Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Gartner Gobbles up Meta: The Market for I.T. Advice Gets Harder to Mine via Traditional Methods

CNET News notes the long-in-the-works selloff of Meta Group to rival Gartner for for $162 million in cash. Meta has been struggling to be profitable for some time, while Gartner is now eking out hair-width profits in a market for I.T. research that has seen new arrivals such as TechTarget scraping off much of the front end of content profits that can be offered in this segment. This appears to be largely a "boots on the ground" approach to sales development, as Gartner hopes to leverage a Meta sales force already familiar with its rival and able to position Gartner products in segments where their efforts have not overlapped. It's a merger long overdue, but unanswered is whether the combined forces of these two firms can address the inherent weaknesses in a market for I.T. management consulting that increasingly wants solutions recommenders to be solutions providers and content to come from a mixture of publishers, peers and vendors. Firms like Gartner struggle mightily to maintain a big-ticket approach to combined content and advisory services that will pose a greater challenge as firms like TechTarget succeed with increasingly broad portions of the content side of the business. It's not that Gartner doesn't matter anymore so much as there are so many other things that matter that deliver important value to its target market in more flexible ways that its approach to getting a healthier "share of wallet" from both content and services has to be questioned.
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