Gartner Inc.: Biggest and BroadestBy Mel Duvall | Posted 2002-12-01 Print
Dossier: Gartner Inc. is to the technology analyst industry what IBM is to computer technology. It's a fitting comparison considering the company's origins.
Gartner Inc. is to the technology analyst industry what IBM is to computer technology. It's a fitting comparison considering the company's origins.
Gartner was founded in 1979 by Gideon Gartner, an IBM staffer during the 1960s, who later followed the company for Oppenheimer. In 1979, Gartner leveraged his analysis skills and knowledge of IBM into a research firm that could advise customers planning to spend millions on IBM technology.
Today, the company is the dominant player. However, Gideon Gartner is no longer associated with the firm after he was ousted in a board battle in 1992. In fact, he founded Giga Information Group.
Clients of Gartner say they value the breadth of knowledge that the company offers, and the expertise of its analysts.
Says Brenda Enney, director of e-commerce solutions for transportation giant Ryder System: "The greatest value comes from the one-on-one sessions we get with the analysts ... that has been absolutely vital in some of our technology purchases."
Ryder spends about $107,000 a year with Gartner. While Enney feels it is money well spent, she's wants more value out of the investment, particularly during the current economic downturn. Ryder was paying for advisory services from Gartner, Forrester and AMR Research, but dropped AMR to save money. "It had nothing to do with their service," she asserts, "they were our newest relationship."
Building-material manufacturer USG Corp. has been using Gartner for more than a decade. CIO Jean Holley likes the fact that Gartner's analysts tend to stay around a long time. "They've gotten to know our business and our needs. They're like our encyclopedia." USG spends "less than $50,000" with Gartner.
A concern for both Holley and Enney: Face time with analysts can be difficult to get.
It's this influence that often puts Gartner at the top of vendor's list. "Businesses are trying to do more with their IT budgets, so due diligence is more important than ever," says Phil Simmonds of Conxion, a managed Web hosting provider. Getting a solid recommendation or a thumbs down from Gartner can make or break a deal, he says.
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