Scott Mark points to Burton Group’s new Identity Blog, and he’s right: it’s quite good (in the American, not the English sense of the phrase). Subscribed.

He goes on to praise their enterprise licensing. I agree. When my employer first took advantage of this licensing and gave us all accounts, I had two reactions. First, I was put off because the email from Burton announcing my account came out of the blue and I assumed it was spam. Bad form. Second, I wondered why the hell I would even want access in the first place. I had no idea who Burton Group were, and my impression of large analyst firms had been very negatively colored by experience with Forrester and Gartner (“writing” reports in PowerPoint? WTF?), neither of which I had direct access to but that seemed to have led to some sadly uninformed decisions.

I ignored the service completely until earlier this year, when I felt suddenly compelled to learn everything I could about digital identity and read everything I could get from Burton Group. (If you ever explore identity management, you need to read a lot, because none of it makes sense until you’ve read it all.)

Now I read almost everything they publish. Why? Eric Sink makes a distinction between developer and programmer that I find useful. A programmer specializes in writing code, but a developer gets involved in many ways in developing software. I am not just a code monkey. As much as I live writing code, not only would focusing on that to the exclusion of all else be bad for my career, it would be boring. Instead I find myself contributing in a number of ways to any project I touch. I need and want to understand the business behind what we’re doing, the big picture behind the technology I work with, the industry trends that are informing decisions being made at the top. Burton Group’s papers generally drill down into a reasonable level of detail, so I don’t feel like I’m just getting the highlights.

The benefit to my employer should be obvious.

So to whoever set up this access: thank you.

It’s also good to see Burton Group doing more blogging. The CEO has a blog on the site, which is interesting enough, but until the Identity Blog, that was it. You have to dig on your own to find their analysts’ blogs (e.g. Mike Gotta’s), which are hosted elsewhere. Too bad. Despite the strength of the white papers and the research behind them, I’m still probably influenced more on a day to day basis by analysts’ blogs.

This is where, without adequate transition, I point to RedMonk, whose work I follow a bit too closely for my own good.