Tuesday, November 25, 2003

A tale of two studies

Has anybody wondered how reliable so-called "independent research" is these days?

You may not have noticed, but there were many occasions where research on the same topic by different research firms yields different results. That is to be expected, one may argue, because of the differences in the research methodoloy adopted and the sampling size used. But what if the studies paint a contrasting picture given the same set of criteria?

Case in point: A recent report from Jupiter Research suggested that "integrated innovation" - the gradual integration of a vendor's disparate software products with each new upgrade - may result in companies paying significantly more in the long run. The report, which looked specifically at the new Microsoft Office System 2003, said companies may need to invest as much as 10-40% more to reap the productivity gains and cost savings afforded by the increased vertical integration between Microsoft's back-end and client software platforms.

Yet, another study by US-based Navigant Consulting has shown that information workers who use Microsoft Office System stand to gain an average of two more productive hours per week. Navigant's study also revealed that the median period in which businesses could expect to recoup their investment in Microsoft Office System was just eight months.

Amazing, isn't it? One could hardly be faulted for thinking that things will never be as contradictory as Kurosawa's Rashomon.

On a separate note, studies of Linux versus Windows are perhaps IT's biggest contradiction, with each claiming superiority in the lowest total cost of ownership stakes.

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