Gartners, Forresters and Dinosaurs

[tweetherder]Being an analyst is a sexy thing[/tweetherder]. You are courted by sell-side firms. They need the attention of analysts, to get into their next quarterly review. Buy-side firms rely on the ‘close to the market’ promise of these analysts.

The notion of single source aggregation of information is dated.

-[tweetherder] The world’s biggest video site has less professional content and more user-generated content.[/tweetherder]

– [tweetherder]Today’s hottest funding platform is not run by a VC. Its powered by people like you and its called Kickstarter[/tweetherder]

– [tweetherder]Zagat is not the most popular restaurant review company anymore. Its Yelp.[/tweetherder]

-[tweetherder] Conclaves and conferences are encroached by un-conferences, where everyone’s a contributor[/tweetherder]

One could argue that the barrier to communicate and aggregate has fallen dramatically and hence we see such new methods of information creation have come to mainstream. However such new platforms sustain not because they could merely exist, but the platforms took care to build reputation systems that rewarded the creators (of high quality information), synthesizers (who curate the content by voting, participating) and consumers (who derived benefits and thereby added credibility to the platform as a whole).

The realtime-ness of what transpires in these platforms, beat the ‘production house’  ways of traditional agencies that they set to replace.

Now, how does all this link to how the global analyst firms function?

A Gartner or Forrester is a production house of high quality analyst material on varied technology topics. By that definition, they have  to deliver reports that are more verdicts for consumption of the larger market than byte-sized stories on each vendor’s delivery credibility granulated down to each project. But would level of detail be valuable to a buyer? Of course yes! How did Accenture do in its latest BI project at a manufacturing company, would make a lot of sense to a non-competing peer that is considering Accenture. The traditional analyst company won’t and can’t show that visibility for two reasons:

1. The analyst’s time is a finite and it does not scale, to get to granular details. So they’d report capability and aggregated feedback than real-time snapshots

2. A buyer’s question of “whom to work with” is a consulting project and a revenue generation opportunity. Anything that gets between, is too disruptive to their business

3. It’s ridiculous pipedream and fraught with legal risks of sharing confidential information (or so it appears every time a discontinuous change comes our way)

Technology has made it possible for peers to discover each other and reach out for advice, that’s often unvarnished, first hand inputs from the battlefield. Just like how Yammer took tweeting to the enterprise, there’s every possibility that facebook can be taken into the enterprise, in a different name and a different skin.

When that happens, everyone who’s an expert in a certain topic can share their opinions and the community shall decide who’s to be anointed as an analyst or guru. System Integrators would gravitate towards working with these user-analysts. When that happens the traditional analyst houses would merely become channels or participants in a larger dialog, while evaluation, commerce and bench-marking would be self-serviced by the community.

The dinosaurs that escape the meteors would have to mutate to be the lizards.

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