I had lunch with Dale Vile earlier in the week to discuss the launch of his new analyst company, Freeform Dynamics.
Described as "a UK-based industry analyst and research organisation that investigates and reports on the business impact of developments in the IT and communications (ITC) markets across Europe and the USA", Dale and his wife Helen "want to provide objective input for those involved in ITC procurement and implementation based on the most credible source possible - the opinions and experiences of their peers."
They have identified three key trends which they believe "are conducive to more informed and objective technology related decision-making." These are:
a) The increasing amount of quality information available free of charge (especially as more analyst firms adopt an open source approach). It's now easier than ever to find "solid, objective and authoritative material at no cost."
b) The growing number of interactive forums on the web (eg blogs, news sites surveying their readership, special interest groups creating discussion forums) so "the web is therefore now as much about learning from your peers as it is about accessing material from suppliers, experts and commentators."
c) Customers wising up to the imposed industy view, recognising "that new categories and their associated vocabulary often map onto the main selling agendas of a few large players rather than the genuine needs and priorities of mainstream businesses."
These trends have been taken into account when designing the business, even through to the name. "Freeform Dynamics reflects our unconstrained freeform approach to analysing industry dynamics. We refer to widely accepted categorisation and vocabulary where it enhances communication, but put the emphasis on delivering jargon free output using the business of practical need as the point of reference rather than the industry agenda."
And Freeform will be making its own research available free of charge via its website. "We are fully embracing this trend and would encourage vendors to fund or sponsor independent research that may then be put into the public domain for the benefit of all."
And it's mostly through primary research (rather than consulting) that Dale sees the company making its money. As part of this, Freeform Dynamics has created a joint venture with Situation Publishing, the publishing house behind The Register. I'll post on that separately.