Debbie Wilson

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Deborah R Wilson
Research Vice President
8 years at Gartner
15 years IT industry

Deborah Wilson, a Gartner research vice president, covers procurement strategies and applications. Her areas of interest include procure-to-pay, e-marketplaces, e-sourcing, spend analysis, services procurement and supply risk assessment. Read Full Bio

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Busch Was Right About One Thing

by Debbie Wilson  |  June 24, 2009  |  6 Comments


I suppose I should feel honored that Jason Busch would take the time to speculate in his blog about my work and my priorities.  I’ve certainly gotten some mail over his blog entry from earlier this week, which is rather comical because it came right after I ended a dry spell of a few weeks.  

And Jason is right, I have been extraordinarily busy.  But regarding what am I am busy with was completely off the mark.  It hasn’t been client consulting days, although I have had several of those and have enjoyed the chance to work in-depth, in person, with Gartner clients.  (FYI, Jason, I recommend that you complete a fact check before you publish something – Gartner does not pay commissions to analysts for consulting days.) 

What has kept the midnight oil burning in my office is the boatload of inquiries from end user clients that are interested in procurement technologies such as spend analysis, strategic sourcing, e-procurement and contract management.  To me this is a major milestone – because the marked volume of interest from such a diverse set of companies (both geographically and industry –wise) is surely a sign that procurement technologies has reached the mainstream.  And yes, I did get behind in posting to my blog.  However I advocate that quality of postings, not the quantity, be the measure of worth.  Moreover, I can’t think of a more wonderful, gratifying reason to be behind on posting to my blog than being busy helping end-user clients achieve their goals.  

And by the way, Jason, the call for vendors for the strategic sourcing magic quadrant was absolutely sincere.  When end-user clients are your focus audience, there is every incentive to cover vendors that may be of interest to them.   And as one last point, while I clearly welcome open discussion of the market and of needs in the blogsphere, what I value most for input into my research is the private conversations I have day in and day out with end users. 


Category: Contract Management E-Procurement Spend Analysis Strategic Sourcing     Tags:

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jason Busch   June 25, 2009 at 11:42 am


    I know of multiple friends and colleagues that have worked for Gartner over the years that have told me specifically that consulting and vendor speaking days directly impacted their bonus. Perhaps that is not technically a commission, but the principle is the same.

    However, if this policy has changed, I stand corrected. If this is the case, please let me know.

  • 2 Debbie Wilson   June 25, 2009 at 11:45 am

    I have been at Gartner three years now, and there has been no commission associated with or bonus impact relating to consulting and vendor speaking days.

  • 3 Debbie Wilson   June 25, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Jason, as the owner of SpendMatters, however, I assume the matter is quite the opposite for you – that speaking at vendor events or consulting with them impacts your paycheck quite a bit, no?

  • 4 Jason Busch   June 25, 2009 at 12:13 pm


    Let me answer both your response and then your question.

    1) If this is the case, I do stand corrected. However, it did not used to be this way (I’m waiting for some calls I have into those close to the Gartner organization at this time to find out specific compensation incentives in the new model — base and bonus) — and I will retract my statement if things have changed) However, I would still suggest that there’s a significant inherent challenge of having your largest clients as vendors (e.g., SAP/Oracle/MSFT) but still claiming to serve the practitioners first. This fact alone makes hiding behind the end-user argument a bit difficult for me to swallow.

    2) In regards to Spend Matters, you’re absolutely right that we eat what we kill. However, if I’m not viewed as objective, the blog would completely lose influence and readers would through me under the bus by being able to comment on everything we say. We have no brand to stand behind other than my own and Spend Matters would not be where it is today without the level of transparency it provides. Also, you’ll be pleased to know that an increasing percentage of our consulting revenue is coming from advisory time with practitioners.

    I’d still contend at the end of the day that Spend Matters is far more transparent than firms that do not make client disclosures (you can see my client disclosures on the blog). Also, if you or your readers are interested on this subject in more depth, see two related posts:

    Thanks, Jason

  • 5 Anthony Bradley   June 29, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Wow, these are such the tired old competitor and disgruntled vendor unfounded complaints against Gartner. I take vendor briefings and talk to clients about vendors who are not clients ALL THE TIME. You do not have to pay Gartner for access. You do not pay for MQ position. You do pay if you want our advice, period. Vendors that do try to pay for mentions are told straight out that being a vendor client means you get our advice and it does not mean we will necessarily write about you. Analysts are not compensated for consulting days at all. It has been many years since that practice. And Gartner has lost vendor client contracts because we don’t bend to their wishes. Honestly, if you are going to insult the integrity of us analysts get your facts straight or at least be a little more creative.

  • 6 Mark McCarthy   July 1, 2009 at 2:27 am

    I’m somewhat nervous about entering the fray, but have some valid recent experience to share…

    We were recently invited to participate in Debbie’s critical capabilities report. At the time we were not a Gartner client and never had been, and at no time was the prospect of us becoming one even raised for discussion. We found it to be an extremely fair and thorough process.

    We have since become a Gartner client (I pursued their UK office independently for this) and have had several briefings with their analysts. At the outset of each call they make it clear whether they are on the call as a paid advisor or in “briefing” mode, and the distinction between the two is obvious when you get into the meat of a call. In briefing mode they ask lots of probing questions that cut straight to the heart of the matter… in advisory mode I got some insightful thoughts and ideas back.

    I’m not wading into the middle of a super heavy-weight bout between analysts, but thought that other interested onlookers might value the (vendor) client’s perspective on these points.

    Jason… I’d be happy to brief you too.