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Insight service users: assess yourselves! 26 Feb 2009

Posted by Tony Law in Insight services, Managing IT.
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InformationSpan helps enterprises develop and deliver value from their investment in analyst/research/advisory services (you can see why we coined the phrase “insight services”).

Our new online self-assessment enables you to see how far along the road you are. Visit us at informationspan.com and click the link in the news item, or on the Enterprise page; or visit http://tinyurl.com/bhmfvs.

Gartner blog index … again 23 Feb 2009

Posted by Tony Law in Insight services.
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Sage Circle and I have both been working on the same thing … Carter posted a note on Friday highlighting 15 new blogs which Gartner say they have added. As he points out, only five of these are active at the moment. And guess what: some of these updates were done after I grabbed the list to do my own update.

So I’ve revisited my list. And all the Excel work last week was worth it, because I’ve been able to capture the up to date data and re-post in half an afternoon! The new analyst blog lists are up: they don’t include the 10 new blogs that aren’t yet active, but I’ll keep a weather eye open. I still have to update my Forrester entries; watch this space.

So – check out my list for analyst blogs with (a) links to analyst bio summaries and (b) links to, and the new view by, their coverage areas. I’ve also brought into the data the four blogs which I had listed as “can’t find these in the analyst lists” – they still aren’t in Gartner’s list of analysts, but there are now links to their bio summaries and to coverage areas which I’ve deduced from their most recent reports.

Good hunting!

Links:
• Big 2 social media expands – 15 new Gartner blogs, 3 new Forrester podcasts (Sage Circle, 20 Feb
• InformationSpan index to Analyst Blogs (updated today 23rd Feb 2009)
InformationSpan blog index – now even better (ITasITis, 20 Feb 2009)
• Gartner Blog Network

InformationSpan blog index: now even better 20 Feb 2009

Posted by Tony Law in Uncategorized.
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I’m advertising a significant upgrade to the InformationSpan index of Gartner’s blogs. It’s been in my mind for some time to revisit this, update the data, and add an alternative index based on the analysts’ coverage areas.

To remind you: the rationale for this page existing at all is that analysts’ blogs can be a great way to access their most recent thinking and expertise, without a subscription. They don’t have the imprimatur of the official reports, but most of us can live with that!

Almost 50 of Gartner’s analysts now maintain personal blogs. But Gartner’s Blog Network page only lists the analysts’ names – and, at that, in the order of their most recent postings. Most users, I suspect, want to know which analyst to follow for particular coverage. And: did you know that Gartner also has a handful of blogs with particular names? I call these titled blogs and I’ve added an index to these too – including an important blog that doesn’t have a link on Gartner’s page (Mastering the Hype Cycle, reviewed here on 14 Oct 2008).

So: go to informationspan.com. Click the link in the header to get to the index of analyst blogs. Under the Gartner page, there are now three options.

1 – When you first open the page it displays a new index to the handful of Gartner’s titled blogs which appear still to be active, and links to switch to the other options.

2 – The existing list of personal blogs in order of the analysts’ names has been updated and now shows all the areas each analyst covers, to give you some guidance on content

3 – I’ve added a brand new listing by coverage area, listing the analysts who blog in each section of Gartner’s research classification

So you can find the right blog and link to it, to the analyst’s bio, and to the description of the area of research they work in – whether it’s a technology segment or an industry vertical.

Try it out at informationspan.com

New coverage report: Technology Tracking 20 Feb 2009

Posted by Tony Law in Insight services, Managing IT, Technorati.
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The new Coverage Report on Technology Tracking (a more accurate title than the original Emerging Technology) has now been published. From the 400-plus providers in the database, the report selects and reviews 20 in full and a further 16 as short notes.

I picked this topic because I’ve had previous experience of trying to find coverage for this area at an affordable price. After this piece of research, I’d now have a much better idea how to achieve that! If it’s a problem in your IT team too, consider this inexpensive report.

It’s linked off the website at informationspan.com, or you can find the teaser (aka brochure) here. That will tell you how to obtain the full report. On the website, there’s also a link to a previous shorter report on business intelligence, which is available free. But sorry – this one isn’t!

