Gartner has acquired Burton Group for $56M, causing a lot of jawing in the IT analyst world, especially after their acquisition of AMR last year.
Instead of a deep and insightful discussion, I offer this examination of the splash pages of Burton, Gartner, Forrester and IDC. The bottom line: they look like they were designed in the late '90s, and you come away with the feeling that these companies have the souls of sewing machines.
Burton Group is mostly taken up with the acquisition. What's with the lonely tree on a hillside image?
Gartner is all spun up on their new Pattern-Based Strategy (which sounds like hot air to me). I guess I am not surprised by the stock photos of people in meetings. There is something scissors like about the center point of the page being a sales qualification technique.
Forrester is all about qualifying who the visitor is, too.
IDC's site is about as much fun as the yellow pages.
I expected to see an aggregation of the blogs of the various analysts. But nothing like that, really, although a few peeks here and there of things that could have been blogs.
I know that these folks are starting to move from big conglomerated voice toward a chorus of individual voices, but wow, so old school!
Just for laughs, a compete.com graph with Gartner, Forrester, and StoweBoyd.com. Remember Gartner has 4,000 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants in 80 countries, and Forrester has staff of 974, more than 372 of whom are research professionals. So you'd expect Gartner to have 1000X my numbers, and Forrester to be 350X.
But Forrester has only 6X the unique visitors I get at /Message, and Gartner's only slightly more. You can argue that they spend more of their efforts on report writing, and meeting with clients, but still.
So: I believe we are at a turning point in the market, when the individual analyst can become as influential as a traditional analyst firm.
Jeremiah Owyang recently polled his readers:
Some are Influenced By Blog: Over one-third of respondents said this blog strongly informs their actions at work, but it was nearly split between influence in their buying process, with 40% agreeing, and 39% disagreeing. (slide 6). Read more from Edelman’s Analyst Relations specialist, Jonny Bentwood on his take of this data.
My orientation is more on the innovators, people building social tools. And I know I have an influence there.