The value Freeform Dynamics delivers stems from a combination of principles, approaches and techniques that we apply as we go about our work:
Objectivity is fundamental to the Freeform Dynamics culture. We are not content with simply putting out interesting facts or observations, or speculating on ideals or blue-sky futures. Our aim is to make a difference, and this can only be achieved if our output is balanced, real-world and purposeful. This means you should be able to read something we have written or hear something we have said and act upon it in the context of your environment in a relatively short timeframe.
The world of enterprise IT and business people does not revolve around technology categories – it's about solving problems, exploiting opportunities, driving value and minimising risk, and our intention is to help with that. At Freeform Dynamics, we therefore focus on IT imperatives - the things every IT department and business needs to have a continuous eye on - and industry inflexion points - the big developments that lead to step changes in capability and significant shifts in the way things are done.
The real world is complex and full of viewpoints, opinions and agendas that are often conflicting. In order to deliver practical insights and advice, we therefore cast our net widely in terms of inputs and take a holistic approach to analysis. Information is blended from multiple constituencies – business people, IT executives, architects, developers, operations staff, etc – using different methodologies – including face to face discussion, telephone based research, online surveys, and social/community interaction. And, of course, we invest time engaging with the IT vendor and service provider community through frequent briefings and ongoing executive dialogue to make sure we are in tune with their strategic plans, current offerings and solution roadmaps. By continuously gathering, challenging, corroborating and analysing different inputs, we maintain an accurate and balanced view of what's going on.
There's no shortage of observational and tracker-style research out there, which is fine for those who need a retrospective view of the industry. There's also an abundance of PR motivated survey data, whose only purpose is to stimulate column inches of press coverage. The Freeform Dynamics approach to primary research is different. It's designed to get under the skin of why people make certain decisions and outcomes that result. Using this, we are able to model the likely impact of different types of investments and actions in different situations, which in turn provides the basis for contextual insights and guidance which is more meaningful the than generic 'one size fits all' style of advice. The approach is predicated on study design by analysts with sound understanding of the domain being researched and associated context, which is why our work is so different to market research agencies and those researching from a narrow silo-based perspective.
The aim of the Freeform Dynamics' founders when they started the company was to provide quality research, advice and guidance to a broad audience – not just those who can afford the services of big analyst firms. The Community Research Programme was created as a foundation for this. It is based on encouraging vendors to sponsor research studies aimed at raising awareness of emerging ideas, technologies and best practices in an objective and non-partisan manner (with all of the necessary safeguards to avoid undue sponsor influence). This has allowed us to create a substantial library of free-to-view advisory material, the quality of which speaks for itself. Furthermore, through our own subscription model and a range of press partnerships, we promote and deliver content not just broadly, but in a range of different formats, from structured reports and papers, features and punchy web articles, to interactive and social media.
Over-arching all of the above is the Freeform spirit. Our people are passionate about the role of technology in driving business value, but realistic about the practicalities involved. This means you'll often see us promoting best practice and objective, informed decision making, but pushing back against market hype, idealistic claims, supposed 'magic bullets', narrow one-dimensional viewpoints and evangelism in general. For us, it's about connecting with people on a peer-to-peer basis and helping them make sense of this crazy and fast moving industry in which we work.
By Dale Vile
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