Friday, December 15, 2006

IT Analysis, Calvin, etc.

I always run into certain issues as an industry analyst. The most significant is that I don't work for Gartner. The big G is in an enviable position. It is the 800-lb gorilla and has conditioned buyers how to purchase and consume research. Gartner has also managed to define the rhetoric of the field. Their analysts created the acronyms that dominate the minds of today's technology buyers (what would Lakoff or Foucault say?). It has also established the visual rhetoric with the very influential--yet empirically dubious--Magic Quadrants.

So what's a small analyst shop to do? Our situation isn't new. In many ways, it's a classical problem: a group of upstarts is unsatisfied with, and wants to unseat, the dogmatic and heavy handed discourse of a blessed group of individuals who speak the truth (whatever that may be). We are facing a reformation of IT research just as Luther and Calvin faced off against the established Catholic church.

We can learn the lessons of those earlier reformers. We can't just repeat the approach and tenets of the incumbent; we can't just introduce yet another gospel that only we can interpret. Instead, we have to help our parishioners develop their own personal relationship with IT (or God) through personal study of the word. We can't just preach. We must give them tools.

Suddenly those templates and tools that we all chaff against are starting to make some sense!

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