Sunday, June 11, 2006

Wary of Analysts

Most folks who work in an IT shop for a non-technology oriented company know all about the impact IT industry analyst can have. Upper management much to the angst of the architects and senior tech leads, depend on these analysts for advice or opinions. Whole projects can be derailed from a simple comment from an "expert". Entire IT industry movements can be started from these opinions from some of the more powerful analyst.

Technology vendors are not immune to the affect either. Most vendors of size have to spend time and money coaching the analyst on their products, market presence and viability. Do you think the amount of effort the vendor spends with the analyst is linked to the opinion of the analyst? hmm...I often wonder.

My own personal experience is that a lot of analysts don't have the background to render the opinions they are giving. Most have not done any significant work in real IT shops or it is so dated as to be not relevant ( I really don't care that you use to drop your Fortran punch cards). There are exceptions though and it's important I think to understand those. There are some good analysts out there.

When an analyst comes to visit or you are tied into a conference call with one, make sure you get them to explain their own experience with the technology they are rendering an opinion on. In other words if they have never actually implemented an "ESB" (and who has?) at a real company or if they have never actually integrated anything other than maybe some pasta with the sauce then chances are their opinions are entirely academic.

There is nothing wrong with getting those types of opinions as long as everyone understands and they are presented as academic. One final thought, make sure you understand the analyst's opinion on a given subject before they get in front of your management. Otherwise you may find yourself in a less than fun situation.

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