Many thanks to former Gartner analyst French Caldwell (iTGuru) for this guest post, drawing on his experience crossing over to the vendor side. I’ve written about this here, and French replied to my view: I think a lot of analysts get a rude awakening, and often a great shock, when they go to the vendor side. They might be smart enough to see the firm’s prospects, not often they are not smart enough to realistically understand the value they will generate for themselves and for their new firm. Here is his reply.
Duncan — you are right, and it’s easy to sink into “the trough of disillusionment.” But I’ve been there a couple of times frankly, and each time I have come out much higher on the plateau of productivity. Once I got it into my mind that I can make real change, I’ve been happier. It took one of the other senior execs to point out all the improvements I’ve made in how we do things for me to realize the impact I was really having. After just a few months here, I’d made change, but since I wasn’t writing it all down in a research deliverable, I just hadn’t seen it as clearly.
One thing an analyst can bring to an organization is clarity about our role in the market which creates a real sense of purpose. In my case having helped architect a new market — GRC — I truly had a sense of purpose that once the market began to really take shape and gain definition, I just could no longer fulfill at Gartner. Gartner covers lots of markets, not just mine. So going to a vendor that is focused on just GRC and nothing else — it’s great. But it has required an adjustment.
There are others like me — Howard Dresner for instance — he was an architect of the BI market. Gartner became too constraining as that market took off.
For those analysts who are just looking for something different, and they don’t really own their markets in their hearts, then I can see how the vendor side would be too disorienting. It’s confusing and priorities shift — but one thing that an analyst who really has a sense of purpose can do is to share that purpose and bring clarity and focus to not just their own company but to the market. MetricStream gives me a better platform than Gartner for that, and I’m happy. By the way, that sense of purpose spreads throughout the market — we here are not delusional in thinking that we can control that just for MetricStream, but since we are the GRC vendor, and we don’t do other stuff — we get tremendous benefit from bringing clarity and purpose to the market.