Analysts: Great at predicting the past; the future, not so much

“Analysts tend to be great at predicting the past, but far less adept at predicting the future, which is actually what customers expect from them. If you look at such things as Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, it is great at showing where the industry was, rather than where it’s going,” Matt Asay writes for CNET.

“The problem is that analysts like Gartner get their information from the vendors that subsidize their research, as well as from CIOs. Neither is a good indicator of where the market is going,” Asay writes.

“As Billy Marshall classically wrote, the CIO tends to be the ‘last to know’ about new IT initiatives. As for the vendors, the only ones with enough cash to subsidize research are the same ones that have a vested interest in protecting existing cash cows. In other words, the past,” Asay writes.

“Analysts, then, are a lagging indicator of success. They tell an enterprise buyer from whom she should have purchased software and hardware a few years ago, not where she should invest IT dollars tomorrow,” Asay writes.

“It’s time for analyst firms to get their research in different, better ways. It’s time to look out the windshield, not the rear view mirror,” Asay writes.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “DLMeyer” for the heads up.]

14 Comments

  1. “It’s time to look out the windshield, not the rear view mirror,” Asay writes.”

    But if you look in the trunk, you’ll have time to spare. If you look under the seats, you’ll be ready for change. If you look in the glove box, you’ll find the roadmap to the future. If you look under the hood, you’ll see how fluid the journey will be. And it just might give you the drive to go on.

  2. They need to do a George.

    Whatever they come up with, say the opposite is going to happen. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”rolleyes” style=”border:0;” />

  3. Good thing Dell hired Enderle to tell him what he should have done 5 years ago. Unfortunately for Michael Dell, he’s not going to have any money to give back to the shareholders once Enderle’s done with Dell.

  4. “”The problem is that analysts like Gartner get their information from the vendors that subsidize their research, as well as from CIOs. Neither is a good indicator of where the market is going,” Asay writes.”

    So damn true. Why anyone pays any attention to these buffoons really speaks volumes about their audience.

  5. many of them know better.

    bloggers = someone who writes blogs

    someone = could be very smart or very stupid; you decide.

    analyst = someone you (indirectly) pay a salary who works for a company with a famous name and who repeats what CEOs tell them to other CEOs.

  6. Analysts: Great at predicting the past; the future, not so much

    That is why we have wars, the “best” team loses the World Series or the Super Bowl, fail our school exams, lose a girlfriend, get divorced, hang an innocent man, release a homicidal maniac, buy a PC, etc., etc.

    Best analyst most of us know. That is our mothers/wifes. However, she will probably tell you, her mistake was picking dad. Worse, having you.

    Worse analyst I know, reporters. Oh. I forgot. Bloggers.

  7. Guys, you have to remember that Enderle was once an analyst at one of the better firms. That he is on his own now tells you something: he was probably shit-canned. That he’s a shill for hire tells you that he’s in the lowermost echelon.

    I’ve worked with a lot of analysts from Gartner, Forrester et al, and frankly, a lot of them are a pretty smart bunch. A few of them are exceptional. But go to the Web sites of the major IT analyst firms and look at the bios of the analysts working there. You can quickly see that by nature, they’re a fairly stodgy bunch. In a lot of cases, being an analyst at a prestigious firm will be your stepping stone to move you up to a cozy spot at IBM or someplace big.

    Now if you want some real brains, look at the resumes of the leading partners of the major venture capital firms. That’s where the real horsepower lives. These guys have their money invested in technology start-ups and mid-stage companies, and are betting the farm for some real heavy hitters financially speaking. If you want to see visionary people who are also lethally analytical, VCs are the people to watch and track. Go to their Web sites and read the white papers that they publish. THAT is the good stuff.

    I hope that helped, kids. Have a nice day.

  8. The problem with most of the analysis firms like Gartner is that they merely report the consensus opinion. Now consensus is a useful tool in some fields and for answering some kind of questions. Unfortunately it fails very badly to identify the new ideas or the places where opinion and fact conflict.

    I had a middle school teacher who demonstrated that consensus is not the correct manner in which one identifies facts or truth. He stated in his class that “the Earth’s moon does not rotate.” Three of his students objected to this statement. After some discussion, he conducted a survey of the class to decide the correct answer by “consensus opinion.” Of course the majority of the class sided with the teacher. The five students who chose to hold the opinion that he was wrong got “A”s in the class because consensus opinion is not the correct way to identify the correct answer. (The moon actually does rotate.)

    The analysis firms have the same problem. They listen to the industry and form a consensus opinion without regard for whether the opinion is well formed. They would do better to report facts and the perform research into why the facts that they report are observed. Those with insight would then correctly forecast the future even if it was not the opinion held by the majority.

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