Blog post

A Rant – My Integrity as an Analyst

By Tom Bittman | October 08, 2009 | 39 Comments

Industry Analyst

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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  • a says:

    Bottom line: Analysts conclusions are “Subjective” despite the claim of “facts” and “science”.
    – In many cases the analysts might even have a different definition of what the product they are evaluating is (different than what some of the vendor’s definition).
    – Biasing the evaluation by market share, size of marketing budget, etc. rather than pure viability of a technical solution is never a good “scientific” evaluation of a product.
    – to claim that the money spent by big “names” don;t influence the evaluations is simply not believable.

  • Jim says:

    We all know that some analysts at Gartner are extremely bias particularly avivah litan !..give me a break, avivah litan reports about fraud are ridiculous and dishonest (the winner is my friend and we hare the same ?.)

  • Jim says:

    We all know that some analysts at Gartner are extremely bias particularly avivah litan !..give me a break, avivah litan reports about fraud are ridiculous and dishonest (the winner is my friend and we share the same ?.)

  • Tim says:

    Avivah Lithan is more than bias…. selecting ac….. is a joke.
    BTW, ac…is known for using …

  • JHis Biased says:

    John Honovich is so hypocritical! This from a guy who was the Milestone Keynote Speaker in 2009! Have you seen how high Milestone ranks in his tests? Did you do the keynote for free John? You paid for your own hotel room and meals while at the Red Rock Casino?
    John Honovich October 9, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    To eliminate any concerns about vendor bias, how about Gartner eliminate consulting contracts and payments from vendors?

    I assume this is a naive question.

    However, such a move would provide the strongest possible financial incentivements and align with end users interest.

  • bego mislam says:

    Every Gartner analyst claim is they are different from anyone else and integrity is core to who they are but in many cases their actions speak louder than their words. The ones I have worked with have all fallen short of demonstrating this. I have also worked with analysts who have no practical working knowledge of the industry yet is pushed in front of you as an “industry expert” (integrity?). Gartner hires analysts who can BS away and defend their BS this is how they make money and the only aspect they care. No need to rant if you did the right thing.