I wish this discussion wasn't couched as a Wikileaks response, but it's an important one regardless. Thanks for the link to Howlett's post - it's thoughtful and relevant, a reminder of why the enterprise software community looks to the Enterprise Irregular blog community, rather than the major analyst firms (or IT press, for that matter) for insight into the segment.
Howlett closes his post by saying:
"As we think about what the New Year might bring, my hope is that vendors of all stripes will seek to be more open, more transparent and disclosing. Experience to date suggests that when that path is followed, buyers feel far better informed, empowered and willing to give the benefit of the doubt when things inevitably go wrong."
I believe he's right with respect to the impact of openness, but I'm not sure the community is going to follow Howlett's direction. In fact, I've seen only occasional evidence of a commitment to transparency since taking over as the network-wide CCO for IT in Canada in October. Here's an observation from earlier in Howlett's post, remarking on a situation that unfortunately (much too) common:
"We get invited to conferences, are schmoozed and boozed, fed some pat line and then report as though that is the sum and substance."
When I took over as CCO for IT in Canada, this was my "welcome to the industry" moment - the realization that vendors have found it very cost-effective to essentially bribe journalists with travel and parties, in exchange for rapid but shallow coverage of their orchestrated events. This represents a challenging balance for IT journalists: one the one hand, it's at least sometimes true that access to announcements and global executives is important to the news cycle; on the other, many of these trips are merely PR exercises, and even when they aren't, well-thought-out analyses take time (which cuts into our editors' availability for additional junkets), and might prompt the trip-givers to focus their attention on more compliant correspondents, limiting access for those who are more critical (or even balanced) in their approach.
In the end, there is plain and simple too much information - and too few outlets for that information - for Wikileaks to be repeated on any scale in the IT industry, much less the Canadian IT industry. To add to Howlett's hope, though, I'd like to believe that we can continue to raise the standard of IT insight in Canada in 2011 - with the help of the vendors, as he says, but also of the broader community of buyers, managers, developers, deployers, and resellers who have their own insights into "the truth" of how technology helps us to realize business objectives.