Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Burtner or Garton?

Huge news this morning as it was announced that Gartner had purchased the Burton Group in a straight cash transaction (reportedly $56 million). WTF?

These are groups addressing two different constituencies. As the Wall Street Journal reported: "Gartner has typically focused on advising companies' chief information officers and senior IT executives, while Burton has built its business by advising 'front-line IT professionals,' said Gartner Chief Executive Gene Hall."

Even though I don't always see eye-to-eye with the Burton Analysts, I consideer them to be the finest group of minds available on IdM questions. Bob Blakley, Gerry Gebel, Ian Glazer, Kevin Kampman, Lori Rowland, and Mark Diodati are an Identity brain trust , almost a national treasure. Add in the brilliant minds of Phil Shacter, Dan Blum and - of course - Jamie Lewis and you have an irreplaceable resource.

Gartner also has some good minds in IdM, just not as many. I could easily sit and chat with Earl Perkins all day, for example. But Gartner's IdM practice isn't something I want to listen to. As I said last year, about Gartner's IdM Summit: "It isn’t a conference that you, the identity management expert, should go to – at least not alone. This is really geared more to the line-of-business (LOB) manager who needs to get a handle on this 'identity stuff'.” And Perkins agreed with me.

This acquisition could put Gartner in the forefront of IdM thinking, or end up with all of Burton's heavy hitters on the back burner. Time will tell.

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