I have just completed a benchmarking excercise where we invited various IT vendors to tell us about their Channel Incentive Operations as a basis for a research report we will publish in the summer. Many of the vendors we contacted were suprised that we do this type of research at all, but Forrester clients are getting used to this as we expand our library of reports for vendor strategists. Those vendors who did talk to us get, in return for their providing us highly-sensitive operating cost and headcount data, illuminating benchmark feedback so that they have an idea of how they operate compared to their peers. The feedback phase starts next week and we have 10 vendors in the benchmark so a good comparison can be made. The funniest interview was with a very high ranking executive of one vendor (so clearly, they thought it was important to talk to Forrester) who then had to tell me every five minutes, "I am sorry, we cannot give you that information" -- a total waste of his and my time.
In our prospecting for interviews, several vendors told us that they did not wish to participate in this excercise, which is reasonable, but nobody told us never to come back with another idea.
This week, IBM introduced its first two IT management appliances targeted at small and medium businesses. These first two solutions are part of a family that will eventually cover all the IT management needs of an enterprise, and cover availability and performance (IBM Tivoli Foundations Application Manager) and service desk IT services (IBM Tivoli Foundations Service Manager). The benefits expected are a rapid deployment at a lower cost due to the inclusion of automated configuration and deployment solutions. by itself, this is not really new and neither is it a complete revolution. Years ago, Oculan (now part of Raritan) and off shout of the Open NMS effort, presented a network management appliance for SMBs, with a similar strategy: sell exclusively through partners who can add their own flavor of services to the solution.