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? Read more of this post

Partial Plans Perplex Press at SAP – Sybase Event, But Promise is Everywhere

SAP co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe and Sybase CEO John Chen keynoted a two-continent event on August 19 to demonstrate their solidarity and provide an early look at strategic plans. Many analysts greeted the initial announcement with positive reviews – mine is here, and Noel Yuhanna of Forrester weighed in here. Progress since the $5.8 billion transaction formally closed (just a few weeks ago) has been modest, but certainly better than the message, which was not yet crisp. The press release (several pages in length) was long on marketing phrases and short on specifics, and those in attendance generally found the content scattered and difficult to parse. Highlights emerged, however, in the subsequent discussions as press, analysts and bloggers dug in for details:

  • A mobile application software development kit (SDK) will combine the Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP) with SAP NetWeaver Mobile and Business Objects Mobile software within 9 months.
  • Sybase CEO John Chen, on the SAP board, will operate Sybase as a “separate, independent unit,” and reaffirmed the commitment to maintaining the product roadmap he made when I interviewed him at TechWave
  • SAP will “port, certify and optimize” SAP Business Suite, NetWeaver Business Warehouse, Business Objects Data Services and Business Objects BI solutions to Sybase ASE. No dates were specified.
  • Business Objects, already certified for Sybase ASE and IQ, will be “combined with (unspecified) Sybase data management servers” to deliver “discovery, storage, and consumption.” No dates were specified; it’s not clear what’s new here other than packaging.
  • The companies will incorporate SAP’s in-memory computing technology across SAP and Sybase data management offerings.

Read more of this post

Living in the Present is SO Yesterday

It’s an occupational hazard of living in the future that analysts can begin to ignore the present – unless we make it a practice to seek it out. Here in the Valley, that can be difficult, when being a week behind the latest version of something the rest of the world hasn’t heard of yet equates to being a luddite. That can lead to AADD (analyst attention deficit disorder.) Read more of this post

HP To Add 6000 Jobs in Sales and Service

“…with funding to come from 9000 positions that will be eliminated as a result of HP’s successful data center and automation efforts.” My headline from today’s news. Funny how emphasis and choice of lead matters. HP attempted to drive the message on this story by headlining its press release “HP to Invest $1 Billion to Launch New Era of Enterprise Services.” That didn’t work; those are costs associated with the separation of employees, and the pundits pounced on burying them at the bottom. But the predictable anti-business, determinedly contrarian response has missed the mark as well.

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A Visit With Gideon Gartner

I was privileged to work with Gideon Gartner briefly during the early Giga Information Group days (joining about a year in after its founding in 1995.) I was a newbie in the analyst game at the time, although in my prior few years I had done analyst relations formally and informally at two software firms. Gideon was an insurgent, beginning to transform the business model he innovated at Gartner Group a decade and a half earlier, and it was exciting to participate in a vibrant community of smart people deciphering technology trends. Yes, he succeeded, changing the siloed model of multiple services with a “one seat gets all” licensing model. That change is only now beginning to give way to revenue enhancement strategies, as the surviving big firms attempt to monetize in a finer grained way. Read more of this post

SapphireNow Day Two – Pump It Up

Bill McDermott began the day for Orlando attendees of SapphireNow by demonstrating that there is no charisma deficit at SAP these days, and his co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe was right there behind him to make the case that commitment and strategy are not lacking either. They welcomed Sybase, hailed the new ByDesign release about to ship, and waved the sustainability flag high, leveraging their strong position there. Read more of this post

SapphireNow Day One – Getting Virtual Events Right, And More

I got some great messages today from people who enjoyed my tweets “from” SapphireNow in Orlando – although I wasn’t there. That’s a tribute – not to me; we’re only talking tweets, for goodness’ sake – to SAP for pulling off a two-continent, video-streaming, full-on collaborative event I was able to participate in meaningfully from my desk in California. There was substance, partner announcements, customer dialogue, and star keynoters. A good day, with the best ahead, if my pre-briefs are any indication; there’s more ahead. Read more of this post

Will Tiered Content Strategies Crack the IT Research PayWall?

There are two content models in the IT research world: the PayWall and the freely available. In the former model, the business assumption is that the firm’s revenue stream is largely driven by content subscriptions.  The latter treats content as the best advertising of the firm’s real value: its people and the advice they can offer. And then there are hybrids: some of the content is out there, but not all.

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The State of The Industry Analyst

How’s that for a ridiculous title? This piece is nowhere near as ambitious as that; it’s a response to some typically provocative comments from Gideon Gartner, a founder and arguably the most iconic figure in our industry. In his blog post Advisory Industry, a future redesign: the Payment Model, Gartner challenges his readers to think again about the business model of technology research and advisory firms. I was moved to comment, as many others have been, and after posting my thoughts, I decided to put them up here as well. But before you read on, I encourage you to read Gideon’s post.  Go ahead – I’ll wait here. Read more of this post

Oracle Ups EPM Ante

After a 2 year wait, Oracle is rolling out some fruits of its daunting integration efforts in enterprise performance applications. New suite bundles, an Essbase connector and Hyperion uplift are highlights of its Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) 11.1.2 release. The numbering scheme, evidently constrained by the overall Oracle level 11 nomenclature, drove the understated “11.1.2” moniker, but make no mistake, this is a major thrust – delivered in 15 languages and with a new focus on role-based thinking. The task-specific and vertical themes that dominate developments in enterprise applications were on display here as Oracle delivered Financial Close Management, Disclosure Management, and Public Sector Planning and Budgeting applications atop the Fusion Middleware platform that is the basis for further product portfolio integration in the quarters ahead. The architectural value of the Business Intelligence Foundation here cannot be overstated; Oracle is delivering on a well-thought-out model that facilitates a steady growth in product opportunities that will drive incremental revenues. Read more of this post