On Objectivity and Full Disclosure
We’ve been working as consultants helping end user organizations build solutions, analysts to industry vendors and journalists for over 20 years. During that time, we’ve seen folks wearing each of those hats put one client’s interests before another, or even worse put their own interests ahead of their clients. We’ve spent too long building a reputation to travel that road.
While it’s impossible to be truly objective, we try our best. Our experience colors our opinions of technologies and products. In truth, most of our clients and our readers are looking as much for our informed opinions as cold hard facts.
As journalists writing for established publications, in print or on the web, we gather data from every source available to us not just our clients. We choose our subjects based on our estimation of reader and industry interest. We insist on revealing our relationships with the vendors on whom we report. We do not charge for access or coverage.
As analysts we practice full disclosure. If a client hires us to write a white paper on their technology or perform a survey and write an analysis of the data we collect, we clearly identify that relationship on the white paper or report.
When we perform lab testing for a client and produce a validation brief or review, we identify that the client sponsored the testing. In addition, final editorial decisions are ours alone.
When working as consultants, the client whose project we’re working on comes first. We may leverage our relationships with various vendors to help our clients get the best possible solution but the client comes first. As a result, we may call vendor execs when tech support isn’t giving us the answers we need, and we advise clients that this ability may make one of two otherwise equally desirable solutions a better choice.
Where vendors have consultant relations programs that include deal registrations and/or commissions, any payments from vendors to us are credited 100% against the client’s consulting fees due.
We hope these practices allow the reader to evaluate our objectivity and draw as much value as possible from our work. After all, it’s the reader we’re really working for regardless of who’s paying the bills.