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Ah yes, Gartner

July 23, 2012

Ed Bott has a great article wondering “Why does the IT industry continue to listen to Gartner?” Former colleagues at IBM Research can testify that there were few ways to make me crazy faster than quoting a Gartner study to back up some point you were trying to make.

Why? Gartner is a giant echo chamber. As far as I can tell, they go around visiting a lot of tech companies and asking them what they think is coming up next. Then they write up a report summarizing what everyone just told them, call it “analysis”, and sell it back to the same companies they talked to in the first place. Those companies then proceed to quote the Gartner “analysis” as though it somehow provides evidence for whatever position they started out with in the first place. IBM did this in spades, despite the fact that as far as I can tell no one has ever actually done an audit to see how good Gartner’s track record actually is. From what I’ve seen the last few years, it doesn’t seem to be very good.

So until someone actually comes along, audits Gartner’s predictions, and concretely demonstrates they’re more reliable than a ouija board, I’m glad we have folks like Mr. Bott making tasty claim chowder.

Oh, and don’t get me started on the Gartner Hype Cycle. Talk about predicting the future of technology by throwing darts at a board…

P.S. Oh, and here’s why the IT industry listens to Gartner, in case you couldn’t figure it out from their process: it’s because they tell the IT industry what it wants to hear.

From → Musings

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