I raised this question in LinkedIn and have re-opened the question.
Here's this blogger talking about Gartner and what they really do:
There are themes at Gartner and its competitors -- ideas that are presented on an almost seasonal basis like adding fins to change a 1956 Chrysler New Yorker into a 1957 Chrysler New Yorker. Two such themes that are popular with such consultants right now are offshoring/outsourcing and getting rid of legacy applications to gain agility, whatever that is.
I've written columns and columns about offshoring and outsourcing and the success of both policies is decidedly mixed, unless perhaps you are outsourcing down the street and offshoring Lake Michigan.
Outsourcing, while a very popular recommendation to improve IT, is treating the symptom and not the problem. The problem is IT applications require lots of ongoing maintenance and that costs labor, meaning REAL MONEY. Rather than make applications more reliable and reduce problems, IT managers seem to prefer shopping for cheaper labor. The problems are still there. It is cheaper to fix them with offshoring and outsourcing, true, but it often takes longer. If the end users -- the people who actually make MONEY for the company (IT doesn't, Lord knows) -- are unable to work from time to time, this is okay because IT is spending less money.
Much of this comes down to the decided lack of professionalism in IT, which is after all a very new job classification. There is a huge difference, for example, between someone with an engineering degree and someone in IT who calls himself an engineer. Real engineers are often valued employees. Their opinions matter and they have real responsibilities. Good companies know engineers are important to their business and treat them accordingly. But IT workers are a commodity and are treated as such. Many IT workers are clueless about the technologies they are working with. They aspire to be project managers and are often not very good at that either.
Into this knowledge vacuum come the vendors, who want to sell stuff, and the consultants like Gartner, Forrester, IDC, and the Yankee Group, who need IT managers to feel uncertain about every decision except the decision to buy something, anything. Then look at the number of "research reports" that are commissioned by vendors. Uh-oh.
Bottom line is when you are looking for "advice" in today's economy, you'd rather talk to 20 people on the street than one in the tower.
Updated: I will soon talk about the "Refresh Age" we are in and ponder about the new ways to look at that proverbial glassball!