One of my most informative research past times as a writer and consultant in this space is to trade thoughts with other analysts and advisers about the state of vendors in the market. Much of this chatter is less gossip and more information exchange. However, one aspect of the gossipy side which quite often ends up being useful to all parties is when we trade thoughts on vendors that we think might be in trouble or that we're not seeing in current deal activities.
There's a few on our list right now. But you often won't see me -- or anyone else -- writing about them unless their demise (or sale) is imminent. It's just not good form. Nor is it fair, considering that individuals only see a sub-section of the overall market and in writing, it's difficult to provide a complete picture. However, we will talk about them in advisory situations (even if it's an informal phone call).
So when it comes to really learning what is on the mind of industry analysts and advisers when it comes to vendor viability -- especially if you are worried about a current vendor that you're working with or are considering a solution from a smaller provider -- by all means pick up the phone and call them. I know for a fact that they/we will tell you things over the phone lines that won't make it into a research note, blog post or even an email.