(Guest post by Zia Yusuf,CEO, Streetline, formerly Executive Vice President, SAP)
Over my last twelve years working as a senior executive in the technology industry I have had an opportunity to engage with a broad section of technology and IT analysts and researchers – both from established firms (eg. Gartner, Forrester etc.), smaller more focused firms (eg. Altimeter Group) and of course the more recent phenomena of the blogger/independent analyst.
For the most part the people I have encountered are smart, have a good deal of domain knowledge, are good communicators and care about providing timely and accurate analysis and advice. But with all other things, there is a bell curve, there are some people that have amazing insight and I always learn from then, there are a whole bunch in the middle that are solid and sometimes can add good value and as always there are some that really should look to do something else with their time.
This post is not about the individual analysts it is about the analyst industry.
So the issue is not the people – the issue is the structure of the industry and the inherent incentives that lead to sub-optimal analysis and advice that is tainted by accusations of “pay to play”. This is a topic that is not new, and has been discussed before. The general complaint that analysts play both side of the game, they write about vendors and the industry but then also get paid by the vendors thus tainting their advice is an old one.