It's not unreasonable to apply a similar level of scrutiny to the analyst firms you turn to for market research and advice. It's been a few years since we studied the analyst community in depth, but our research has shown that InformationWeek readers spend tens of thousands of dollars on such services, with the lion's share going to Gartner.
Recent news of a debt-conversion transaction whereby Silver Lake Partners, a private equity-investment firm, gained 49.4 million shares of Gartner stock, 38% of outstanding shares, prompted us to take a closer look at the company. On p. 22, senior editor at large John Foley explains who's behind Silver Lake (some names you'll recognize: Dell, Ellison, Gates), how much influence these investors have (Gartner execs insist they have none), and what some customers who invest in Gartner's services have to say about it.
Let me be clear. We aren't suggesting that Gartner is doing anything unscrupulous. In fact, our staff occasionally calls on Gartner analysts for input on the stories printed in this magazine. But for companies that spend significant amounts of money on consulting services, we think it's important to know who's behind them. Strange thing is, Gartner's CEO claims not to know who the investors in Silver Lake are and says he's never asked. Now, call me silly, but if you were CEO of a company that had 38% of its stock controlled by an investment firm, wouldn't you want to know?