What is the batting average of Gartner Group?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Anybody tracked the accuracy of Gartner Group's past predictions? I keep reading "Gartner Group says..." Where do they themselves say all these things? Just for organizations that hire them? Or is there a site where one can peruse a body of their prognostications? For instance, in the army slides (url given days ago here) it is mentioned that Gartner Groups gives 80% possibility of mission critical failure in 50% of U.S. electric utilities. Whooaa. Anywhere one can read what led them to this conclusion?

-- Shivani Arjuna (odnsmall@aol.com), April 21, 1999


Their website is at www.gartner.com--and yes, much of their specific material is restricted to clients/purchasers (and it ain't cheap, either, or so I've heard). But as I recall, there is some material you can browse on their site, though as a new user you have to register first.

Re the reliability of their predictions: who knows? It's really too soon to tell anyway, at least on the important issues. If you want general numbers and charts, GartnerGroup has them, sometimes made available in news reports and press releases. GartnerGroup has also furnished extensive congressional testimony. They track the Y2K progress of 15,000 companies and agencies in 87 countries, so they are probably the best private source of info on what is happening globally (certainly better than, say, Merrill Lynch!). There are also CIA, National Intelligence Council, World Bank, Bank of International Settlements, and UN reports, of course.

Gartner has some 3,000 computer consultants worldwide; even so, that spreads them rather thin, and I get the uneasy suspicion that they sometimes rely too much on what CIOs, etc., are telling them. Also, Gartner is an IT outfit--no particular expertise in embedded systems. If you want more info on that front, check out an outfit like TAVA Technologies, which is doing embedded systems remediation for GM and other major corporations. Plugging "TAVA" into any good search engine should bring them up; Rick Cowles, a power industry analyst, now works for TAVA, and he maintains a website and forums on the U.S. power industry and Y2K at www.euy2k.com

Back to Gartner. I've casually tried to track their general, public data for about a year. Re specifically the U.S., I first thought they were too gloomy, then too optimistic (especially re the claim that 90% of all residual errors will be corrected within 72 hours of manifestation!). But as I said, who knows? Overseas, as noted, they might well be the best source of info we have, though I suspect that Japan, for instance, is in rather worse Y2K shape than the Gartner reports suggest. In February, the Japanese government's own Financial Supervisory Agency released a report indicating that, as of last Dec., almost half of Japan's 19 largest banks had completed only 25% of "needed repairs." (Deep breath.) Yet, other recent Japanese govt. reports have suggested that all major Japanese banks are on track to finish their essential Y2K repairs within, at most, a few months. Go figure. As Peter Gauthier (PNG) has noted, Japan has a cultural aversion to admitting failure. (Americans ain't too quick to admit it, either.) I doubt that Gartner has been any more successful than the rest of us at penetrating the Y2K mystery over there.

By the way, another good source for general, including global, Y2K info, is economist Ed Yardeni, at www.yardeni.com/y2kreporter.html Dr. Yardeni has his finger in many Y2K pies, and he monitors info from various sources, including those I've listed above.

This is one subject where time really will tell, and soon--for Japan, for the U.S., and for the rest of the world. Then we can all stop wondering and arguing. (And how boring that will be....)

-- Don Florence (dflorence@zianet.com), April 22, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