Reader comment regarding January 7th post about Gartner telling in terms of major industry shift . . .

Posted on June 16, 2011


When our company met with Gartner “analysts” we were, at first, confused as to why they immediately began to describe “studies” and then kept asking us to “sponsor” one.  After we finally did sponsor one with a Gartner competitor (in which our name appeared glowingly) we understood. After seeing the quality of the “study” and upon being asked again to sponsor another one, we decided we would not “pay to play” anymore.

comment from Mark Spearman ( re January 7th, 2011 post Madison Avenue ooops . . . make that Gartner, names Oracle as a leader in supply chain planning

As I have often said in the past, you just never know what is going to strike a nerve with an audience so you just focus on telling it like it is and letting the proverbial chips fall where they may.

In the previous post I had made reference to the fact that I have had the opportunity to see a particular cloud-based SaaS vendor blossom into a global heavyweight in terms of an industry presence based on producing tangible results versus the availability of a seemingly inexhaustible marketing budget.  I was of course referring to the distinct and very real difference between a manufactured or contrived reputation or brand, and one that has been cultivated over time through the actual meeting or exceeding of client expectations.

It is this latter point that is finally emerging within the mainstream market consciousness that is most exciting as it is an indication of a major paradigm shift from the cozy and at times subtle influences of longstanding relationships between purported industry pundits and the vendors about whom they were supposed to be objectively reporting.

Do not get me wrong, this is and to a large extent always will be a relationship-based business, which is why the transformation of SaaS-based solutions from a boutique, ERP bolt-on adjunct to being a cornerstone of a sound enterprise supply chain strategy has taken much longer than it should have.  However all things being considered, when the immovable object of established relationships collides with the irresistible force of having to produce results, the need to produce results will ultimately carry the day.

The problem with this is that the shift represents a significant challenge for those organizations who have for the most part relied on the two-way, longstanding relationships as a foundation for both their creditability and revenue stream.  As the old guard like the SAPs and Oracles face the reality of a changing business model, firms like Gartner are forced to leave the comfort of the known and established rapport of familiar relationships in search of new clients.

The problem, and as indicated by the Mark Spearman comment, is that the social media world of today means that accessibility to a myriad of quality conversational vehicles that help a vendor to connect with its target market is readily available at a fraction of the cost than the services being offered through a Gartner.

A Gartner Business Analyst?

Looking beyond the cost factor, vendors are in an even better position to craft or customize their particular message so as to stand out versus what social media expert David Cushman called forcing all audience eyes to look at a single stage, or in the case of Gartner a single report.  A scenario that becomes even more untenable given the declining creditability of the firm who’s past advice did little to prevent the high rate of initiative failures.

Based on a preliminary PI Poll earlier this year, it would seem that the days of the Gartners and perhaps even the analyst firms in general are numbered, at least in terms of the world in which they have traditionally operated.

What are your thoughts?  Would you pay to sponsor a Gartner report?  More importantly, as an end user client, to what extent would you rely on a Gartner report in terms of selecting a vendor?