After a seven year hiatus from the analyst profession, it’s really good to be back. I can’t imagine any other job that allows, encourages and provides such a well-honed platform for one to learn, synthesize, create and influence.
Not that I’ve been ignoring BI/analytics and information management doings while I was away, but rather more fixated on particulars. Returning to the analyst ranks, however, I really had to “get my sponge on” again–soaking up everything, or as much as I can about the market. From new/updated technologies to new/acquired vendors to new/evolved techniques, it’s quite the mind-exploding effort. (This is where I plug Evernote.) Sometimes what’s new is new (e.g. mobile BI, NOSQL), but just as often what’s new is old (e.g. the 3Vs’ of “big data” I first wrote about at Meta Group over 10 years ago seemingly have become in vogue this year).
Then there’s the task of making sense of it all. What does it mean? Why is it happening? Which happenings are most important? What should be happening that isn’t? What will be happening that organizations should prepare for? Thinking time is at a premium in this job. Thank goodness for (?) increasingly protracted air travel and a pre-teen kid who decreasingly want to be seen with me! After this comes the fun part: developing ways to articulate and illustrate this analysis. I’m a bit geeked on frameworks, hierarchies, flows, metaphors, maturity models, etc. Powerpoint and lately Prezi are my best mates, but staring at a blank sheet of paper that needs a couple thousand words can be as unsettling as ever.
As for the influence part, I know we’re called “influencers” (I have already been invited to five vendor Influencer Summits in just two months.), but I’m perhaps a bit more altruistic about the term. The greatest part about being an analyst isn’t influencing buying decisions, it’s influencing client success–whether it’s technological, architectural or organizational advice for an enterprise client, or whether it’s product, marketing or marketplace strategy for a vendor client. Doing my little part to help our clients win, advance the marketplace as a whole and maybe nudge the US and global economies in the process makes this a feel-good job.
Finally, the chance to work again with some of the most brilliant minds in the IT industry is frosting on the cake. Nearly 800 analysts–each a top thought-leader in his/her respective slice of IT. And daily I get to read what they write, hear what they say, and collaborate with them on research. Awesome!
It’s good great to be back.
Follow Doug on Twitter: @Doug_Laney
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