Just in case you didn’t get the memo, and following yesterday’s post about the new business realities for industry analysts, I thought it was worth talking to a convergence RedMonk has long championed, and how it affects my sector.
For many years things were simple. JavaOne was the most important conference of the year. Sun paid our travel and expenses. We got free passes. We could hang out with the smartest developers on the planet, all brought together around a (somewhat) common set of platforms. Google folks came along, as did the entreprisey world. Deals were done over beer at the Thirsty Bear. If not deals then Big Ideas.
With the acquisition of Sun by Oracle it feels like the baton has been passed on, as dynamic languages become production environments- often hosted by Google. Who owns Java? To me now it looks like Oracle, Google and VMware can all stake a claim for leadership. IBM decided to sit out the game.
So next week is Google I/O. I can’t make it but Stephen will be there. There is no way Google would pay us, or any other industry analyst, to come to the event, or even, I suspect, comp us a ticket. This is very very different for the hitherto privileged industry analyst community. We’re just another influencer as far as Google is concerned. Same for Twitter’s Chirp conference, or Facebook’s F8.
At first glance you might ask why industry analysts interested in enterprise technology should want to go the Web 2.0 developer conference. But enterprise Web convergence is real and its now. Comcast presented at NoSQL EU. Big Data started on the web but is coming to the enterprise. Cassandra now has enterprise support in the shape of Riptano. Cloudera is making Hadoop enterprise consumable. NoSQL is real. The Cloud is real. Amazon is running enterprise conferences now.
Android is Java-based. Google AppEngine is real. The big convergence is upon us. What does that say to industry analysts that are used to enterprise technology coming from enterprise vendors being purchased by enterprise decision-makers? It says- you better change the model and change it fast. Research that doesn’t have time for the web and the companies building the web is backward facing.
Of course Oracle will still run Java One. Of course Gartner will continue to do well selling to the enterprise purchaser. But pure buy-side sell-side distinctions are from a different era. Open source killed that past.
If we want to know what’s going on we have to use the web. But if we want face2face we have to pay for the privilege. By lowering barriers to participation for normal folks, the Web companies have created barriers to entry for industry analysts. No more information asymmetries. No more “arbitrage” and competitive advantage through secrecy and embargo. Perhaps this is just a moment in time, and as Google builds its enterprise business it will indeed privilege the traditional industry analyst. But I kind of doubt it.
I, for one, am very glad that RedMonk has a model based on The New Patronage Economy that gives us time to spend time with the engineers building the web.
And if you’re like us to be the patrons and buy the beers?
Cloudera is a client. Google is not.