Seeking Business Intelligence

I had breakfast this morning with Gartner’s Lisa Gross and we were able to talk about her continuing work in support of my old haunts – the agencies of the Intelligence Community. She’s first-rate at understanding the IT needs of large-scale government enterprises, and has always been known as a trusted adviser for CIOs, CTOs, and senior IT executives across many federal agencies.

I was recounting to her that when I first started at Microsoft (oh these many weeks), I was ecstatic at finding on our corporate intranet seemingly total unfettered access to Gartner research reports and white papers (along with similar access to Forrester research and reports).  The mother lode! 

At DIA, the smarter execs fought over “EXP senior memberships.” While I was an EXP member, many members of my team were not and we spent a lot of time scheming on getting them more access to online resources, as the value was significant. But just as important as the research – sometimes more important – was the seasoned expertise and counsel from professionals of Lisa’s caliber.

She knows that we spent a great deal of time at my agency identifying and discriminating among technology companies (startups and behemoths), looking for new technologies we might find of use; we worked with In-Q-Tel and traditional VCs to some degree, but quite often we simply needed to have an unbiased expert opinion on a range of companies providing software or hardware within a particular space – and how to choose among them.  Or we needed a forward-thinking look at where the technology within an enterprise sector was heading…. Gartner isn’t the only source for information like that, but it’s a solid compendium on its own, and I have always found its online tools to be pretty nifty.  (Check out their “Predictions for 2008” for example.)

And then a funny thing – right after coming back from breakfast, I fired up my computer and what should I find but news that Gartner has named Microsoft in the “Leaders Quadrant” of the 2008 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms.  I know that I picked up my tab for breakfast, and Lisa picked up hers, so I know there wasn’t any quid pro quo 🙂

Intelligence agencies and analysts actually use, and enjoy using, good off-the-shelf “business intelligence” software without much tweaking; data is data, after all.  Usually the most important computing power brought to bear in an intelligence dilemma is the processing going on in the analyst’s mind, but better software design winds up benefiting analysts inside intelligence agencies just as much as financial analysts inside corporate business intelligence units. 

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3 Responses

  1. Can you suggest any good blog on the Echelon Satellite Network and other similar networks ?
    Meanwhile, check out my blogs:


  2. Nice blogs. For the Echelon side of things you can always follow John Young’s


  3. […] I’ve written before about the usefulness of Gartner analyses; I have to admit that Hype Cycles are my favorites. There’s something about internally debating their judgment calls as your eye travels the path, from pre-adoption “Technology Triggers,” through the bubble-esque “Peak of Inflated Expectations,” and right down into the depths of the “Trough of Disillusionment.”  […]


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