Back in January when James and I decided to try and push RedMonk more towards the open source end of the spectrum, I tried to be fairly candid about the fact that we weren’t sure exactly how that would play out. In a post here, I said the following:
We do admit up front that we don’t have all the answers. Where is open source best applied to our business model? How will we get enterprises and vendors to engage more fully in a conversation? What will the community think of this approach? How do we forge and maintain a good relationship with the community? What impact will this have on the analyst business as a whole?…We have ideas, of course, but in some respects these are uncharted waters.
Well, we still don’t have all the answers, but I think last week’s thread on openess (see here, here, here, or here) is a good indication of what open source can do for analysis. By opening the doors not only to some of our content but providing a mechanism for conversation – old hat to the blogging world but not all that common to industry analysis – the value of the content is dramatically enhanced through the contributions of others. Over the course of three posts and nearly 40 comments, we had nearly every possible view and angle passionately – but respectfully, for the most part – represented.
While consensus was not – and will not be – reached, I for one understand some of the various perspectives better than I did before hearing from the likes of Mike Champion, Bill Higgins, Bobby Woolf, orcmid, Gary Edwards, Sam Hiser, Bob Sutor, Simon Phipps, Jaime Cardoso, Nigel Fortlage, Daniel Carrera, John Wilkins, Grga, Louis Parks, Craig Ringer, N M, John Klein. Call it open source analysis, call it the /. effect, I’ll simply call it informative. As I discussed with a vendor just this morning, it’s difficult if not impossible to duplicate the value of this input while adhering to the traditional, closed source industry analysis model. Rather than trying to convince everyone that we’re the sole fount of knowledge, we recognize that the community will always be smarter than the individual, and try to leverage that to everyone’s benefit.
So thanks again to everyone who participated first for contributing to what I found to be an interesting discussion, but further for highlighting some of the benefits of the open source approach to our industry.