Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Industry Analyst Coverage Update Feb 2013

@mcgoverntheory (James McGovern) continues to complain about the completeness, balance and objectivity of industry analyst coverage. He has just added some further comments to my earlier post on Industry Analyst Coverage (June 2009)

1. Should analysts be more transparent in declaring that they don't have time to actually perform proper research in their reports as a disclaimer and need to be spoonfed by a vendor briefing mechanism? 

I don't think there is a consensus on what would count as proper research, but more transparency on research methodology and declaration of interests would be good.

2. What would an end buyer of technology learn if they were to understand how much/little time goes into producing a report vs the other activities analysts spend their time on? 

If a decision-maker is making a major decision on the basis of a single report, then it would be sensible to check the quality of the report, instead of being awed by the reputation of the firm that produced it, or being too embarrassed to admit that it wasn't worth what you paid for it.

3. Can any analyst guarantee that if OWASP spends time on briefing analysts that this will generate a positive ROI? As you are aware, OWASP is a volunteer organization. If analysts want to waste the time of analyst relations professionals, that is one thing. It is another to waste the time of people who are attempting goodness. 

No, of course not. A good analyst tries to evaluate everything objectively, and it would be completely out of order to guarantee a good review in advance. Obviously if I think there are flaws in what you are presenting to me, then it is my duty to communicate that to you clearly and directly. However, it is not my duty as an analyst to help you fix the flaws. If you want me to help you fix the flaws and/or help you with your marketing, that would require a switch in role and a different kind of funding/engagement; such a switch would need to be managed carefully and declared openly to avoid possible conflicts of interest.

4. Maybe you could identify an analyst or two in your network that would be willing to contribute time to a few open source projects. It may be beneficial to the analysts to understand what it is like to sit on the other side of the table with a compelling value proposition but zero money. 

If the industry wants small independent analysts to have the financial freedom to participate in such exercises,  then the industry must make sure there is a viable economic niche for small independent analysts.

5. I will take it one step further. If you know of any Gartner, Altimeter, Constellation, Ovum, Celent, Novarica or IDC analyst that wants a free conference pass to the upcoming OWASP conference in NYC, I will get them one. 
I have no idea whether any of the large analyst firms will wish to attend your conference, and I hope it's not just the large firms you want to attract. For my part, I should be delighted to attend if anyone is willing to cover my travel and other costs.

I believe there are some fundamental misunderstandings about the role of the industry analyst in the software industry. I certainly believe that analysts could and should deliver greater levels of intelligence and value to the software industry as a whole. But this isn't going to happen if people just complain about analysts while failing to take any action.

See also James McGovern Five Mistakes CIOs make in asking analyst firms to create vendor shortlists... (February 2013), plus discussion on Twitter OWASP and Industry Analysts (Storify, February 2013). 

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