Gartner’s Take on Cloud Contracting (Part 1, and probably the last in this series): All Roads Lead Back To Larry!

Posted on September 30, 2011


You know you live long enough on the earth you start to develop an instinct, a sense when something isn’t quite right.  It’s similar to that carton of milk in your fridge where you are around or perhaps a day after the expiration date.  The milk doesn’t smell bad, it just has a whiff of being a little off.

Well after reviewing the latest Gartner report it is safe to say that this latest offering from the advertising firm is the equivalent of that carton of milk.

Lets just cut to the chase shall we . . . Gartner is not interested in research that informs the market as much as they are focused on forwarding an agenda that influences or shapes it.

I say this based on the fact that the Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt or FUD tactics employed by Gartner come through loud and clear in that I am certain that similar length reports on Al Queda, The Cold War and cyber-terrorism do not contain as many ominous words of doom as this self-serving manifesto.  Think that I might be overreacting?

Consider this; such comforting and assuring words like risk, downtime, breach, liability and security are collectively referenced a total of 132 times or an average of more than 10 times per page.

Now let’s look at a February 2008 report titled 55 Trends Now Shaping the Future of Terrorism that was written by the National Intelligence University which is part of the US Army War College.

Referencing the same words as we did with the Gartner report i.e. risk, security etc. these were mentioned a collective total of 558 times in the 254 pages that made up the document, or an average of 2.2 times per page.

Hmmmm . . . I guess the risk associated with cloud solutions are significantly greater than those posed by international terrorism?!

Of course besides referencing the FUD approach, in my September 29th post I had made reference to a Washington survey which indicated that 92% of government IT leaders have reservations about making the move to the cloud, which the Gartner report will undoubtedly fuel.  While important, the more significant link or tie-in that whiffs of questionable milk smell can be found in my January 7th, 2011 post titled Madison Avenue ooops . . . make that Gartner, names Oracle as a leader in supply chain planning.

With an alarming implementation failure rate, I openly wondered on what planet such a meritorious distinction could be awarded.  However, and as you read more of the post, it becomes clear that the honours are tied more to a non arms length client relationship than any credible achievement.

This then leads us back to the latest Gartner Oracle advertisement, and in particular today’s post.

While Gartner smartly references a number of “cloud” companies, the deft and somewhat subliminal 7 statements surround Netsuite including the following gem stands out; For example, ERP provider Netsuite does agree to maintain PCI DSS compliance for the storage of credit card data.  Although several new cloud security questionnaires have recently become available, such as the Cloud Security Alliance’s GRC Stack, the industry still lacks any overaching cloud security certification or standardized security audit mechanism, and until these emerge, buyers will be forced to their own evaluation of provider security, and will have to live with tactical contractual measures.

Translation – industry bad and risky, Netsuite good and safe!  And who do you think has a significant ownership stake in Netsuite?

According to Wikipedia, NetSuite was originally named NetLedger by its founders Larry Ellison and one of his early employees, Evan Goldberg.  Ellison is, according to this information, the company’s major shareholder.  Why not just put an Oracle logo on the paper and let go of the illusion of objectivity once and for all!

Even though there may be a few nuggets of interesting and perhaps legitimate insights, for me the Gartner IT Procurement Best Practice: Nine Contractual Terms to Reduce Risk in Cloud Contracts report should be re-branded under the Oracle banner and titled Attempting To Buy The Market: The Larry Ellison Story.  In this context, it is a good read!

As for Parts 2 through 9 in this series . . . see Part 1.