ITasITis on del.icio.us 17 Feb 2009

Posted by Tony Law in ITasITis.
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Just a reminder … when I find something that’s interesting but don’t have time to research it and blog properly, I tag it on del.icio.us using the tag ITasITis. I do this too if it’s something I want to keep track of but it’s a piece of news that’s widely reported and commented on elsewhere.

I’ve always had a link to ITasITis on del.icio.us in the links list alongside the blog. But to make this more useful I’ve changed it. Now, if you click the link, it will take you to the tag cloud rather than to the list of articles. I’ve also reduced the number of comment links in the sidebar, so the links are more visibls. I hope this will help!

Click the link in the sidebar, which is now called “ITasITis on del.icio.us”, or go to http://del.icio.us/tags/cgaa240 (why “cgaa240″? Don’t even ask!!)

Have you seen … Toolbox for IT 10 Feb 2009

Posted by Tony Law in Impact of IT, Insight services, Managing IT, Tech Watch.
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A brief one, this, but worthwhile.

In the course of research for my new report on coverage of Emerging Technology, I’ve explored in more depth the IT Toolbox offering. For a major insight service firm (its ultimate parent is the Corporate Executive Board) this is a highly innovative offering.

Under its roof you find a wide variety of topics, as general as Knowledge Management or Windows, as specific as Java, Siebel or SAP, and as focussed as Architecure or the CIO. And in each of these sections there are a group of blogs, a community forum, a wiki (did I once say I’d not seen any major using a wiki to create research? I was wrong!) and a collection of articles from industry, academia, and more.

Since I’m concerned right now with researching emerging tech, I looked at the coverage in this area. The topics are useful ones, the comment is worth having, and (on a quick look at least) the input from staff keeps the discussion focussed and on track. I’ll be looking into it more.

OK, it’s a community. But it has the organisation and vision of a major insight provider behind it. And the best thing is: signing up is free.

See it at it.toolbox.com (no other links today)

Satyam: an analyst case study 5 Feb 2009

Posted by Tony Law in Insight services, Managing IT, Technorati.
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So who was first to react to the Satyam scandal? And who had, and continues to have, the most incisive comment for Satyam’s users and other heavily outsourced operations?

I’ve been catching up on commentary from the analysts, and doing a little research. Considering how important outsourcing is, from global enterprises down, it’s disappointing. There’s really limited coverage. You might find these notes interesting not just for themselves but for what they tell us about the speed with which the analyst community reacts.

Remember the timescale: the Satyam chairman’s resignation took place on 7th January. Who reacted first, and whose insights are the most actionable? I’m not looking at news coverage, but at advice and interpretation offered to enterprise users of insight services. Satyam’s customers include many of the largest global companies. What can this tell us about the insight services you rely on? And importantly, what’s available even if you’re not a client?

So here are the key analyst reactions and the timescales. I used Malcolm Ramsay’s specialist search engine at AllTheAnalysts to see what was out there.

First to react: AMR Research
First coverage: Satyam’s Woes Put India’s Services Industry in the Hot Seat, 7th Jan (client access)
Accessible coverage: First Thing Monday podcast, 9th Jan
Follow-up: Beware of the Satyam Ambulance-Chasers, 15 Jan (client access)
Focus: the future of Satyam. AMR expect Satyam to be acquired within 1-2 months for the sake of their client base.
Client advice (from the podcast): having to switch providers is very expensive for a client. It’s the people that matter; look for continuity. Don’t panic; the people will stay put in the current climate.

Best accessible coverage: Gartner
First coverage: Prepare for Aftereffects of Satyam Accounting Scandal, 2 page document, 8 Jan. Although a client research note, this document is available free through gartner.com. But you need an external search to find it
Accessible coverage: online documents and Gartner Voice podcast 12th Jan. But oddly, no blog coverage visible.
Follow-up: two subsequent short documents (accessible). One longer client-only document dated 9 Jan. Local event in Mumbai upcoming on 10 February
Focus: the broad implications for the global IT services industry. Gartner expect Satyam to cease to exist in its current form by “some time in 2010″ for this and other reasons. It will be crippled from development, so that its expertise will decline. It will be starting from scratch to rebuild client trust. But Satyam has Indian Government support offering some confidence for clients.
Client advice: look more deeply than just financial stability when selecting an outsourcing vendor

