Blog post

To my 750+ Gartner Clients: THANK YOU!

By Benoit Lheureux | December 01, 2009 | 5 Comments

Something cool happened today: I gave IT advice to my 750th named Gartner client. 🙂

To be more specific, for over ten years I have kept track of all the companies that I have given advice to. I track each company and the people within that I speak to within using a proprietary XML-based personal knowledge management (PKM) application I wrote in Visual Basic (ick – long story). I manage the list of Gartner client companies in one of my many (as of today precisely 4070) knowledge maps — here’s a partial screen shot of that (with links to each individual Gartner client company MAP mostly hidden by my system clock to honor client confidentiality):

750 Gartner Clients Event

The total number of companies I have advised is much higher if you include companies (some Gartner clients, some not) that I meet at our conferences world-wide, which I don’t track. Gartner publicly cites a customer base of over 10,000 companies world-wide so I estimate that I’ve given IT advice to somewhere between 7.5% and 10% of all named Gartner clients.

Here are some additional random tid-bits about the clients I’ve served over the years:

  • I’ve served clients with company names that begin with every letter of the alphabet, including three X’s and Z’s
  • You collectively do business across dozens of countries on every continent [I maintain a MAP for every country so I can track a list of clients by country]
  • I usually give advice to several people in your company — its actually kind of rare to have a research inquiry with only one person
  • Over time for the same client company I will often speak with people in different groups, divisions, and even different countries
  • You do business across at least 41 different industries [I maintain separate MAPs for each industry]
  • For B2B projects you are users of IT solutions from at least 169 of the total number of vendors [656 as of today] that I track [one MAP per vendor]
  • The several hundred B2B integration projects you’ve described to me are very roughly evenly divided between small, medium and large B2B projects
  • When you have questions I cannot answer I have referred you to one or more colleagues across 175 different IT topic categories [yep, there’s a MAP for that]
  • When I take a call with you there’s a better than 2/3 chance that I have advised you or someone else in your company before. [Er, no MAP — just an estimate :)]
  • When I’m in the office I average 3 to 4 client research inquiries per day; on my busiest days I can serve 8 clients [the rest of the day? meetings, research, email, etc.]
  • Given my primary area of research it should not be surprising that the primary topic of discussion with most (at least 90%) of my clients is B2B integration
  • I do several hundred research inquires per year, thus I have provided IT advice to clients on several thousand research inquiries over the last ten years

For some of my figures above I say “at least” because I have not always had a MAP (nor always have the time to update every MAP) for all this sort of metadata.

Regardless, from what I *do* track the numbers speak for themselves — the last 10+ years have been a good run. I’ve certainly learned a lot, and I hope my advice to you has been helpful. To my 750 — and counting — client companies and the several thousand people across those companies that I’ve had the opportunity to meet its been my pleasure and priviledge to server you. THANK YOU for trusting me to give you IT advice.

Tomorrow I’ll speak with my 751st client … I very much look forward to that call, and the many others to follow!

– bjl

Comments are closed


  • Congratulations to you. On reaching the landmark – but also for maintaining such an extensive knowledge MAP over a number of years.

    It is a fantastic personal effort to design, update and track over such a number of MAPs … Best Luck for the future.

    Best regards

  • RSS subscriber says:

    Dear Benoit,

    This is a great achievement indeed. Congratulations on your iron will, intelligence and determination.

    Would you recommend any specific PKM tool for private use? Commercial or not, does not matter.

    Thank you.

  • Eric Knipp says:

    Wow dude. Thats incredible. Is it 750 all-time or 750 since you started tracking?

    Maybe we should build the Gartner Ben Lheureux PKM v2.0 – on an APaaS, in the cloud .. =)


  • I appreciate everyone’s encouraging remarks. For what its worth, maintaining this sort of meta-data is a way of life. 🙂

    Regarding what commercial PKM tool I would recommend I don’t mind sharing that I use Personal Brain as a very functional overlay over my own XML/HTM knowledge maps. Like my own tool BP allows you to dynamically link maps, do re-factoring, drag-n-drop objects (files, URLs, subdirectories), et al.

    If I was starting from scratch I w/b willing to just use that and get 80% of what i’d need. For what its worth I tried using Mind Mapper and just didn’t like the user I/F — i found it awkward to use. DISCLAIMER: I am *not* Gartner’s lead analyst on PKM tools — I licensed both products w/my own money and that’s my personal experience — NOT a Gartner position.

    Finally — about re-implementing my own PKM tool in the Cloud — I love the idea! Now, if I could just find the time… 😉

    Cheers – bjl

  • Phil-Am OSI says:

    Congrats bjl, great achievement. Keep it up!