In today's increasingly connected world, more and more people are beginning to realize that its no longer intelligent/profitable/feasible to remain closed off from the rest of the world. As the pace of life speeds towards levels unimaginable, just 30 years ago, and larger groups of people find it harder to stay in touch, technology is becoming a key enabler of communication. Its close cousin collaboration, is also becoming more valued in the business world as the ability to tap into information across geographic boundaries is easier than ever (assuming access to technology).
Likewise, it should be of no surprise that industry analysts have shaken off the mantra of closed shop for one that encourages exchange and sharing. The area where this is most readily demonstrated is cooperation within the analyst community, where it has become easier to share what you think, observe and know, all using the Internet.
However, the next step involves making sure those outside the community feel comfortable establishing the type of open dialogue that is driving progress within the community walls. This is already being done within already established customer/client interactions, where analysts strive to be as open and direct as possible, something that is beneficial for both parties.
On the other hand, as James McGovern recently noted, there are quite a few 'customer types' who desire more bi-directional exchange with analysts. Open interaction with this group is not only good in the sense that open is always better but is also good for the business of industry analysts. Exchange without financial impetus establishes relationships that are critical for building trust, which more importantly will help repair some of the damage done (some deserved, some unwarranted) to analyst community's reputation.
When it becomes easier to connect with analysts, we'll become more human and less unknown. Towards this end steps are being taken, look around the blogosphere and you'll witness an explosion of analysts who are willing to make themselves available to the general public. Personally, I found James Governor's email address not hidden in some industry insider publication but right on his blog, linked directly from RedMonk's website. That's about as open as it gets right there. Of course I try to do the same thing at Entiva and there are countless others who have already done so and many more who will continue to do so.
In order to continue the process of making Entiva analysts (including myself) available to any interested parties, we'll be providing a forum dedicated to helping anyone who wants to find answers to questions, exchange ideas and get information about open source software. The forum will be hosted off www.entivagroup.com/.net and will be free of charge and open. A small drop in comparison to the sea of things available on the Internet, but one that we hope contributes something along the way. I'll keep this blog updated with details when the forum is ready to go.