I need to rant a little.
As an analyst at Gartner, I can’t describe how angry I get when I read bloggers spouting as “fact” their opinion that I and my teammates have no integrity. That we can be “bought.”
In my 14+ years at Gartner, I have never, ever allowed a vendor to influence my opinion with anything but facts. Period. They have certainly tried to influence me with non-facts. I can say this definitively – it has never worked.
I don’t think there is a single vendor that I have dealt with who has not been very angry with me at some point. Tough. I’ve been yelled at by many IT executives – including the CEOs of Microsoft and HP, and many other firms. I can’t think of one of those cases when I changed my analysis one bit. I can’t speak for other firms, but at Gartner, getting yelled at by a CEO is a badge of honor. Being proven right as time goes on – priceless.
I certainly spend time helping vendors with their strategies and their marketing messages – and I enjoy doing it. Frankly, the ones who yell at us the most seem to respect our opinion the most. We can spot holes a mile away, and engaged early enough, we can help vendors fill those holes with real product offerings – that not only help the vendors, but help our end user clients. And my primary business is helping end users.
I worked at IBM for 11 years. During the last few years, I was doing some technical evangelizing to analyst firms – and hiring these firms to write white papers. There were plenty available for hire – and still are. There was only one firm that wouldn’t allow us to edit their work – Gartner. Only one. We tried, but they wouldn’t budge. They could not be bought. It was unusual, and I completely respected that. When the opportunity came to join Gartner, I jumped. I wouldn’t have even considered anyone else.
Since I’ve joined the firm, my appreciation for the integrity of the firm and its analysts has only increased. If I felt that the firm’s integrity was bending, first I would fight it with all my might, and then I would be outta there. I’m not gone yet!
So I understand the impression in the marketplace that analyst firms can be bought. But that’s not where I work. My integrity is very important to me. I’m sure we’ll continue to make enemies of vendors, and bloggers who have a vested interest in one thing or another. Badge of honor! But my goal is to provide value to my clients, and to be proven right over time – priceless!
End of rant.
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