The objectivity of industry analysts is something which has long been a subject of debate among many of my colleagues. Having served in a hybrid analyst/consultant/columnist role in my first job out of graduate school, I can say that the majority of analysts mean well. But meaning well and fully trusting them in print is something different. And that's because no major firm in an off-the-record setting would deny that vendors who pay them five, six or sometimes even seven figures for access to their research and consulting time have no influence over their written words (perhaps what they don't say is even more influenced than what they do say).
But what analysts say in print -- which is read by the vendors -- and what they say to practitioners in an advisory capacity -- which obviously is not in print -- when it comes to vendor selection can be two different things. So if you're one of the hundreds of different companies I know which are debating what to do with your entire procure-to-pay strategy now that SAP SRM 6.0 is not going G/A and if you have a relationship with AMR or Gartner -- not to mention the others -- I'd suggest picking up the phone before even reading what they have to say in their writings. Their opinion should count in your thought process (it might even be the decisive factor). But you're not going to get the full story in their written research. On the phone, they might be positive. Or they might be negative. But you're guaranteed to get their complete perspective.