Gartner Inc.: Biggest and Broadest

By Mel Duvall  |  Posted 2002-12-01
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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.

Reference Checks

Executives listed here are all users of Gartner Inc.'s services. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.

Phil Simmonds
Director, Product Marketing
(408) 566-8500
Project: Web hosting company uses Gartner to help shape corporate strategy. It also views Gartner as vital in its efforts to get information about its services in front of potential customers.

Paul Albert
Director, IS Engineering and Operations
Project: Frequently uses Gartner's Web-based research services, as well as Quickpath service, to speak with analysts.

Nancy Diment
Director, IT Infrastructure Site Services
(616) 544-4004
Project: Pharma-ceutical company calls on Gartner for guidance and ad-vice on technology directions, and also uses its conferences for peer networking.

Brenda Enney
Director, E-commerce Solutions
(305) 500-3726
Project: Ryder has been a longtime Gartner client, spending about $107,000 a year on its research and advisory services. Company values one-on-one sessions with analysts the most.

USG Corp.
Jean Holley
Vice President, Information Technology and CIO
(312) 606-4000
Project: World's largest producer of gypsum wallboard has been using Gartner for more than a decade, primarily for advice and research services.

Girard Liberty
Vice President, CIO
(978) 371-1000
Project: Agricultural cooperative that produces juice, jelly and jam has been a Gartner client for about eight years. It uses Gartner analysts for advice on technology purchases.

Company Profile

Gartner Inc.
56 Top Gallant Road
Stamford, CT 06904
(203) 316-1111


Chairman, President, CEO
Joined in April 1993 from Bain Capital, where he was involved in a management buyout of Gartner. Served as CFO and became CEO in 1999. Assumed president's title in May 2001, chairman in October 2001.

Executive VP, Research and Advisory Services
Oversees company's research and advisory services business. Has held position since June 2001, and has been with company since August 2000. Prior to Gartner, Knapp was chief client officer at Siegelgale, a branding and e-services firm.

Senior VP, Research
Directs Gartner's global force of 650 analysts, and is responsible for company's research arm with $496 million in revenue in the 2002 fiscal year.

Provides market research and analysis to about 10,000 customers. Its business units are: Research (includes Dataquest), Consulting, Community (includes events), Measurement, and News.