Why Mickey North Rizza can’t go home again . . . or can she?

Posted on June 21, 2013

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On my way to writing Part 2 of yesterday’s post in which I wrote about Jason Busch’s proclamation that he is moving on in terms of his “thinking,” I was posed with an interesting question.

If after spending years with a vendor, a journalist/analyst may not necessarily possess the required objectivity in terms of effectively covering the market, what are my thoughts if this scenario is reversed.  Specifically, what if a former journalist/analyst takes a position with a vendor?  Does this draw into question the validity of their assessment of the market in the years prior to their joining their new company?

Interesting thought, especially given the fact that one would not be unreasonable in assuming that there was at least indirectly a prior relationship that ultimately paved the way for the present position.

Let’s look at Mickey North Rizza as an example.

Click here to listen to my June 2009 interview with North Rizza

Click here to listen to my June 2009 interview with North Rizza

In the June 1st, 2012 Supply & Demand Chain article Former Gartner Analyst Joins BravoSolution, it was reported that North Rizza had joined the company as Vice President of Strategic Services.

According to the article, North Rizza will leverage her practitioner heritage and deep domain knowledge to help BravoSolution’s customers accelerate sourcing and procurement performance.

What is most interesting is that with this move it appears that North Rizza has come full circle.  Prior to her joining AMR Research, which was purchased by Gartner in 2009 for $64 million, North Rizza held the position of Vice President of Supply Base Management at Modus Link.  That’s right, a vendor.

This means that the cross pollination factor that has stirred up so much controversy of late within the realms of the public sector has been at work in the career of North Rizza as well as other countless journalists/analysts.  While it would be erroneous to presume that all such incestuous ties between analyst firms and the vendor market they are purported to be covering objectively is suspect, one cannot help but wonder what impact this has had on the evolution of the market itself.

After all, and as referenced in my March 20th 2009 post Riding the Crest of a New Wave: How the Original SaaS Companies Have Gained the Upper Hand, why did the journalists/analysts fail to respond in any meaningful way to a 2000 white paper by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), which predicted the demise of packaged desktop and enterprise applications?  I mean I can understand why Larry Ellison would for all these years have poo-pooed the notion of web-based, on-demand applications.  But why did the journalists and analysts remain silent?

One can only wonder if objectivity had been shaded or muted by the oligarchical nature of industry relationships that until recently has kept the value of the on-demand, web-based world locked-up in a Pandora’s box of mutual, self-serving interest.  Or to put it another way, the evolutionary transformation of the industry today would have likely occurred at least 5 to 10 years earlier had the comfortable fox watching the hen house rapport between vendor and journalist/analyst not existed.

In fact I believe that had the market been allowed to develop the way it was supposed outside of the bipartisan sentiment that governed industry coverage, it would have likely saved end-user clients hundreds of millions of dollars.

How you might ask?

Think of all the failed eProcurement initiatives in both the public and private sectors, and the exorbitant costs associated with the licensing, maintenance and consulting fees that were paid largely up front.  How could any mainstream journalist/analyst covering the industry during this period claim that they did a good job when so many initiatives failed to achieve the expected results.  Especially since the decision to move forward with the ill-conceived projects were based largely on their coverage and recommendations.

Once again let’s consider the North Rizza appointment to the position of Vice President of Strategic Services at BravoSolution.  While I found her to be highly credible during our interview on my radio show, one can only wonder what creditability she would possess outside of the Usual Suspects in terms of influencing anyone’s decision to go with that organization’s solutions?  This is based primarily on the fact that there is an ever growing cynicism in the industry towards journalists/analysts from her period.  You simply have to note the responses to my January 7th, 2011 post Madison Avenue ooops . . . make that Gartner, names Oracle as a leader in supply chain planning to see that the old guard’s views are taken with more than a grain of salt by today’s procurement professionals.

Call it guilt by association but, I doubt that the burgeoning number of young and savvy up and coming procurement professionals will harbor the same inclinations of fealty towards the affiliations that marked and marred the industry’s delayed development over the past 10 to 20 years.

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Posted in: Commentary