Tom Austin

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Tom Austin
VP & Gartner Fellow
20 years at Gartner
41 years IT industry

Tom Austin, VP, has been a Gartner Fellow since 1997. He drives Gartner's research content incubator (the Maverick Program) and is leading a new research community creating research on the emerging era of smart machines. Read Full Bio

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Genuine Research — Accept No Substitutes, especially vendor-written summaries!

by Tom Austin  |  August 7, 2010  |  11 Comments

IBM’s Ed Brill decided to do himself a favor by publishing his summary of our recent research note entitiled “Migrating Off Notes/Domino E-Mail May Make Sense in Some Circumstances”.

If you want to understand what we said, read our research note, not (just) Ed’s spin. I say “we” because even though the only name on the author line is mine, the contents were written by hundreds of Gartner clients, filtered through several key Gartner analysts and vetted by a large number of analysts and managers at Gartner.

While you need to be a Gartner client to read the note, the summary we posted is available to everyone, whether clients or not:

Increasing numbers of IBM Lotus Notes e-mail customers seek Gartner’s advice about moving to other e-mail systems. Either staying with Notes e-mail or migrating can be the right choice, depending on each enterprise’s needs and circumstances.

Those of you who are clients should take the complete Research Note — print it out — and take a highlighter to it (or use electronic equivalents) and try to figure out what statements in the research note Ed Brill forgot to mention in his write up. If you run into Ed, ask him. If you run into an IBM account executive brandishing Ed’s summary, ask the account exec.

Then prioritize the omissions for Ed (there’s more than one). And send them to him asking him why those statements were left out.

Don’t really do that, please! Ed doesn’t need to be deluged with more email, in either electronic or paper form. I’m trying to make an important point. You might benefit from seeing the difference between our research and vendor spin (or vendor employee spin).

Consider the sources: Ed is IBM’s chief Notes evangelist (his official title is Director, End-User Messaging and Collaboration) and his focus is maximizing IBM’s success. Would you expect someone in that position to put a spin on his summary of our research, a spin to help him achieve his objectives? (I bet you and I have formulated the same answer in our minds.)

I’ve been where Ed is today. I used to work for a vendor in this very space, among others, Digital Equipment. I know what someone in Ed’s position is supposed to do. And, in my capacity as a Gartner analyst, I know what I have to do too.

If you want to know what we wrote, read our research, not a vendor’s summary or extract or use of selected quotes. Otherwise, you never really know what you’re getting, do you?

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11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tweets that mention Genuine Research — Accept No Substitutes, especially vendor-written summaries! -- Topsy.com   August 7, 2010 at 9:24 am

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Carter Lusher, tomaustin. tomaustin said: To know what Gartner says, read us http://bit.ly/bAjyqo not others' summaries of what they want you to think we said. [...]

  • 2 Catalin A   August 7, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    What you, as a Gartner consultant fail to say is that Lotus is more than an e-mail system.

    This is what is ‘carefully’ left out, the fact that with a good design, one Lotus Domino server can replace 3 – 4 Microsoft servers (exchange, sharepoint…). And don’t even get me started about ROI on this.

    It is amazing to me that people pay for this kind of incomplete reports. Sorry to break it to you, but they can only be used for CYA…

    And this is what pisses people like Ed (biased as you say he is).

  • 3 Nathan T. Freeman   August 7, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Putting aside the criss-cross of conflicting interests on both sides here, I notice that Ed Brill did you the courtesy of providing a link to the report, while you fail to provide so much as a mention of his domain name (edbrill.com in case someone needs it.)

    One would think that the Chief of Research for Social Software with 40 years experience in the IT industry would understand the basic web netiquette of providing a hyperlink to any specific material to which you refer.

    At least, unless he was just doing himself a favor by talking about it out of context.

  • 4 John Turnbow   August 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Just as with statistics, lies and damn lies are told with studies. All depends on what is requested in the study.

    If only email, you get only email, although Lotus Notes is a great deal more than email, you leave that out of your report. Ed did a good job in pointing out entries in your own report that was positive towards Notes while your report is not intended that way.

  • 5 Tom Austin   August 9, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Our research is based on discussions between 1-July-09 and 30-April-2010 with clients in 116 different enterprises about both Notes/Domino email (typically the presenting issue) and applications. The discussions were initiated by the clients, not by Gartner. The research note talks about reasons for staying on the platform (not migrating) as well as reasons for leaving. Ed could have quoted a lot more positive material from our research note (but he’d probably be in violation of copyright if he did that). The problem with all of the positive material is there is also negative material. This is not a black and white situation. For some clients, it makes sense to stay. For others, it makes sense to migrate away. Clients can read about it in the note or discuss it with one of us (or both).

    Thanks for the comment!

  • 6 Dale Cybela   August 10, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Any vendor IBM included will always take the “good” from a report and “spin” it their way. I applaud Ed’s blogging. What I don’t understand is why you don’t respond similarly when Microsoft does the same thing in their press releases, blogs and other media? When the obviously Microsoft takes the “good” from reports and leaves out the bad and slants things “unfairly” to their products.

    In other words – why aren’t you balanced and unbiased in your coverage in your responses? You have a opportunity to do this by taking any of the Microsoft media on Lotus Notes (from their web site where they (unfairly) compare Exchange 2010 or 2014 to Lotus Notes 6 or their press releases or from past Gartner reports) and confront them about being selective about what they present to customers.

  • 7 Exchange Rox   August 11, 2010 at 12:18 am

    @Dale

    Please provide direct links on Microsoft properties where the company has taken verbatim quotes from Gartner research and not provided the full report to any customer. If you can’t do this, then please crawl back under the bridge where trolls live.

  • 8 jsanchez   August 11, 2010 at 4:23 am

    questions how many servers and IT people, do you need for a redundant exchange configuration? at least four
    time? how knows from 1 hour to 1 week
    can you reuse old hardware? no

    can you upgrade from exchange x to exchange y?? NO

    Finally you have a exchange server that is only email ONLY EMAIL!!!

    dont forget it!!

    ibm Lotus have bad marketing but is better than exchange (a lot of better)

  • 9 jsanchez   August 11, 2010 at 4:24 am

    how many servers and IT people, do you need for a redundant exchange configuration? at least four server
    time? how knows from 1 hour to 1 week
    can you reuse old hardware? no

    can you upgrade from exchange x to exchange y?? NO

    Finally you have a exchange server that is only email ONLY EMAIL!!!

    dont forget it!!

  • 10 Dale Cybela   August 11, 2010 at 8:46 am

    @Exchange Rox.

    Please point to the sentence in my post that says \Microsoft doesn’t provide a link to the full report on which they summarize information\. I never said that.

    Please do not troll. Sign your real name. Please be polite on posts. Telling someone to crawl back under a rock when they post their real name and you don’t seems……..

    Please don’t respond as I won’t respond again. I only volley once.

  • 11 Gartner-IBM Kerfuffle Illustrates Why Stakeholder Education is Critical » SageCircle Blog   August 11, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    [...] Tom Austin (Gartner) Genuine Research — Accept No Substitutes, especially vendor-written summaries! [...]