Getting the Real Facts: How Industry Analyst Reports Can Trick Readers - page 7
Start from the Beginning
So how do you know who to believe? If you're going to follow the advice in an analyst report, then read the document and ask yourself these questions:
- Who sponsored the study?
- Were the interviews based on experience or guessing?
- Was there actual data from real-world settings?
- Are cost estimates realistic and inclusive?
- Do the authors sufficiently describe their methodology so that I can understand how they arrived at the data?
If you're going to follow advice from analysts then read the reports and look for signs of solid methodology and independence in the research. Think about the advice you are being offered, and decide for yourself if it's helpful or not. There is a wide discrepancy in the available analysis.
Next month, I'll do this work for you as I investigate the details of the studies referenced in Microsoft's "Get the Facts" advertising campaign.
About the author: As an open source practice leader with Virtuas, Maria Winslow assists clients in understanding the technical and budgetary impact open source software will have on their computing environments. Her recent book, "The Practical Manager's Guide to Open Source", guides IT directors and system administrators through the process of finding practical uses for open source that will integrate seamlessly into existing infrastructures, as well as understanding the costs and savings. Ms. Winslow is a frequent speaker and author on the topic of open source, and is a contributing editor of open source applications at LinuxPlanet and Linux Today. You can reach her at maria.winslow at windows-linux dot com.