This paper considers how specialist forms of consultants classify and organise new and emerging technology markets. It demonstrates how industry analysts and IT research firms have taken centre stage in the IT procurement market where they draw up signposts about the state of the industry and its future development – what we are describing as a ‘technological field’. Through discussing the emergence of a now well established technology – what has become widely known as Customer Relationship Management solutions - we show how these experts define the boundaries of a technological field. This article points to the process of categorisation applied to emerging artefacts and asks the question: What is at stake in these classifications and reclassifications? The classification of a technology is far from trivial. It proposes boundaries that link a class of often quite various artefacts whilst differentiating them from others. These categories do not simply allow industry analysts to order (and represent) the market/technology but also shape it. Analysts view and constitute markets through its various classifications. We show how this has both positive and negative consequences for technology adopters and software vendors alike. In doing so we draw (as well as build) on the notion from Information Systems (IS) research of ‘organizing vision’ developed by Swanson & Ramiller (1997) as well as recent scholarship within Economic Sociology on ‘product classifications’. The material for this paper was gathered in two related phases: during an ethnographic study of a local authority and its attempts to procure a new packaged software solution; and is part of an ongoing investigation into the nature and practice of industry analysts.
Pollock, Neil and Williams, Robin, "Constructing IT Markets: How Industry Analysis Organise Technological Fields" (2009). MCIS 2009 Proceedings. 41.