Going to Gartner

This is a personal note about a professional decision. You might not be interested. If you are, read on. I’ll try to be brief.

I’ve had a very fulfilling two years as an independent analyst, succeeding beyond my expectations. I established (or continued) a respected brand, gathered several thousand twitter followers, drew 80,000 blog views in 18 months, wrote a number of well-regarded papers, keynoted events, conducted webinars and interviews, and was consulted by the largest companies in our industry as well as emerging, exciting smaller ones. I collaborated with other independents and made new friends everywhere. Financially, I had the two best years of my career. Valley View Ventures, my business agent, has made it smooth and painless on every side, and Fred Abbott is a great friend, mentor and business partner.

Whew. All that said, it surprises a lot of my friends and colleagues that I have decided to accept a position as a Vice President in Research for Gartner effective January 3, 2011. So: Why?

First: if you’re going to take one more run at Big Firm research, it makes sense to do it with the biggest and best. I will be working with people I already know and respect, on the Data Management and Integration team, where I will get to work with colleagues and friends like Mark Beyer, Andy Bitterer, Donald Feinberg  and Ted Friedman, to name just a few .

Second: I will have the chance to work with a huge primary research engine, which I’ve missed as an indie, and get back to working with users of technology again, which I have not done for years. The analysts on the team I’m joining each routinely perform and document several hundred user inquiries every quarter. Add the surveys and the primary data from the Dataquest side of the house, and you can see that I’m choosing a place where the opportunities for primary research are greatly enhanced.

Third: the chance to interact directly with users all over the world is an attractive prospect. Gartner offers me a regular diet of big conferences: speeches, one-on-ones and collaborating regularly with colleagues on a shared agenda – sounds like fun to me. I’ve missed it. And I can’t think of a better place to do it.

Fourth: I’m still deeply interested in how to reconcile the big firm, subscription research model with new age twittersphere and blogosphere media.  I hope to jostle Gartner into tolerating my continued participation in the social media sphere I have come to love. There are no guarantees there – no doubt I will find myself bumping into barriers, and I have no illusions. But that happens everywhere. I’m going to take a crack at finding a way to make it work, and I think it can.

Finally, it’s a great moment. Not only is the macroeconomic picture turning up (and even if it stalls for a while, I’m confident that will pass), the information technology industry is more exciting and dynamic than it has been for years. I will have the best vantage point in the world. And a great platform to offer my thoughts from – and have them tested. I will learn, and (hopefully) teach more than ever.

That’s always been what this is about. When I worked in the vendor community, I had jobs that involved briefing analysts. Every time I came home from a briefing tour, I told everyone that analysts have the best job in the world. I still think so. And the best is yet to come – it’s going to be a great ride. I’ll still be here on my blog – hope you’ll join me.

Sage Circle interviewed me and kindly posted a recording of the conversation. You can find it here.

Published by Merv Adrian

Independent information technology market analyst and consultant, 40 years of industry experience, covering software in and around the data management space.

83 thoughts on “Going to Gartner

  1. Congratulations @Merv!

    I hope you don’t lose your voice (highly unlikely!) and continue to have the same impact you’ve had over the last two years as an independent analyst.

    Does this mean you and Andy will officially form a band and rock the Gartner conferences? Let’s start a contest to name it…

    Best of luck,


  2. Oh, no! Such a nice guy going to the dark side! Hopefully your words of wisdom will continue to be that unique Merv-style independent thinking. May the Force be with you…

  3. Congratulations Merv! There must be a whole mess of young analysts and researchers who have no idea the kind of experience and tutelage they are about to tap into! I’m sure they’ll figure out how lucky they are soon enough.

  4. Hey, best of luck on your move to the Empire. Next: rooting for the Yankees??!? See you at the SWG event in a couple of weeks.

  5. Merv, firstly congratulations.

    Following you on twiiter has been a great experience, with an exposure to content that I would never have otherwise encountered – and a atypically unbiased view on the content (#SQLPASS is one particular instance where your content was the only non-biased view that existed )

    I’m hoping that the move to Gartner will not restrict your use of social media ~ in my view, social media (twitter especially, and blogs to a lesser extent) exposes the analysts viewpoint to a segment of the market that typically would not use analysts as a source of info and might now consider it. And yes, I consider myself in that basket.

    Looking forward to the new path – but be warned – the twitterverse will not let you hide 😉

    1. Thanks, Mark. By all means, keep after me if I seem to be slipping. I expect that some content will move inside for paid clients – after all, that’s what they expect. But defining and managing the boundary with social media will be an interesting challenge, and one I hope my new employers will let me be creative about.

    1. Posted this reply on MAOL: Thanks for noticing the piece. I hope my post was sufficiently clear: it was not focusing much at all about the technology, just the go-to-market motion. PDW will no doubt become a significant offering, but it’s too soon to tell how good it will be – as an analyst, I’ll want to know more. And that was partly the point, of course. I will say that it took a long time, and is behind in some feature areas. But it also has advantages that will become evident as the story unfolds. And then the marketplace will begin to decide.

  6. Merv – I’ve never known you to make a bad decision, and this is no exception. GG has added a strong member to their ranks. I’ll enjoy watching you shake things up a bit!


