IDC and Reports by Schubmehl

July 25, 2014

I wanted to nail down a handful of facts.

First, IDC published without a contract four reports in 2012. These reports were disseminated via the IDC Web site, various communications, and via Amazon’s eCommerce site. These reports were:

  • Attivio 236514
  • Elasticsearch 237410
  • Lucid Imagination / Works 236086
  • Polyspot 236511

Each report was $3,500. One report about Attivio was sold on Amazon until July 17, 2014.





The “authors” of these IDC reports included:

  • Susan Feldman, a former IDC professional positioned as a “search expert”. Only Attivio.
  • David Schubmehl, a former OpenText and Janya (no longer in business) “professional” and heir to Ms Feldman as IDC’s search expert who has jumped from my Attivio information into a consulting relationship with that company founded by former Fast Search & Transfer executives. See this link. Dave Schubmehl’s name appears on each of the four published reports using information from my team and me.
  • Constance Ard, MLS, who was at this time the coordinator of my research projects
  • Dr. Tyra Oldham, one of the 2012 members of my research team
  • Stephen E Arnold, me. I have pointed to a biography on my Web site set up to promote the deal I had with IDC to publish an open source search monograph containing profiles of more than a dozen companies in 2012.

So what’s the big deal? Let me highlight the reason I will be taking a look at some of the IDC expertise in the future.

First, Ms. Feldman and I worked on projects that originated at Manning & Napier, then an investment services company. I was happy to cooperate with her when she joined IDC as the head of the IDC search practice. However, under circumstances I don’t understand, Ms. Feldman left IDC and the area of her responsibility was snagged by David Schubmehl. Without Ms. Feldman at IDC, I made numerous efforts to get a contract, get information about sales, find out where the 13 profiles provided by me and my team were at IDC, and, of course, get paid. Ms. Feldman made administrative procedures work. Mr. Schubmehl took a different approach from where I sat.

Second, Mr. Schubmehl made certain his name appeared on the reports published and sold by IDC without written permission from me to use my material or to stake a claim on the work. Furthermore, the source material we provided contained certain information that was in 2012 not widely known. Significant information about the companies we analyzed were not included in the IDC reports. As a result, the IDC reports using my material were not in line with my thinking. One example of Mr. Schubmehl’s thinking is this tweet:


According to LinkedIn, IDC’s analyst profile, and various biographies charting his work career, he is an expert in Enterprise Search, Text Analytics, Customer Relations, Consultancy, Document Management, Enterprise Content Management, Business Intelligence, Information Management, Intellectual Property, Litigation Support, Enterprise Software, SaaS, Product Management, Cloud Computing, Analytics, Go-to-market Strategy, Knowledge Management, Software Development, and Enterprise Architecture. This impressive list begs one simple question: “If one is so expert, why is it necessary to use without permission and payment the work of others?”

Third, my attorney sought information about sales and finally pressed IDC to stop selling reports with my name and David Schubmehl’s on them. One fix was for IDC to roll Lucid information into a separate report. IDC stopped selling the four reports identified above in early 2014. IDC continued to sell the Attivio report on Amazon until July 17, 2014. IDC is no longer selling reports with my name on them. This is a modest victory, but it leaves the question hanging, “What motivates a large and presumably well regarded consulting firm to trample over basic business procedures?” I don’t have an answer. I do believe IDC is perhaps not quite so confident of its “experts’” expertise, particularly with regard to search and content processing.

Net net: IDC used my name without my permission. IDC published my research material without issuing a contract for work for hire. IDC took possession of detailed, high value information and permitted that information to “inform” David Schubmehl to further his impact as a sales person and “expert” at IDC like Mr. Schubmehl, a “long suffering Buffalo Bills fan and reformed youth soccer referee.”

The next time you read an IDC report, please, consider these questions:

  1. Who is the “expert”? The contributors or the IDC person who piggybacks on the names of others with particular expertise?
  2. Is $3,500 for a rehash of other people’s work a wise use of scarce resources?
  3. Why does a large company fail to follow standard business practices such as issuing contracts, observing contracts, providing sales reports, and compensating those who actually performed original work?

Stephen E Arnold, July 25, 2014


One Response to “IDC and Reports by Schubmehl”

  1. The Cloud: Flecked with Scattered Twinkie-Like Information : Stephen E. Arnold @ Beyond Search on August 4th, 2014 8:28 am

    […] of the story pivot on three firms engaged in selling consulting services: Synergy, Gartner, and IDC. The facts of the article appear to come from the financial reports and other public statements of […]

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