Gartner Inc. has been recognized as an IT brain trust for many years now. In addition to its consultative activities, Gartner specializes in providing subject matter experts on just about anything relevant to IT. Got a question about storage area networks (SANs)? Visit the Gartner site as an ordinary, non-paying visitor, and you ' l l get quite a bit of information. Pay to join a Gartner membership, and you ' l l not only be privy to the extensive amount of

Gartner information on their website, but you' l l also be able to set up conference calls with Gartner SMEs on the topic you ' re interested in.

I' ve used Gartner ' s conference calls for portal and SAN questions and have been very happy with the response I ' ve gotten. I' ve also pulled up the documents pertaining to these subjects—essentially a rehash of what I found out during the call.

If you search Gartner' s site using the "project management" search string, you' l l get some very enticing hits, but you' l l have to buy each download. If you work for a corporation, some investigation on your part might turn up the fact that you already own a Gartner subscription and you can get a logon in order to avoid paying for the documents.

Here' s my take on Gartner: They' re not always right, so take what they say with a grain of salt. Just because a person sets himself up as an SME does not necessarily mean he' s really an SME—he may only play one on TV, if you get my drift. If you ' re researching new IT technologies, I would certainly pay a visit to Gartner. But I would not let Gartner be my first and final authority on any IT subject.

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