No sooner had the dust begin to settle on the December blockbuster announcement that Gartner would acquire supply chain industry analyst firm AMR Research, (you can read all about it at this Supply Chain Matters link) the word comes forth that Gartner has also acquired industry analyst firm Burton Group for the tidy sum of $56 million.

As you can note from the Gartner press release, Burton is a well respected research and advisory firm that provided in-depth technical advice to front-line IT professionals.  Somewhat different than the AMR announcement, Gartner has actually completed the acquisition of Burton, and apparently chose not to announce the deal when originally consummated.  I suppose one could speculate that Gartner did not want to take away from the news on the AMR Acquisition.

You can view some interesting perspectives on the Burton acquisition on both Carter Lusher’s Sage Circle and Phil Fersht’s Horses for Sources blogs.   The bottom line consensuses on the implications for these series of announcements are further consolidation of the industry analyst world and limited choices for alternative opinions.  Phil Fersht’s also hits the nail on the head with his statement: “While Big G has picked up some superlative minds from its latest acquisitions, its new challenge is going to be maintaining those edgy opinions, and not having them toned down under the glossy corporate veneer of the billion-dollar brand.”

As for AMR Research, I learned today that Gartner completed the acquisition just before Christmas, ahead of its original schedule.  Gartner is obviously moving rather quickly to solidify the new AMR business model.  Kevin O’Marah, former Chief Strategy Officer will now report directly to Peter Sondergaard, Senior Vice president of Research for Gartner, and direct all AMR research activities under the Gartner umbrella.  Contrary to what was announced in December, Gartner supply chain analysts Dwight Klappich and Tim Payne have moved over to be part of the AMR research team, which in-effect leaves limited supply chain research coverage if you are an existing Gartner supply chain research customer.

From my perspective, Gartner’s strategy and motivation in these moves is to expand its reach and make a major push towards dominating more end-user and practitioner advisory needs.  So far, these efforts indicate coverage for supply chain and IT communities.  Of course, if you seek all of these services, be prepared to pay-up for all three.  No doubt, the Fortune 100 types will have the clout to negotiate their own deals, but not so for others.

As far as I’m concerned, I am more than willing to fill the existing supply chain advisory void and provide a second supply chain voice when needed.  If you are in need of such services, you can check out my consulting website, since we just added advisory services package options.

Bob Ferrari