Dueling Consultants

By Stan Gibson  |  Posted 2003-03-24 Print this article Print

Gibson: As companies cut consulting budgets, Meta readies for an ad campaign aimed at Gartner.

Its war. No, not that one. Last week, Meta Group declared war on Gartner. Apparently, Stamford, Conn., is not big enough for the two of them. Meta is set to launch a major marketing campaign targeting the titan among consulting companies and its neighbor, Gartner. Although the ad reads "Meta vs. Mega" and doesnt mention Gartner by name, later ads will, Im told.

Why? Times are tough, and businesses are cutting back on the number of consultants whose opinions they think they need. If the definition of a consultant is someone who borrows your watch to tell you what the time is, getting a second opinion may be a luxury. If you are going with only one market research company, which will it be? Metas push is to get you to vote Gartner off the island.

Since there is only one reality to study, the real challenge for a market research company is to package its research differently. Last week, IDC, the most venerable, if not the largest or fanciest, research company, offered its take on the future at its Directions conference in Boston. The basic directions are similar to those propounded by Gartner, Meta and Forrester: Data center consolidation is the first step to the utility computing of tomorrow. Virtualizaton of computing and storage resources is the second step to utility nirvana, which can be alternately expressed as grid or fabric computing.

Because large amounts of XML and middleware will be required to tie applications to this vast data center resource, vendors that offer integration services will have a huge advantage over those that offer point products. While the data center is becoming a cloud, mobile Internet clients will proliferate to the point where they outnumber stationary clients in three years. The downturn is ending and giving way to targeted IT investment for strategic advantage. Thats what most research companies are saying these days—package it as you will.

Do you lean on the market researchers or are you "going lean" on them? Let me know at stan_gibson@ziffdavis.com.

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Stan Gibson is Executive Editor of eWEEK. In addition to taking part in Ziff Davis eSeminars and taking charge of special editorial projects, his columns and editorials appear regularly in both the print and online editions of eWEEK. He is chairman of eWEEK's Editorial Board, which received the 1999 Jesse H. Neal Award of the American Business Press. In ten years at eWEEK, Gibson has served eWEEK (formerly PC Week) as Executive Editor/eBiz Strategies, Deputy News Editor, Networking Editor, Assignment Editor and Department Editor. His Webcast program, 'Take Down,' appeared on Zcast.tv. He has appeared on many radio and television programs including TechTV, CNBC, PBS, WBZ-Boston, WEVD New York and New England Cable News. Gibson has appeared as keynoter at many conferences, including CAMP Expo, Society for Information Management, and the Technology Managers Forum. A 19-year veteran covering information technology, he was previously News Editor at Communications Week and was Software Editor and Systems Editor at Computerworld.

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