Disappointing: Forrester Research
First coverage: Satyam’s Fraud Leaves Clients In The Lurch, 8 Jan (client access)
Accessible coverage: none located, no coverage in the Forrester blogs
Follow-up: teleconference, 20 Jan (client access, available from archive)
Client advice: can’t be inferred from what’s visible

Others: Ovum
First coverage: The ‘mithyam’ (deception) behind Satyam, 19 Jan 2009
Accessible coverage: none found
Focus: the reputation of India’s IT industry (based on provider’s abstract)
Client advice: can’t be inferred from what’s visible

IDC
Coverage: The Satyam Saga: What Next for the Company, Its Customers, and “Outsourcing India? No specific date (just January); client access, 6 pages
Client advice: can’t be inferred from what’s visible

Celent of India published a report on Indian IT services firms on 29 January which appears to make no mention of Satyam’s troubles. No other services show coverage of the crisis to date.

Client conclusion

Forrester’s web conference, particularly, will be of value to clients and can be replayed; but lack of coverage in the blogs is disappointing. The Sourcing and Vendor Management blog has no entry since October.

AMR Research show up well in this, specialists that they are, and Gartner exhibit their strength in fast considered reaction. There are clear differences in the interpretation and advice they are giving, particularly in the timescale for Satyam to disappear in its current form and in the likelihood of staff attrition. Both offer some clear guidance: AMR is more sanguine of an acceptable short to medium term outcome, at least for Satyam customers.

And the learnings? In a sudden crisis like this one, where your exposure could be significant, find all the advice you can. Find your way to the openly accessible content. Look at the specialist insight services, and always at Gartner, even if you’re not a client. Weigh the opinions: they may vary widely. And in the end, make your own decision – not theirs!

Links:
• Prepare for Aftereffects of Satyam Accounting Scandal, Gartner, 8 Jan 2009
• Life after the Satyam scandal, Gartner Voice, 9 Jan 2009
• Satyam’s Woes, AMR Research, via First Thing Monday (click More and locate the title)
• AllTheAnalysts

Shaping Tomorrow: BCS launches new blog 3 Feb 2009

Posted by Tony Law in Impact of IT, Tech Watch.
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The British Computer Society’s Engineering and Technology Forum and its  Management Forum are launching a new blog looking at technology futures and their impact on society and on business.

The development is predicated on the belief that “As the development of technology continues to accelerate, our understanding of the social and organisational implications lags further behind”. It’s always been the case that technology doesn’t deliver social or competitive advantage. Changes in behaviour do deliver these, and can be facilitated by the right technology. Technology developments can provide the initial idea or the concept; but Facebook and Twitter are social phenomena with a technical foundation, and Google’s success is as much social as technical.

The FutureTech.FutureSoc initiative aims to bring the BCS’s network of IT practitioners into the debate – one which I shared in, a long time ago now, in a Methodist Church study called “Shaping Tomorrow”. This wasn’t only about IT (electronics, we called it in the early 80s); it looked at other issues, now more pertinent than ever, including energy and the environment, biotechnology, and the implications for society, for work and employment, and of course the theology of our approach. So I’ll be sharing in the debate.

Links:
• Future visions BCS, IT Now, Jan 2009
• Future Tech Blog from the BCS
• Shaping Tomorrow (Methodist Church Home Mission Division, 1981) is out of print, but there are a few Google links to reviews. If you have access to Nature you can find one at Nature 293, 251 – 251 (24 Sep 1981)

Error 404 – add a search! 3 Feb 2009

Posted by Tony Law in Uncategorized.
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Here in the snowy UK I was trying to check out the weather for the Derby area and found a broken link on the local Derby page of the BBC website. Not their fault; Google had delivered a page which is clearly marked “we’re no longer updating this page”. But I didn’t notice straight away, so I clicked the link and it failed.

But they have a really smart idea. The Error 404 page that came up included a site search box, so right there I could make another attempt to find what I wanted. And I did.

Great idea, BBC!

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