During last week’s trip to Europe, I received a call from the CIO of a fairly large organization whom I met last year, soliciting some advice on a technology evaluation process they were conducting on the mobility space. Needless to say I was a bit surprised by the sudden call given that this trip to Europe was exclusively focused on a couple of speaking engagements and I hadn’t scheduled any customer or partner visits. When I inquired a bit more about the causes of their request, the customer explained that they have been increasingly disappointed by the results of their technology evaluation efforts with a very prestigious analyst firm and needed a (in their own words) “more hands on opinion”.
As I started reviewing the analyst recommendation, it turned out our customer was absolutely correct in their assessment. The entire research reflected a very high level technology viewpoint of the different products as focused almost entirely in the support for some well-known buzzwords. While clearly frustrating, this experience is far from being an isolated incident. The fact of the matter is really hard to find enterprise software analysts with the hands-on knowledge about the technologies they evaluate, the technology knowledge and the market perspective to offer a pragmatic analysis about a specific technology trend. Most analysts in large firms, they have little or no practical experience developing products or solutions in the enterprise and they focused their analysis in large customer surveys. Also, these group of enterprise software analysts always seemed to be disconnected with the investment trends taking place in the venture capital or private equity communities which fosters a lot of the innovation that eventually impact the enterprises.
As a result, a lot of organization pay large amounts of money for receiving some very basic and often wrong advice that almost always tends to favor the most established players in the market. A solid research in an enterprise software space should be a combination of a solid understanding of the current technology but also about the vision behind the product, market conditions, etc.
Obviously, my opinion about enterprise software analysts is far from being a generalization and you can still find some very talented analysts that come from a product engineering background who tend to go very deep in their researches in terms of the technical capabilities of a specific product of technology. I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with some of those rarely talented analysts and received some very valuable advice.
I know my thoughts about this topic can come across as very blunt, but I find it incredibly infuriating every time I see organizations being affected by relying on research materials that are completely disconnected from reality. My advice to enterprise customers to always do the correct due diligence when interacting with analysts. It’s not that hard to determine when you are interacting with an analyst with a solid understand of the space and your current needs or whether you are dealing with a someone who just likes to play to be an expert.