Dimensional Research clearly stands apart from other market research firms because we are technology experts, performing market research for technology companies.
But what exactly does it mean to be a “technology expert” when it comes to research? Obviously it doesn’t mean we’re deep technical experts in every possible area of corporate IT. We don’t write code or manage developers. We don’t manage data centers (although we do our own IT and can commiserate with some of the pain!). We don’t personally install patches or upgrades or test new releases of enterprise applications.
What we’re experts on is Corporate IT and how it works. We are very familiar with Corporate IT and its processes and can talk comfortably and knowledgeably about:
1. Technology. Not the actual coding and implementation, but the types of technology and the tradeoffs. We understand the perceived benefits and potential downsides of a service-oriented architecture. We know what cloud computing is (or at least, know all the ways the industry uses the word) and what is real and what is vision. We understand the challenges with data and the effort that is needed to generate simple graphs and reports. We know the TLAs (Three letter acronyms) – from IDE to BSM to SDL to SAN (Both the storage one and the security one!)
2. Processes. We know that ISVs and SAAS companies purchase differently than financial service organizations and that those are different than government and non-profits. We know the software development lifecycle, the people involved, and the products used. We are familiar with ITIL and know how some organizations treat it as a guiding principle, others as one of many guidelines, and some just ignore it. We know the new focus on costs and services in ITIL v3. We also know IT has other systems – Six Sigma, COBIT, and more that need to be considered
3. People. We know the common organizational interactions that take place between IT and the business owners; between applications and operations groups; between development and testing; and between server and network teams. We love talking to engineers and technologists about their challenges, and appreciate the creative side of a job that is often considered to be purely technical.
Most importantly, because we have this foundation, we can quickly come up to speed on any new technology.
- On a recent security project we had to learn new vocabulary like “pen testing” and “cross-site scripting”. It didn’t take us long, because we already knew the development and testing processes and quickly understood where security fit into those.
- On our first data center automation project, we had to learn about different types of automation. But the products automated processes we were already familiar with, so it was a very straightforward learning curve.
- When we did our first cloud computing project, our foundational understanding of virtualization, systems management, and application management meant we were able to be productive right away.
Being technology experts means we “get it.” Whatever technology our clients are developing, whatever processes they use, we are very comfortable talking with IT using professional terminology, asking the right follow-on questions, and gaining the respect of the participants. The result: an efficient and focused market research process that generates a highly effective analysis.