A Tale Of Three Cities, and Oracle, Teradata and IBM Databases

It was the best of times; it was (sometimes) the worst of times. The month of October has for years been data management analysts’ busy season. Oracle, Teradata and IBM hold major conferences, and for customers, prospects, partners, journalists as well as analysts, the recent past, near future and plans for the long term are on display. How vendors use this opportunity to position themselves has always been instructive, and 2009 was no exception. In brief: Oracle took shots at IBM; Teradata put its successful customers on display; and IBM proposed ways to change the world for the better. Read more of this post

Tech Marketers Need Friends With Benefits. No, Not That Kind

Every software product developer, and product manager, and sales rep, needs friends in marketing. And they need to be friends with benefits – benefit statements. Clear. Explicit. Specific for a particular stakeholder. Sound obvious? Based on the last month of briefings I have taken, it’s clearly not. Read more of this post

HP Scores Big Win

Perhaps I should have called this piece “Blogger Eats Words.” Hewlett-Packard has landed (pun intended) precisely the kind of strategic partnership win I recently suggested it is not positioned for, based on its recent description of its portfolio in a quarterly earnings call. The victory comes exactly where I suggested it needed to: with a services-led approach, leveraging the formidable assets of EDS. In an-industry-shaking coup, HP has landed a contract to replace Sabre as the proverbial “airline reservation system” – traditionally, a synonym for “really hard IT stuff” – for American Airlines (more precisely, AMR, the parent company). Read more of this post

AR: Continuity of Contact Makes A Difference

I’ve been an independent analyst for a few months now, and it’s been an eye-opening experience in many ways. One has been the way some organizations I dealt with for a decade forgot my name the next day. This is not intended to embarrass anyone; I will name no names. It’s about best practices for AR. In the practice I started for Forrester on AR, and in any commentary from authorities like Sage Circle, Knowledge Capital Group, and Lighthouse Analyst Relations, you’ll hear it again and again: “it’s the relationship. stupid.” Perhaps not in those exact words, but you get the idea.   Read more of this post

Ray Wang Leaves Forrester – What’s Next?

I rarely cover comings and goings, in vendor firms or in analyst firms, but this simply could not pass unremarked. Ray Wang (whose excellent blog is here), a longtime friend and colleague, has left Forrester Research. I was the hiring exec at Forrester when John Ragsdale brought him in, and enthusiastically approving the hire was one of the best decisions I ever made. Ray’s energy, focus, commitment to service, and ambition exceeded any I have encountered before or since.  He pioneered extraordinary, effective deliverables, collaborated with anyone and everyone, and has an unrelenting focus on value. As a manager, my usual comment to him, on one stellar performance review after another, was “Slow down. Make sure you have time for your family.” I’m glad he claims to be doing so now. But somehow I wonder… Read more of this post

Why Virtual Conferences Suck

Lately, I get a lot of questions about “virtual conferences” and how much I believe they will replace the struggling live conference business of today. My answer? In the next 12-18 months we will see a lot of awful failed experiments. Just like the ones we’ve been seeing for the past 12 months or so. Read more of this post

TDWI Disappoints, But There is Hope Ahead

Few events offer as much promise as The Data Warehouse Institute World Conferences. With a deep educational focus, TDWI provides important opportunities for users. For vendors, the event offers one of the most focused, serious prospect audiences possible. My expectations, tempered though they were by economic realities, were still fairly high for this year’s San Diego event. Unfortunately, the drop in volume was greater than all of us expected, the number of announcements from the vendor community was low, and the content focus seemed a bit out of date.

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Civilized Discourse and the Blog

Jon Reed, a consultant in the SAP world, recently posted a blog entry about  some lessons he learned years ago from Hampshire College President Gregory Price.  John feels, and I agree, that these principles of discourse are a model of behavior and belief that we bloggers would do well to emulate. I rarely post about “stuff I saw somewhere else” but I couldn’t resist this one, and I offer it without further commentary. You can read Jon’s original post here. I believe these are words bloggers can live by:

  1. That we value truth and the process of seeking truth as ends in themselves
  2. That we accept responsibility to articulate a position as close to the truth as one can make it, using to the best of one’s ability, available evidence, and the rules of reason, logic and relevance
  3. That we listen openly, recognizing always that new information may alter one’s position;
  4. That we welcome evaluation and accept and even encourage disagreement and criticism even to the point of seeking out for ourselves that which will disprove our position;
  5. That we refuse to reduce disagreement to personal attacks or attacks on groups or classes of individuals
  6. That we value civility, even in disagreement
  7. That we reject the premise that ends, no matter how worthy, can justify means which violate these principles.

AR: Tiering Analysts Is Good, But Don’t Play Childish Games

Colleagues have recently told me of a disturbing AR/PR practice they’ve run into of late: some vendors have asked them to refrain from tweeting about the plan to have a briefing. Why? They don’t want others not being briefed to know about it. This is childish nonsense. Should some analysts be briefed more often than others in your planning? Sure. But don’t play schoolyard gossip games. Read more of this post

Captive Analyst Bloggers: Break Free! You Have Everything To Gain In Your Links

I spend a fair amount of my time checking in on the blogs of people whose work I respect. Now that I am no longer an analyst at a big-brand  firm, I do this more than I used to – and I can now recognize there is an insularity “on the inside” that one becomes unaware of as it creeps up  on us over time. And the big firms want it that way – they have designed their blogs to be private islands, disconnected from the rest of us. Read more of this post