  7. My most sincere congratulations Merv. I’m sure we will still see one another on the “circuit”. Good luck in your new role.

    1. Shawn, you helped me immensely when I got started as an indie, and it’s been fun to watch you join the analyst ranks over at EMA. So we’re kindred spirits – see you soon!

    1. I don’t go back farther with anyone n this business than you, Connie, and it’s always been a mutual admiration society. See you soon, and we can catch up.

  8. Merv:

    Congrats! You are a pleasure to collaborate and discuss the industry in person and over Twitter. I would have loved to see you think about joining a boutique before joining the big G firm! You will be successful in anything you do so look forward to our collaboration. We will miss your candor and collaboration on areas like analytics and business intelligence that is outside of your new focus in data management and integration where you will be focused.

    Of course if you need primary research, let us know as we have great buyer research and knowledge in areas of Information Management and other areas where DataQuest has been absent in doing anything substantive. Maybe you can inspire them to get depth in our mutual areas of interest or have them license our research?

    We will miss your presence as you get absorbed into a new realm of client priorities at Gartner and when you come back up for air again and look for your next stop, let me know. I am sure you will have fun with the politics of doing social media and blogging outside the Gartner corridors and policies.

    Also, let your previous clients know we can help them at Ventana Research and transition relationships to our firm if they can not afford Gartner! I knew you would like that recommendation but you would not expect any less from me!


    Mark Smith
    CEO & EVP Research
    Ventana Research

    1. Mark, you are as entertaining as you always are. I appreciate the thought, and if I wanted to work somewhere one building over, I would have called you right away 😉

      More seriously, I expect to be as accessible to you as I always have been for stimulating conversation and intellectual collaboration. Andy Bitterer is on the same team I will be on at Gartner, so I imagine analytics will still be a top of mind realm.

      I’m not going in with a management role, so I don’t know that I can do any brokering on your behalf. But you know I’m a fan. That won’t change. See you soon,


  9. Merv, congratulations and good luck, although you certainly don’t need any luck. You’re a special person, analyst and friend, and I KNOW that you will knock the ball out of any park that you’re in. I have experience at Dataquest, from the old days, and I know that you will enjoy working with them. There are great things about having the data that they will provide to you and the expanded platform that GG will give you.

    But remember that your clients/friends/followers are following you for who you are and what you say, so just continue to give them what you always have – great thinking and targeted advice.


    1. Thanks, Dan – you’ve been a mentor and friend as long as we’ve known each other. I appreciate your guidance as always, and I hope anyone who follows me find that I do just that.


    1. Thanks, George – it will be odd to look across the market in the other direction. And I doubt I’ll ever find a CEO I’d rather jam with.
      All the best,

  10. I better post congrats here, because I have a feeling I’ll never get to post on a GG site after my persistent and snarky MQ comments.

    I remember when you were just starting out as an analyst, and Evan Bauer said he wanted you on the Giga team – what a great call on his part. Although we didn’t get to work together for long, it seemed like longer because I started getting your email as soon as I left (apparently, Giga analysts had trouble with Merv Adrian -vs-Adrian Bowles in their emails, so I got to follow your exploits vicariously).

    Best of luck at GG – they are getting a scholar and a gentleman, and their clients will notice the upgrade immediately. Looking forward to seeing you at Connect next week and celebrating new beginnings.

    1. Those were fun days. Beginnings are always exciting, and I have a feeling this one will be no exception. Thanks for the kind thoughts, and see you next week!

  11. To which I’ll add my belated congratulations after you told me in person at SWG Connect. Although you’re joining the big team, we don’t want to miss your independent voice.

  12. Congrats, Merv! Sounds like a great opportunity and match for you! Sorry I missed the news a week ago – I was largely “out of range” of the internet for 10 days or so.

  13. Merv, I’ve mixed emotions. On the one hand, I hate to see one of the most prominent and informed independent industry voices quiesced. On the other hand, Donald and Mark have had an amazingly intense workload between them the past few years and you’ll fit in seamlessly to extend their coverage (not just by sheer bandwidth).

    Dare I say the “Three Musketeers”? (that’s Mousketeers at Gartner Symposium Orlando).

    In any case, best of luck to you and kudos to Gartner for having the foresight to bring you aboard.


  14. Merv, sorry I missed the big news. I’m glad we’ve had the chance to compare notes and views over the past few years. I look forward to more great insights as you gain even greater access into the BI world.

    Warm regards,


  15. Hi, Merv, I’m behind on the news too (I must get out for drinks more, I guess!). I do wish you the best and I too hope your independent voice doesn’t get too synthesized. Best of luck!

    1. thanks, and I have to tell you that one of the execs said to me the other day “Don’t get too Gartner too soon; we want your point of view.” I found that encouraging.

    1. I guess you’re right. Can’t stay under the radar forever 😉
      Although I’ve done literally dozens of inquiries – guess SOMEBODY has figured out I’m here…

  16. Hi Merv,

    Enjoyed watching you on video at an Oracle Big Data summit here in Sydney and know you have found your place in this convaluted and converging industry we now refer to as ICT…

    Gartner have done very well indeed, for you it is same-old, same-old; but with more openings to eyes and ears around the globe…

    My best regards,


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