Over the past six to nine months, Gartner has brought about a huge change in process in their customer insights and reference programme and renamed it Gartner's Peer Insights.

The 'due diligence' process they have adopted is intended to replace the old process of Gartner Research analysts having to chase (and chase. And CHASE!) the customers of those companies that were undergoing review in the Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ), Critical Capabilities, or any Vendor Rating or comparison process Gartner builds out.

Fundamentally, what's changed? Gartner's PeerInsights ultimately aims to subvert the old convention of conducting telephone- or email-based interviews on a IT or service provider's customer and technical expertise.

When I attended a recent IIAR professional forum on the topic in December 2016, the question many AR Pro's were posing was - is this a (virtual) dumbing-down of customer insight and reviews? How will they ensure it is free from tampered reviews and free of vendor influence (something the old process conducted behind closed doors, was hard to disprove)? And is it ultimately now making the customer reviews process at Gartner a bit like TripAdvisor for IT Services? The response from many in the IT community has been mute at first, but a mixed response from many seems to be the prevailing mood.

Time will tell how much buy-in the infrastructure and IT services community will push back on their Gartner counterparts to improve the PeerInsights overall review process. 

I suppose the optimist's view must be that moving to a more open and transparent system of reviewing customer software and IT goes some way to dispersing with the idea that Gartner is a closed-door ivory tower accessible only to a privileged few IT players (read: biggest) the world over. 

A quote from the parent company itself may sum it up best:

Tap into the collective knowledge and experience of IT professionals just like you. Free of vendor influence, Gartner Peer Insights offers detailed perspectives for every phase of the IT lifecycle - from evaluation and implementation to service and support.

Time will only tell, is my guess.