This is a great little piece: “Magic Quadrant Lawsuit: Would You Jump Off a Bridge If Gartner Says So?” putting Gartner, the analyst firm, in perspective. Thomas Wallgum compares following Gartner with following the in crowd in high school. His overall point is valid, if Gartner continues to be successful, they must be doing something right. Companies continue to follow their advice over the years so it at least must be directionally correct.
I’ve incorporated lots of Gartner (and Forrester, and CIO Exec Board, etc, etc) research over the years, into both organizational and technology strategies, sometimes at the request of our clients and sometimes at our suggestion. This research has never fundamentally changed our direction or brought forth a killer idea that changed our way of thinking about and solving a problem. That said, it has helped educate us and our clients on concepts, validate approaches, identify technologies to further investigate, etc. It has helped us fill out and back up our analysis but rarely drive to different recommendations.
And that’s how I’d recommend companies use Gartner. Not to decide their strategy but as one of many inputs.