Analystanalyst’s Weblog

Who analyzes the analysts? –


Long busy week, so sorry for lack of posts.

This however annoyed me this week. A mail from someone in my organisation who is trying to get some software sold. The techies and business guys have spent a long time reviewing the software, spoken to other customers, done a proof of concept and everyone wants it, however the purchase needs to ratified by the ‘governance board’ Here is the comment from the company we are talking to:

“2 of the Governance Board are very ‘into’ Gartner’s views and our champions will be asked for Gartner info on you. Please see the comment from our sponsor below:

With regards to the Gartner information, it is important I have the information to hand, in case it is raised during the presentation. If I do not have the information when questioned, I will have to admit that I had requested it from you, on more than one occasion, and nothing was delivered. This is not a situation that would be particularly comfortable for me, or you.

I’m sure you’ll all agree this is a ridiculous situation for us to be in.

They need Gartner information on:

1. Your company (generic would be OK)

2. Products”


Why on earth are they paying all these experienced in-house people and external consultants to test and evaluate software, companies and relationships if after many months of testing and investment it’s going to come down to the opinion of one guy from Gartner who maybe read some stuff on our website and didn’t speak to any of our other customers?

How did we get to this?

Will Gartner give them a refund or accept liability if the decision is wrong?

It used to be ‘you’ll never get fired for buying blue’, has it now become ‘you’ll never get fired if Gartner say it’s OK’?


June 14, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Not at all. They’re becoming increasingly irrelevant.

    Comment by Dennis Howlett | June 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. How do we educate/enlighten the masses to that?

    Comment by analystanalyst | June 17, 2008 | Reply

  3. IMO, use of big analysts at the long-listing stage, and as the basis of part of (though not all of) the due diligence activity during shortlisting, is legitimate and useful. Towards the end of the sales/procurement cycle, genuine due diligence is probably best conducted based on direct evaluation (e.g. workshops, hands-on by project staff, etc) and reference sites – i.e. other customers who have been there, done that. When big analyst firms are used towards the end of the cycle, it is probably for political or negotiation reasons – or, as you say, arse covering 🙂

    Comment by Dale Vile | June 22, 2008 | Reply

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  5. I agree with Dale. often I am in the situation of being on that governance board, and if some techy brings in some product from a company I have never heard of, that will consume a substantial piece of the company’s resources, I want to know how they got to this decision – so what was the long list amd how did it get shortened. And I’ll trust Gartner (among others) to help bring that list into focus.

    Comment by Steve Attias | July 5, 2008 | Reply

  6. Late comment …

    InformationSpan has a map of how people use analysts.

    1 – to confirm existing prejudices – bad!!
    2 – to justify decisions already made – worse!!
    3 – in panic (something changed or went wrong); well at least they realise they need help
    4 – in a strategic partnership

    If management is asking for “Gartner expertise” the battle is already lost. Only option (4) can get ahead of this one: a strategic relationship with your insight service provider so that they are contributing to the environment in which decisions are made, at least as much as they contribute to individual decisions.

    It should emphatically not be the vendor who delivers this kind of information into a procurement. The IT organisation should be doing this research routinely, and should already know which analyst to go to for a realistic assessment. And that means a person within a firm, not just the firm. Management should know that this research will have been done, and that it will be cited within the case they are asked to approve.

    And it doesn’t necessarily mean the decision must be in line with the analyst’s recommendation. But it does mean that if you are going against it, you must be able to argue the case.

    It takes time to get there …

    Comment by InformationSpan | August 26, 2008 | Reply

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