Instead, I want to talk about my anti-resolutions for 2010.They are “anti” in a couple different ways. The main one is that these are not things that I intend to do, but stuff that I hope that other people will do. That is much easier.This is also what analysts usually do; we rarely do stuff, but we comment a lot on what other people or organizations should do. Most of the resolutions are also “anti” because they describe something that I hope won’t happen rather than new things that should happen. I am generally not a negative person, but there’s a lot of undesirable activity going on out there. After reading this, please stop it. Thank you.
- Vendors should stop confusing “You can use it to do that” with “We designed it to do that”
Maybe it’s because I am working on a new magic quadrant (for “Externally-facing Social Software Platforms”), but I’m growing weary of vendors who think because a feature can conceivably be (mis)used to fill a need, that they should be considered just as much as a product specifically designed to meet a particular set of requirements.
You can use a heavy duty flashlight to hammer in a nail (I know; I’ve done it), but that doesn’t mean that a flashlight should be considered part of the hammer market.
- Organizational planners should stop thinking that participation in social media is enough.
Don’t get me wrong; I think participation is wonderful. Participation, (or at least monitoring if that’s all that you can swing at the moment) in communities and broader social conversations is the best place to start.
But merely participating cannot be the end goal. You need to understand what you realistically can get from the community, and what you can contribute, with emphasis on the latter. If you contribute well, you have a much better chance of benefiting at some point.
- More enterprises will look beyond SharePoint
I have nothing against Microsoft SharePoint. It is good at serving several needs, and just fine for addressing many others. But there are plenty of other good products out there, doing innovative things. In too many cases, SharePoint has become the default answer no matter what the question. Rather than asking “How can I use SharePoint to do X” most of the time, a better question would be “How can I do Y” or even “What should be the role of SharePoint in supporting my efforts to achieve Z?”
- Vendors should stop thinking that it is the analysts’ job to promote their product.
I shouldn’t be, but I’m regularly surprised and depressed at how often this comes up. The biggest part of my job is to help end user customers make better decisions, and to help vendor customers develop better products and marketing strategies. I am not a direct part of those marketing efforts, however.
I talk about vendors and products a lot, but not because the vendor is a client, or because they took the trouble to brief me. I realize that briefings take time and effort, and appreciate it when vendors invest their time in talking to me. But neither that nor being a client creates an obligation to promote a product.
- Please don’t blithely assume that analysts are scuzzballs.
Again I shouldn’t be, but I am often unpleasantly surprised at the ease with which some people assume that analysts are unethical, sleazy, scumbags who do nothing unless bribed. I have no problem with people disagreeing or challenging judgements, but I am as insulted as Tom is by offhand, unsupported assumptions that question my integrity. Luckily, I have enough customers who seem to value the advice which my colleagues and I provide. If we were really as scuzzy as some people seem to think, no one would put any weight in what we have to say.
I can’t speak for the entire industry or even all of Gartner, but I know that for a fact that I have never been asked to favour a vendor client over non-clients in any research I have done. Most of the time, I don’t even know for sure which ones are clients. We spend a great deal of time discussing how to keep our independence, and none on how to reward paying clients. In the last month, I had two situations where I know that Gartner lost revenue because a vendor client expected their customer relationship should deliver them more mentions in research notes and conference presentations and better ratings (see #4). We showed no hesitation in making clear that this is not the way we work.
- Please don’t let the Apple people get pitted against the Android/ChromeOS folks
I suspect that the time is soon coming when we we will see “I’m a Mac, and I’m a ChromeOS” ads, or at least spoof videos along the lines of Apple’s ads making fun of PCs. Since I am more of a PC/Blackberry type, most of this will pass me by, like when the cool kids in high school split along a strict Michael Jackson/ZZ Top divide (I was more of a Joe Jackson fan).
I already find most Mac vs. PC discussions irritating (they both work, they both have problems, IMHO). But a split like this will inevitably encourage the disturbing trend that splits the world into camps that generally either talk past each other, or shout at each other. There’s enough of that in politics; let’s try to avoid it in tech where we can.
- No one will “Reply all” to more than ten people.
Yeah, that would be nice.
As for last year’s anti-resolutions, as I expected not many of them came to be, or stopped being as the case may be. A little bit of progress on numbers 7 , 8 and 9, but not much. However, this year’s list only has 7 items instead of 10, so I suppose that is close enough to good news to be worth celebrating.
Happy new year to everyone.
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