Communications of the Association for Information Systems


The firms involved in analyzing the information technology industry (IT), such as Gartner, Forrester, and IDC, are reputed to have a major impact on both IT vendors and IT adopters through their influence over how IT actually is acquired and used. The purpose of this article is to take stock of the nascent stream of research on industry analysts that has developed in recent years in order to shed some light on the IT analysis industry―to analyze the IT industry analysts, if you will. Using an organizational field-level lens, we look at the business models of the firms that operate in this industry. We examine the main institutional work that the analysts in these firms perform as status arbiters, institutional carriers, network brokers, IT fashion setters, and knowledge entrepreneurs. We examine the competitive and institutional pressures faced by analysts in these firms. Finally, we propose two research agendas: (1) to study the impact that this industry has had, and could continue to have, on the IT industry as a whole, and (2) to study how the relationship between the academic information systems community and the IT analysis industry might co-evolve.