Response: We Dislike People Quoting Gartner

John Herbert wrote a wonderful post explaining why he (and a lot of other people including myself) hates seeing Gartner quotes in vendor presentations. Let me elaborate a bit on this apparent anti-Gartner sentiment.

Lisa Caywood from Brocade is an exception – watch the video of her Network Field Day 9 presentation to see how a vendor Gartner slide should look like.

To set the record straight: I understand the need for industry analysts, and I was always pleasantly surprised with the balanced view when I had the opportunity to read original documents produced by Gartner analysts.

However, what the vendors love to do is to take the quotes out of the balanced context and omit all the recommendations and caveats that usually come with the Gartner documents (I’m positive nobody from Gartner ever said “I guarantee you 30% cost reduction if you go with multi-vendor data center switching strategy” ;)

Finally, I totally disagree with the product selection approach pushed onto us by vendor marketing full of Gartner quotes and NASCAR slides (aka “Pay no attention to the ugly man behind the curtain”). I still think the proper procedure should be:

  • Figure out whether you can solve the problem by fixing your processes;
  • If not, figure out what your real business needs are, and find products that claim to solve them;
  • Check whether anyone has ever seen the product or whether it exists only within the marketing grammar;
  • Evaluate the architecture of the proposed solution(s) – some of them might not work beyond the magic realm of PowerPoint;
  • Finally figure out whether any of the vendors you identified in the previous steps deserve your money by reading Gartner reports in their original form.

Not surprisingly, Andrew Lerner, Research Director @ Gartner, mostly agrees with me – his excellent Network Security Worst Practices blog post gave me the material for my own Gartner Quote slide ;) I’m positive some vendor marketing/sales people dislike me for continuously raising the topics on that slide, so I guess we’re even ;))

Speaking of my Gartner Quote slide – it will first appear in Automating Network Security talk @ Troopers 2015, so make sure you’ll be there.

Disclosure: Brocade was indirectly covering some of the costs of my attendance at the Network Field Day 9 event. More…

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