Decoding analyst-speak

New column cherry-picks the highlights, translates the tech jabber into English

How many industry analysts does it take to change a light bulb? We’ll get back to you on that. But first, wouldn’t you like to purchase our Illumination Industry Survey, which predicts that yearly spending on light bulbs will reach $3.7 trillion by 2010?

There, in a nutshell, is how most folks typecast analysts who cover the technology space. And it’s not exactly fair. True, analysts are largely profit-driven, and many have never encountered a technology trend they didn’t like. But Senior Contributing Editor David L. Margulius, author of our new From the Analysts column, believes the profession is populated by sharp, well-informed practitioners with valuable information to offer.

“The problem is the signal-to-noise ratio, which can be high on noise and low on signal,” says Margulius, who actually volunteered for the unenviable task of cutting through the clutter and jargon in an effort to select the choicest material to present each week.

“Analysts tend to concentrate on two primary camps: the vendors and the customers,” Margulius says. “I’ll be focusing on the latter: what customers are doing and how enterprises are leveraging technology and deriving business value from it. Ultimately, customers’ decisions determine where technology is headed.”

Given that IT has gone global, Margulius plans to bring an international perspective to his analysis. After all, what happens overseas invariably affects IT operations stateside.

For readers, the column should serve as brain food, a weekly foray into the analysts’ universe, rendered with a healthy dose of skepticism. “Analysts are famous for coming up with frameworks, acronyms, and forecasts,” Margulius adds. “My job will be to boil it all down to plain talk, without the hype.”

Sounds like a righteous mission. Now, about that light bulb …