Over at his blog, Amrit responds to the whole analyst thing, calling me "cute" in the process. His point is that Gartner is very stable and provides a valuable service. From the post:
"As for a pattern of people leaving - The Gartner security team has roughly 25 analysts,of those 2 have left in the last 5 years. Of the 700 analysts at Gartner it is less than 10. I am sure if I used similar statistics to make a statement about patterns in OS security Thomas would tear me to bits, but claiming there is a pattern and insinuating that there is an issue with analysts objectivity or limited value is very much out of line (admittedly Thomas didnâ€™t say anything about limited value, but others have)"
While I don't know that "cute" was what I had in mind, and I think Amrit missed the point of the debate - the point isn't that Gartner's analysts are leaving Gartner in droves. The point is that WHEN THEY LEAVE, the vendor community is almost the exclusive destination. That is a pattern that's hard to debate. I don't know that I really believe that there's a problem with that pattern; it only becomes a problem if there becomes a perception of impropriety somewhere down the line.
I've yet to see anyone claim limited value - there is no doubt that the analyst firms provide some value by dedicating resources to the study of problems in various areas. Much like academic research departments, the analysts have the time and resources to study problems in a way that most of us don't - there's definitely some value in that.
The biggest issue I have with analyst firms isn't the ones providing significant research and dedicating resources - it's the ones that are providing little new research and little new value that are the ones that irritate me. More on that in the next few days.