our field research on cloud use and adoption. The field research process is fascinating. You start by doing an awful lot of listening. Then you search and identify valuable snippets (one to two sentences) of information based on what you heard. Then you classify, categorize and identify patterns. Then you tell the story. And finally, – our twist on the process – you analyze. Out of it comes insight and problem solving.

You also have to get along with several colleagues in a small room, generally with few windows. You learn a lot about your fellow team members. For example, I love Elden’s personal blog: http://www.fatcyclist.com/. I was also made an honorary team member of the Data Center Strategies team. They even gave me a plastic cup to prove it:

Obviously, we spent too much time in the small room.

Look for the findings from this research to surface in numerous documents over the next several months. For my part, the findings will be incorporated into an upcoming document on evaluating and selecting your software-as-a-service 3CS (communication, collaboration, content and social) vendors. Also, the findings will be presented as part of several of my presentations at our upcoming Catalyst conference (warning – official marketing pitch – register now to enjoy the San Diego sun and the wealth of information).

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