Gartner’s big danger: its own propaganda?

Yesterday we presented Lighthouse’s assessment of where Gartner is going to a conference call for our clients and colleagues. The presentation assimilated a number of conversations we have had with CIOs and other market-watchers. Of course John Moroney was formerly associate director at Gartner, and it was his analysis that made it one of the best conference calls we have ever had, as well as one of the best attended.

We believe that the big change is on role-based advisory services. Gartner aims to offer special presentations of its research, events and other services to the most common roles they see reporting to the CIO. This will deepen Gartner’s influence in user organisations if executed effectively, allowing Gartner’s influence to extend down the CIO’s chain of command.

In terms of the firm’s core user research, the main change is that Gartner aims to draw the organisation together and target effort around these key roles. Some analysts will be dedicated to these new role-based services. We also expect some new benchmark and analysis tool to emerge over the next 12 months to back these up.

But how about the core vendor products? We think this could be much more difficult. Increased emphasis on sales, and the bigger sales force that has resulted from the purchase of META Group, are good ideas. However, Gartner still has some aspects that make it looks like a ‘hub and spoke’ organisation which is centralised in Stamford, the firm’s home town.

However, one thing we do approve of is Gartner’s appetite. The firm now sizes the research market at $11.5 billion dollars, as is shown by their chart, above. That shows that there is a great opportunity for growth, which is also reflected in the firm’s market share. However, our initial assessment is that Gartner’s share cannot be transformed easily: Not everyone can love Gartner. What’s more, many people will always want a second opinion.

For that reason, we feel that the big danger for Gartner is in listening to its own propaganda. Many of the steps forward it has made over the last year are the results of the META acquisition rather than of Gartner’s separate product and sales strategies. We cannot underestimate the META Group acquisition. META had highly effective sales representatives: 80% of them have been inherited by Gartner. Some increase can also be attributed to the winning over of META Group’s contracts.

Lighthouse is not in the business of offering stock analysis, but we also feel that Gartner certainly has real room for growth over the next few years. Of course, Gartner’s views have strong reasons behind them and we point people to their investor relations pages.

Duncan Chapple

Duncan Chapple is the preeminent consultant on optimising international analyst relations and the value created by analyst firms. As SageCircle research director, Chapple directs programs that assess and increase the business value of relationships with industry analysts and sourcing advisors.