The financial services industry has reached something of a breaking point with accounting and insider trading scandals. Shortly after major media sources started commenting on the loss of confidence in corporate America, the July 30, 2002 New York Times led with the headline "Merrill Replaced Research Analyst Who Upset Enron." What are we to think when a firm providing objective advice to one set of customers replaces an analyst critical of another customer while the analyst's firm is soliciting lucrative business from the criticized customer? It is hard to imagine this kind of debacle in the IT industry, but we have our own potential for conflicts of interest.

Here are some things you can do to assess the objectivity of the advice you are getting from analysts, consultants and others in the IT industry.

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