Obviously any ranking system is open to question, and its not clear exactly what the new Technobabble 2.0 Industry Analyst Top 50 measures, but it aggregates some useful measures of web influence, and I am very happy to report that out of more than 200 industry analyst bloggers RedMonk takes the top three slots (at least unless/until Charlene Li does something about the inclusion of Bloglines subscriber numbers.)
What I like about Jonny’s recent stuff (he works at Edelman, so it will be interesting to see if Steve Rubel, who has recently been pondering engagement measurement, picks it up) is that he is at least asking what a new analyst business might look like, rather than assuming the status quo will be maintained ad infinitum, which seems to be the position of many in the business.
I know there are many skeptics out there about on the question whether blogging has a role in research, and whether firms like RedMonk have any industry influence. That is fair. But it seems to me that just as we should not confuse a Technorati ranking with industry influence, neither should we imagine that an utterly reductionist focus on RFP involvement tells us everything about influence either. A myopic focus on capital expenditure and new product purchase relies on a too-blunt instrument in the age of open source and free services. If businesses adopt Google Apps, for example, in their free form, will that be ignored by analyst firms used to comparing Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes adoption, say? As I have argued before tracking MySQL adoption is not the same as tracking MySQL revenues.
There are many kinds of influence, it seems to me, and analyst relations and corporate communications departments need to understand this. In much the same way that software companies do a poor job of revisiting their customers to ensure that software was successfully installed, and users were trained effectively to use it, and benefits were realized, so industry analysts tend to focus on purchasing behaviours rather than value.
Do we have influence? Sure we do – notably within some open source ecosystems, but also in traditional spaces. Jonathan Schwartz, Sun Microsystems CEO and President says so (see his blogroll, which calls out both mine and Stephen’s blog). He is far from alone.
Is it surprising that a firm which set out to be the first blogging analyst company should take the top spots in such a poll? Of course not. But it is a nice validation of our strategy -sure it is. We don’t put information behind a firewall, which dramatically improves our ambient findability. We use social software to benefit from ambient intimacy. We want to be easy to deal with. We want to be fun. We want to be smart. We want to learn from a range of communities, not just one narrow constituency. I think the Top 50 award represents all of that. So that’s a good start to the week.
Finally I am very interested to see if this ranking gets any play in the blogosphere – industry analysts being about as popular amongst civilians as estate agents…
disclosure: IBM, Microsoft, MySQL and Sun are clients.