Yesterday we received the very sad news that our great friend and wonderful colleague Julie Giera passed away earlier this week. Although we were well aware of the fact that Julie had been battling breast cancer for several years, I still find it difficult to comprehend the news – in particular since we had lost another great analyst colleague – Andrew Parker – only a few months earlier.

Julie was one of the great stars and a leading voice of Giga Information Group – the analyst firm later to be acquired by Forrester in 2003. She was instrumental in establishing and extending the Giga brand and influence across a wide community of different stakeholders, including many CIOs as well as the senior executives of many tech vendors. She later continued that fame with Forrester where she quickly became a thought leader around the broader IT services market change issues. Julie was one of the founding members of the vendor strategy research team and many of the key reports that she authored over the last years are still relevant today and represent key highlights of our team’s research portfolio. A lot of her great research can still be viewed and downloaded online, so check out the following:

Adaptive Sourcing: Outsourcing's New Paradigm (together with Andrew Parker)

Are Barbarians At The Gates Of Outsourcing?

Services Providers: Are You Ready For The New IT Ecosystem?

Her passion for helping clients even in the most difficult scenarios clearly went above and beyond anything that could be expected from an analyst. For example, she would get on an airplane from the US to Europe within just a few hours after a desperate salesperson calling her in order to assist a UK-based customer in a most difficult outsourcing contract negotiation. She was referred to as the “top advisor” by many top executives within the IT services industry. Her influence and guidance clearly extended that of her peers and framed many of the portfolio structures and go-to-market strategies of the leading market players.

But most important for me was the mentorship and guidance she offered to her younger colleagues. Over ten years ago – I was still in the early stages of my own analyst career – she took me under her wings and I can say today that this was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me. With her intellectual background, her analytical capacity, and the strong dedication she always showed for her work and her clients, she was a shining example and an inspiration for junior folks like me. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to have been able to work with her and I will deeply miss her.

Here is how other Forresterites remember Julie…

  • From George Colony: “When I was negotiating the merger of Giga and Forrester, Bob Weiler, Giga’s CEO would often tell me: ‘George, there are many excellent people at Giga, and you should make sure they all stick around. And among the greats is Julie Giera – she will help you and the clients of Forrester in many, many ways. Give her a call right now and I guarantee she’ll help you make this merger a success.’ I did, and she did.”
  • From Gene Laganza: “At IT Forum (which was called “Gigaworld” back in the day) we published (internally) counts of who did the most one-on-ones. Julie ALWAYS had the most and typically had about twice as many as the next highest analyst. I don’t think anyone ever figured out how she managed to fit so many in. Julie’s performance was always over the top. If you looked at her schedule, it was always an impossible pile of commitments. But any time I spoke to a client who had dealt with Julie they always said she was the pleasantest, most intelligent and knowledgeable analyst they had spoken to in recent memory.”
  • From Mike Gilpin: “I was Julie’s manager for a time, and at Giga we had document delivery goals that were set on an annual basis, rather than quarterly. So I was growing increasingly concerned one year (I think it might have been 2002) when Julie was way behind on her delivery against the goal, which was to deliver twelve Planning Assumptions – similar to today’s “long docs” – by year end. As of September she had only delivered four, so far. Julie assured me “not to worry,” and so I was somewhat amazed when, sure enough, eight Planning Assumptions rolled in, in December. Quite an editing workload for me, and I went into that effort somewhat worried that the docs might not be up to Julie’s usual standards. But no! They were all excellent. They all represented a significant body of research work and some strong thought leadership. Wow.”
  • From Connie Moore: “Julie was an amazing trooper — always, always, always putting the client first. I remember one GigaWorld Europe (now IT Forum) where Julie persevered and overcame multiple obstacles – some combination of events like a migraine, a stolen/lost passport, and lost luggage — to arrive as scheduled, go onstage, look marvelous and deliver an awesome presentation that wowed the audience. That was Julie to a T.”
  • From Rhonda Peek: “I felt the need to call Larry Bissinger at EDS, so I did today. He said that Julie was a trusted advisor. The C-Suite of EDS always had an open door for Julie. The relationship was unlike any other from any analyst firm. They thought of Julie as a friend and a role model. Julie was my friend also. She would do things for my clients, and personally for me if I needed something. Julie helped me succeed with my clients. She opened doors for me that I could not have done on my own. She was there to listen to my business concerns and personal issues.”

If you would like to share your own memories or thoughts of Julie, please comment.