Gartner's Debbie Wilson is no doubt a busy person. But I would argue it is more dangerous and damaging to an analyst's credibility to start a blog and abandon it than to ignore the whole concept in the first place. Debbie's last post dates back to April, offering a call for strategic sourcing vendors to participate in her new study. As someone who has gotten royally hosed on the Gartner evaluation process in a former life based on analyst subjectivity (not to mention a lack of transparency relative to other ranking approaches), I can understand the benefits of issuing a call for participants. It shows -- or feigns, depending on your perspective -- openness. But still, why leave it at that? Why not invite the online community (practitioners and vendors) to volunteer their thoughts on what they're seeing in the market?
Even if it is Gartner's ultimate goal to comparatively measure a vendor's "ability to execute" as well as its "vision" -- whatever these two terms mean, I've not quite decided -- I have no doubt that a social media conversation on the subject would lead to better results. After all, the only interaction an analyst will give you if you're a provider (besides listening to periodic briefings) is if you pay them and become a research client or hire them at rates approaching or into the five figures per day to "consult" to you. That's the way the system has always worked.
By encouraging individual analysts to blog, the overall industry analyst firm community could take a major step in the right direction towards transparency and two-way conversation. But simply adding blogging to the list of expectations of what is expected -- versus basing compensation or bonus in part on the community and conversation an analyst can develop through a blog -- is insufficient and will result in, well, abandoned (or nearly abandoned) blogs. After all, when Debbie is incented in her bonus check to go out and sell consulting days to clients -- versus engaging and starting conversations with the broader community -- we all know what she'll give precedent to. I would do the same if I were in her shoes.