Four stages in the evolution of analyst firms

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Changes in business have driven the growing revenue and authority of ICT industry analysts. Four distinct stages reflect the several factors that have defined this success.

  1. For much of the late 20th century, we had the “old normal”, in which IT followed the business.
  2. In the “dot.com” boom of 1998-2000, IT attempted to be the engine of the business, as enterprises subordinated themselves to centralising technology stacks that dictated and constrained the evolution of the organisation.
  3. The following disruption, in which spending on IT required much deeper business cases and thus employees and managers started to test out personal or team-wide solutions for business problems.
  4. Today we have a (presumably temporary) equilibrium, a “new normal”. Managers outside the IT function directly influence most IT decision making or even determine it.

In each of these stages, the analyst industry has shifted and recomposed itself, extending both its audience and its range of solutions.

I’m drafting a paper to discuss these trends and outline the prospects for the industry. Currently, the first draft is out for a private review session with my connections on academic.edu. If you’d also like to review the draft, please drop me a line.

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