Gartner

How IT Analyst Firms Like Gartner and Forrester Overpromise Marketing Exposure to Vendors

Executive Summary

  • Gartner and Forrester have a long term history of overstating what they can do for most vendors.
  • We cover the accuracy of their sales pitch to medium and small vendors.

Introduction

If we look at the coverage in say IDC, Forrester or Gartner, their coverage is most advantageous for the most significant vendors. These are the vendors that can afford to pay these entities the most money. The reason for the money is to get IDC, Forrester, or Gartner to support weak products and or false proposals by the largest vendors.

See our references for this article and related articles at this link.

The Focus of IT Analyst Firms — Legitimate Research or Profit Maximization?

Gartner has highly aggressive growth goals that they communicate liberally within the company. The IT analysts would like the industry to think that they can both do quality research and also profit maximize. This is not possible, and has never been possible in the history of research. Real research means publishing what is true, often at the expense of what is profitable.

This is why private companies have such a terrible reputation in research, with the primary entities that have stood out in research being entities like Bell Labs and Xerox PARC Labs, that were run as non-profit labs, but highly profitable entities or in the case of Bell Telephone/AT&T was a government regulated monopoly. As soon as the AT&T was broken into the baby bells and Bell Labs had to be “market directed” their prominence went into a steep decline.

None of the major IT analyst firms are above publishing the most inaccurate information as long as the price is right. We cover this topic in the article How to Understand Forrester’s Fake S/4HANA TCO Study. In this study, Forrester used three samples to project an implementation cost of $877,000 and six months. This is for an application whose previous version never costs less than $10 million (and routinely takes $100 million) or takes less than a year and in many cases takes multiple years. This is also for a new and immature application, hence INCREASING rather than decreasing its likely implementation duration.

How Bad Does it Get?

We have routinely lampooned various publications by these entities, including the article How Gartner Distributes Press Releases On HANA. There is literally no level of inaccuracy that we can document, even when our articles are widely read, that seems to cause questioning of how IT analysts can be legitimate if the quality of their output is so rigged and of such poor quality. Several of the publications are not only rigged, but lack basic analytical competence with important information left out, or miscalculated.

Neither IDC, Forrester not Gartner care what is true. They are trying to maximize their profits, and this means sidling up to the entities with the most resources and presenting the story they want to be presented.

How Medium and Small Vendors Should Look at Gartner

The first thing to recognize is that the IT analyst system is highly corrupt. One firm, IDC, is owned by a Chinese firm, which is a bit of a joke given China is only a few places above North Korea in press freedom. But IDC was not an honest firm before their acquisition by a corrupt Chinese company that is most likely working in conjunction with the Communist Party of China or (CPC) to pull knowledge of US business through the IDC.
Even medium-sized vendors (say around 1,000 employees or below) receive generic coverage from the major IT analysts. The entire scenario is a bidding war, which medium and small vendors cannot compete.

There are some exceptions, like the data warehousing vendor Snowflake (now with around 1600 employees).


Notice how one of the only moderate-sized vendors in Gartner’s Data Management Solution of Analytics was a vendor called Snowflake. 

However, while Snowflake is a moderate-sized vendor, Snowflake raised hundreds of millions and is one of the hottest startups in the data warehousing space. I would wager that Snowflake threw a lot of money at Gartner. Snowflake came out of nowhere in the data warehouse MQ, only a year or so after raising a lot of money, hence my suspicion.

For most medium and small vendors, “making it rain” at the Gartner headquarters is not going to be a reasonable option.

Understanding Gartner’s Business Model

I wrote a book on Gartner, and I cover their business model in the article The Problem with How Gartner Makes its Money, and how they favor large vendors over small and against open source in the article How Gartner Undermines Open Source for its Own Benefit.

Most non-major or non-majorly funded vendors get listed in some “mini” MQ type segments. And then receive a profile of the company on the site.

Over Promising to Medium and Small Vendors

IDC, Forrester, and Gartner are “in the tank” for the major vendors. They are throwing their weight in favor of the largest (or extremely well-heeled vendors). Therefore they can’t also throw their influence in favor of medium and small vendors. However, these firms can promise that they will, because while the medium and small vendors are not entities they can do a lot for, they are still revenue sources, for IDC, Forrester, and Gartner. This is where salesmanship comes in. Salespeople for these firms (within our view Gartner being the worst) tell the representatives from the medium and small firms that they can significantly improve their condition by paying off these firms.

In some cases, Gartner salespeople have explained the scenario as basically an arms race — using the logic that since other firms are paying them, to “stay competitive,” the vendor they are pitching must match the payments by other vendors so as not to “fall behind.”

The Reality

IDC, Forrester, and Gartner promise benefits to most vendors that they can’t back up. They are marketing to every vendor in every category, but they can’t give preferential treatment to everyone.

The major IT analyst firms are mass entities; they reach out to virtually every vendor on the planet and offer then a generic type of coverage.

Conclusion

The current highly concentrated IT analyst system (Gartner has made over 70 acquisitions in its life as a firm) benefits the largest vendors the most, or vendors that are well-heeled with startup money. Medium and smaller vendors suffer from this system, and open source projects — which can afford to pay nothing, are entirely cut out of the loop of the IT analyst recommendations and receive not only zero coverage, but active lobbying and advice from the IT analyst firms not to use open-source software. Another modality that the IT analyst firms aggressively advise against is custom development, not because of any actual research, but because commercial vendors oppose custom development.

It should be noted that none of this has anything to do with the quality of applications or databases. Databases such as PostgreSQL and many others have demonstrated themselves to be excellent options, but to the IT analyst firms, open-source does not exist.

The genius of the system is that while it primarily benefits the largest vendors, at the expense of all other vendors, the participation of medium and small vendors with IT analysts helps to legitimize the overall system rather than having it called out for what it is.

The Problem: Thinking that Gartner is Focused on What is True

Gartner is hired by companies who fundamentally don’t understand how Gartner functions. Gartner has virtually no first-hand experience in the technologies that they evaluate and get most of their information from speaking with executives at buyers or executives at vendors and consulting firms. Gartner is also not a research entity. They compare very poorly to real research entities once you dig into the details as we did in the article How Gartner’s Research Compares to Real Research Entities. Gartner serves to direct IT spending to the most expensive solutions as these are the companies that can afford to pay Gartner the most money. Gartner has enormously aggressive internal sales goals that place accuracy far below revenue growth in importance.