As a former Aberdeen Group employee and an industry analyst, I feel compelled to comment on the recent WSJ article by Lee Gomes criticizing
So why did I leave the Aberdeen Group? I was conflicted by the sales emphasis placed on the research, which the company did not attempt to hide. An inter-office mantra was “What are you selling today?”, which applied equally to sales associates and analysts. This is one area where I took offense and felt compromised as an industry analyst. So much so, that I expressed my displeasure in the form of a resignation. As any analyst worth their salt will tell you, there is generally a separation between sales and research that is akin to church and state. This distinction did not exist at the Aberdeen Group during my tenure. In fact, analysts were encouraged to “sell” sponsorships and were accountable for sales numbers. Sales pressure was spread throughout the office on a constant basis extending beyond quarterly milestones, to monthly publication deadlines placed on the benchmark reports. If sponsors were not secured for reports they did not publish and quotas were missed, which held financial repercussions for sales and analysts alike. The sales tactics at
This brings me to the degradation of industry analysts as a whole. While I do not purport to know more than many experts in their respective technology fields, I am diligent about the research I conduct and publish. This was true during my time at the Aberdeen Group and even more so now at JupiterResearch. From my vantage point as an industry analyst I have the good fortune to preview and evaluate many vendor technologies that enable me to identify industry trends. I take this responsibility very seriously. I also conduct formal consumer and executive surveys and talk to a wide variety of technology experts, users and developers. The research, both qualitative and quantitative, shapes my opinions and informs my writing. My internal publishing procedures are subject to critical data review, editorial fact-checking and rigorous peer review. Some may perceive industry analyst research as subjective. While I do not claim to produce empirical evidence of technology merits, I do help companies make informed decisions based on my deep understanding of technology producers and consumers. Research is created to inform and educate and these goals align with my own. So before damning the value of technology research consider the exertion required to collect, synthesize and articulately enlighten you with facts about technology that you seek to understand.