Gartner acquisition of Burton Group

I was emailing a couple of people involved in this, and unsurprisingly they said that the phrase “living in interesting times” was getting a real work-out in their office today.

As it happens, over the last 14 months I have worked with some of the identity management specialists from both firms; late in 2008 I was invited to run a Privacy Summit on the eve of the Gartner IAM symposium in Orlando (as far as I know, the first time a third party had been asked to do something like that). Then, last summer, I had the opportunity to speak at Burton Catalyst in San Diego – which obviously also involved some detailed discussions with the identity team there.

Having attended both events, and had a level of contact with some of the analysts in each case, here’s my forecast for the merger of the two: handled right, it could deliver some really compelling synergy. Again, this is based solely on my partial contact with the two firms, but my superficial and subjective assessment is that the Gartner IDM team are strong on the “implementation and governance” stages of the IDM lifecycle, while the Burton team – while by no means ignoring that phase – really shine in the conceptual and system design phase.

Of course there’s overlap, and of course there are differences of perspective and differences of opinion… for instance, there are some interesting internal meetings ahead as Bob Blakley and Andrea DiMaio get together to thrash out the corporate line on online privacy ;^)

But that, of course, is also where some of the best conceptual work comes from. If the merger of the two teams leads to better insights into how to progress from concept, through implementation to governance, we all win…

Here’s hoping that’s how it plays out.