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Thoughts on Gartner and the Burton Group acquisition

CIOs and IT managers today have far more options to get independent IT analysis on tech trends than they ever did. The simple fact is, industry analysts are competing with the Internet, competing with Google, for relevancy.

Gartner is doing a fine job, keeping the street happy with deals, while building its talent base with these tuck in acquisitions. But Gartner could buy every single analyst firm in the world, including RedMonk, and there would still be more options than ever available to enterprise purchasers and decision makers, should they choose to take advantage of them.

Gartner is a packager of information, and a remarkably effective one at that.

There is a possible downside for vendors, in that Gartner is increasingly “the voice”. But to be fair to Gartner it is becoming more open about its processes in, for example, Magic Quadrant selection, and its doing a better job of tracking open source. Gartner is increasingly real time, which used to be a web (and RedMonk) advantage.

In the past I criticised Gartner for not being open enough. These days I tend to just sit back and admire the execution. RedMonk is a very very different firm, and as a source of second or third opinions, this acquisition can only benefit us.

Enterprises use Gartner for a reason – for the experience and knowledge of its people – and with Burton comes heavy collaboration, directory, networking and SOA experience. Its European security events tend to be well attended even if the firm doesn’t have many bodies here. The Burton deal adds to the recent infusion of AMR supply chain talent. If I were an enterprise customer I’d be quite happy to see the infusion of new consulting and advisory blood, as long as I didn’t have to pay any more for it.

At RedMonk we celebrate the voices of our people, rather than the voice of the firm. That seems to be the ongoing trend. We’re happy with it. Makes us findable, accessible and so on.

Categories: AR.

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13 Responses

  1. Great overview… RT @monkchips: James Governor’s Monkchips » Thoughts on Gartner and the Burton Group acquisition http://bit.ly/69lxXw
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  2. The RedMonk Gov’s take on Gartner-Burton http://bit.ly/5leG4f @monkchips
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  3. Candid insights, James. I agree with many of your points, including the value of your own firm and other qualified sources as alternate voices to Gartner.

    While I wish Jamie and team the best, I’m disappointed with this particular M&A. I doubt that Gartner will want — or be able — to scale Burton Group’s rigorous architectural approach to research, analysis and customer-specific recommendations. Nor the access to Burton analysts. Burton’s signature holistic approach and analyst access were the reasons IT professionals did business with Burton.

  4. “At @RedMonk we celebrate the voices of our people, rather than the voice of the firm.” — so true + so cool: http://is.gd/5PM9M
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  5. Barbara- nice to see you. you’re probably in a better position than me to track the success or otherwise of this acquisition in terms of end user access to analysts and so on.

    Cheers jdub! you too @robciampa and right90

    James GovernorJanuary 7, 2010 @ 12:30 pmReply
  6. Heartily agree with Barbara. Dealing with Gartner is still very sterile – working through intermediaries, strict 1/2 hour consults, only paid seats can access research, etc.

    The Burton model was wonderfully open and democratic – you schedule time *with the analyst* and they were flexible with time, accessible by email, etc. Anyone in the enterprise can access research.

    Burton’s main advantages will tank if their interaction model gets Gartner-ized.

  7. Thoughts on Gartner and the Burton Group acquisition http://bit.ly/4Z2aWF
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  8. Did someone hack James’ account and post this? :)…solid analysis. This reminds me a lot of the META acquisition, though I hope the Burton team doesn’t experience the same fate.

    Robb MappJanuary 8, 2010 @ 6:59 pmReply
  9. Hey Scott nice to hear from you. Good to get a customer view. You make a really good point about ease of access and barriers to participation – obviously at redmonk we try and make ourselves as accessible as we can.

    Robb – hey! My stated intention is to focus on customer value, not rubbishing the competition. In danger of growing up, I know, but I have obviously still have a ways to go in that regard ;-)

    James GovernorJanuary 10, 2010 @ 12:58 pmReply
  10. Would be fascinated to know your thoughts in a future blog entry regarding:

    1. Gartner and Burton have different models when it comes to the notion of the seat. Would it be a bad move if Gartner forced Burton to eliminate?

    2. Burton dialogs tend to be one hour by default where Gartner is much shorter, will customers lose choice?

    3. Burton is much more technology savvy when it comes to running own business. A user never has to type an id and password as they also offer federated identity. Likewise, Burton allows outsiders to see their calendar such that they can schedule a dialog more efficiently.

    4. Comparison of vendors and products is fascinating however taking it one step further into interoperability provides even more value. Should Gartner leverage the Burton playbook in this regard and host interop events for BPM, ECM, CRM, etc

    • ah yes – per seat pricing in the analyst business. as if we were software… to be honest i am not sure how burton worked in that respect. in terms of longer calls, obviously it depends. at redmonk we generally work to an hour, but very often a shorter call could work just as well.

      interoperability is more important than ever. burton has certainly been a champion and educator on open standards. this would seem an area gartner could even invest in, but i have no idea whether it will or not.

      James GovernorJanuary 10, 2010 @ 3:37 pmReply



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Continuing the Discussion

  1. [...] Or own James Governor – "If I were an enterprise customer I’d be quite happy to see the infusion of new consulting and advisory blood, as long as I didn’t have to pay any more for it." [...]

  2. [...] this acquisition has its positives, says James Governor’s Monkchips blog. His boutique analyst firm, Redmonk might actually benefit, he says. Why? Because companies [...]