Mark Smith, CEO and Chief Research Officer for Ventana Research penned a blog commentary lamenting that the ethics in the technology industry analyst community has deteriorated when it comes to objectivity and independence in research.  In his essay commentary, Mark expresses concerns of the increased influence by large technology vendors. He notes that the volume of timely research from the large industry analyst firms has gotten smaller, and that the largest technology vendors “have forced industry analyst firms to contractually agree to the right to review, edit and approve any written research that references their name or products before it is published.”

In this Supply Chain Matters commentary, we feel compelled to clarify some important points. We are not trying to discredit or bash the current state.  Others can and probably will add to this discourse regarding the existing state of large industry analyst firms. We instead are explaining who we are and what we feel makes us different.

The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group, the parent of Supply Chain Matters, as with other smaller and more independent firms, differentiates from the large scale advisory firms.  We recognized and fill an important need for a hybrid business model that leverages social media based open access to industry analyst viewpoints with highly experienced industry analyst and technology consulting skills. Our business model is unique. Our research is high quality and our insights come from years of hands-on supply chain corporate experience.  We view our analysis as objective, insightful and independent, and we trust others will as well.

We continue in the belief that social media conversation and blogs provide an important source of influence for technology buyers and consumers.  Supply Chain Matters and other quality blogs continue to be a testimonial to this reality.

We adhere to a set of ethical standards.  Our readers will notice that Supply Chain Matters does and will continue to disclose in an individual commentary, any direct or perceived relationship with a sponsor or a particular vendor that happened to be named in that commentary.   Vendors are not provided any editorial input or voice in our blog commentaries, other than after the fact, to note improper citing of product nomenclature or clarify improper statements. After all, we are human, and do err from time-to-time.  Blog sponsors are granted license to cite or reference Supply Chain Matters commentaries for clearly defined purposes, and we insure that these purposes are adhered to.  We will not entertain any request for a paid blog commentary even thou we continue to receive occasional requests.  While some bloggers and other media properties might do it, we at Supply Chain Matters do not ascribe to this practice.

Our published research also adheres to a set of similar standards.  If a particular vendor has sponsored a research project, they are granted access to the final draft, prior to publishing.  Here again, vendor input does not include editorial or content oversight, but rather fact-checking for insuring accuracy of naming and terms. These were all standard practices in the industry as much as ten years ago, with a clear line of differentiation between what can or cannot be edited.

Differentiation comes from the uniqueness in our business model, the quality and independence of the research insights provided and the reputation of the analyst for communicating objective and insightful analysis in helping our clients and readers to make more-informed business process and technology selection decisions.

In the end, any analyst, consultant or blogger must stand on reputation and creditability.

Bob Ferrari