Bonum Certa Men Certa

What Gartner Needs to Do to Earn Trust

3 penguins

Summary: Advice from a skeptic of the Gartner Group

LAST month we wrote about Gartner getting sued [1, 2]. It was well deserved. Regardless of the plaintiff's individual case, there is generally a real illness at Gartner, whose interests and advice got polluted by money from the very same companies whose products they are supposed to impartially assess. You can never let a fox guard the hen house.

This post, rather than what may seem like a rant about Gartner (we are usually producing evidence of misconduct to back the allegations with), will attempt to focus on constructive criticism and advice.

“First of all, Gartner must always offer disclosure.”What would it take for Gartner to be taken seriously by the very same people whom it's attacking?

First of all, Gartner must always offer disclosure. Not only should studies be labeled clearly with their sponsor/s; Gartner offers other services too, and these which 'inform' tend to completely conceal the names of companies that pay Gartner in other ways, including investments (Larry Ellison and Bill Gates, for instance, invest heavily in Gartner).

To give a contrary example, Red Monk should be praised for its disclosure policies. It is easy to tell what conflicting interests may exist. Red Monk does not hide these.

Gartner knows that Free software people lack confidence in its output. Now it is stating the obvious by saying that Microsoft and SAP are not taking advantage of Free software, which is an understatement. SAP and Microsoft actually attack Free software. We will write about this later, in a separate post containing new examples about this pair.

Microsoft and SAP are falling behind when it comes to taking advantage of open source technology, despite cut-throat competition in the enterprise software market, a new analysis by Gartner has found.

Matt Asay, who used to dismiss Gartner before he started sucking up to Gartner (maybe for personal gain at Alfresco), has just written about the subject again.

This resulted in some suggesting that Gartner's research was simply a reflection of which companies paid it the most money (and recently netted the analyst firm a lawsuit).

I made similar accusations myself.

Gartner responded to such attacks, defending the integrity of its research. Yet its blind spot to open source seemed to persist.

Gartner has a long, long way to go. Disclosure would be only the beginning; getting rid of the bias caused by money is a much bigger challenge because customers come to Gartner with expectations of a return. That's just the type of business Gartner is in.

“Analysts sell out - that’s their business model… But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with.”

--Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Recent posts about the Gartner Group:

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