Once more into the breach…

After an interesting evening 6 months ago playing with all this stuff but never coming back, I am at last getting the blog started in earnest. Remarkable how it concentrates the mind to needto do something as opposed to just playing with it! On this site, I’ll air the issues, ideas, and opportunities of my new venture, IT Market Strategy. After leaving Forrester Research, where I spent 12+ happy years (including time at Giga Information Group), I’ve embarked upon the life of an independent technology analyst and consultant. It’s frightening and exciting. The outpouring of support from my colleagues, clients – and even competitors – has been amazing. I’m planning to tackle information technology issues with a focus on software, and more focused stiil on business intelligence, information management, and packaged software. It’s an adventure I anticipate with pleasure.

I undertake this campaign against the backdrop of a marketplace in turmoil. The IT industry – especially software – is going through one of its most significant change cycles ever. Fundamental economic models are being challenged as emerging cloud-based, software-as-a-service priced, and open-source community-developed and -supported products gain more traction daily. The disruptive influence of a massive economic meltdown is putting pressure on purchasers to acquire technology at lower cost, and avoid capital investment – just as software vendors are learning (at varying rates) to make their products available in a way that permits buyers to do so. The largest vendors hope to leverage the power of their portfolios to maintain momentum in high-growth categories that will sustain them through dips in the slow growth ones.

The power of a broad base and a strong balance sheet – like, for example, IBM’s –  will allow such vendors to fill gaps in their portfolios at lower prices, spreading their risk further and offering more opportunities. Firms with clear expertise in integrating and leveraging acquired technologies and brands will be laying a strong foundation for the upturn when it comes. Others who have done less to leverage and promote acquired brands – HP comes to mind – may watch them continue to fall behind. The battle is joined, and fortunes are won and lost during difficult economic times. Tactics will change as the downturn continues. Pressure will be put on budgets, and the mix of investment will shift. Whose plan will succeed? IT Market Strategy will have a point of view and I welcome your input and discussion.

About Merv Adrian
Gartner Research VP, technology analyst and consultant, 30 years of industry experience, covering software mostly, hardware sometimes.

2 Responses to Once more into the breach…

  1. Joe Puglisi says:

    First, let me congratulate you on the birth of your new venture. I have no doubt you will be successful.

    These are, indeed, troubling times for many industries. IT has become an integral part of most businesses, even invading the long backwards construction industry with the BIM movement. But I fear that with the growth and ubiquity of technology has come a major problem in quality and reliability For years we have suffered with Microsoft’s inability to write secure code. Windows used to be the issue but now we find ‘holes’ in Excel, IE and other products, some of which are exploited well before they can be repaired. PCs are everywhere and the average Joe (no pun intended here) is not equipped to deal with these issues. Moreover, we find the lack of quality is becoming more widespread with other hardware and software vendors delivering flawed systems or demonstrating an inability to restore them to working order when they fail. Has our technology grown so complex and pervasive that it now presents a serious threat to us all? Has our advancement in technology outstripped our ability to manage it?

  2. Merv says:

    You raise great questions here, Joe. One wonders whether the refactoring of large-grained apps into smaller pieces will help or hurt. Unit testing in this model will not help sort out what takes place when hundreds of modules will be loosely coupled and communicate in complex patterns.

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