Ray Wang is leaving Forrester Research for parts unknown, though I can imagine he won’t be going too far from the industry that has been his life’s work for lo these many years. So, in an effort to make Ray blush, I thought I’d add my kudos to the list of fellow bloggers and analysts who know Ray and admire his work. While there may be some, particularly in the vendor community, who are quietly relieved to see Ray leave a bully pulpit like Forrester, Ray’s influence was essential in the on-going dialogue between vendor and customer. Even if there were some who didn’t like what he had to say — Ray didn’t seem to mind being a lightning rod, particularly on the issue of enterprise software maintenance, as noted by Dennis Howlett — Ray was closer to the pulse of the industry than most, and the truth of what he said was undeniable.
So, before this starts looking like an obit, instead of a shout-out to a friend and colleague transitioning to a new gig, let me close with the following observation: As Vinnie Mirchandani noted in “breaking” the news that Ray was leaving Forrester, the fact that Ray was a superstar was probably lost on his soon-to-be former employer. (Is it pure coincidence that his blog is a .org, or merely a little ironic in view of Vinnie’s contention regarding what Ray was getting at Forrester for all the hard work he put in.) I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Vinnie and Dennis and I are headlining this as Ray’s move, and not Forrester’s loss. It’s harder and harder for the major firms to survive on mere name recognition alone — the influence of the aforementioned bloggers/independent analysts speaks volumes about the shifting sands of influence in our industry. Add to the problem the fact that the recession has stressed the big name firms and their massive overhead costs, and a noteworthy trend is starting to set in: the major analyst firms are losing their importance even as they consolidate in order to maintain their solvency, while, simultaneously, it’s becoming obvious that being attached to a major analyst firm isn’t the only way to have influence in the industry. QED.
I hope that whatever Ray does next, he keeps his level of involvement in the industry high. Having guys like Ray around makes us all do a better job. See ya later, Ray.
UPDATE: Ray has posted his farewell blog, and it’s worth a look.