Questionable Influence of Industry Research Firms

    February 6, 2006

InformationWeek has an interesting, albeit exhaustive feature today on the influence that tech vendors wield over IT research firms:

“Research firms make their living by offering expert advice to business and technology people about the best ways to invest their IT dollars. It can be invaluable insight, but only if that analysis comes with no strings attached. And on that, there’s no guarantee. Forrester, Gartner, IDC, and others insist their output is squeaky clean, yet they also rake in millions providing services to the very same companies they monitor, heavyweights like Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle.”

At the core of this story is a sticky question: how credible are industry research firms?

All sorts of companies rely on industry research reports to make important purchasing decisions, while the media frequently look to industry analysts for their expertise and objective insights into certain sectors and trends, but in most cases, the money trail clearly leads back to the pocketbooks of the very vendors that dump big dollars into research houses and stand to benefit most from the “objective” positioning of their wares, so it’s fair to ask: is something rotten in the state of Denmark?

IMO, the need for transparency in practice bleeds through the entire media making business, it just seems of late that the PR industry has singly absorbed the brunt of this particular criticism, so in some small way I’m glad to see the magnifying glass is focusing elsewhere for a change.

Also See:

Trust, Friend, or Foe – Industry Analysts (John Welton)

Mike Manuel is the founder of the award winning Media Guerrilla blog. Media Guerrilla is an insiders take on the practice of technology public relations with a focus on the issues, tactics and trends that are specific to the tech industry.

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