Today marks a milestone in the history of KuppingerCole, since today is the day we welcome the youngest member of our team. Did I say “young”? Sorry, wrong word. Of course he isn’t really the oldest – that’s still me. But he ain’t exactly no spring chicken, either.

I’m talking about Craig Burton, of course. Yes, that Craig Burton. The guy who founded The Burton Group. The same guy who almost single-handedly defined what it means to be an analyst in the Identity & Access Management workplace. The one of the leading lights in our industry, grayest of “eminence gris” in a field where graying temples and even manes of white are becoming increasingly common.

Craig left the company that still bears his name quite awhile before they were acquired by Gartner, and he has spent most of his time working as a private consultant, at the same time performing the heartrending duties of a son during the final years of terminally ill parents. He is now a free agent once again, and he is eager to explore the future of an IT industry that he sees as becoming increasingly identity-aware in ways that many of us still can’t really imagine. His first post on his new KuppingerCole blog is entitled “The Living Web” and explores how the “Internet of Things” will change our lives perhaps more profoundly than the original World Wide Web.

Both Martin Kuppinger and I are looking forward with great excitement to working with Craig who will take on the title of “Distinguished Analyst” within our group and act as a kind of point man in North America where he has close ties with almost everyone who has anything important to say within the Identity Community. He will assist us in our research efforts and lead analyst teams involved in creating reports and research notes on a wide range of subjects that will increasingly go beyond the traditional borders of Identity & Access Management to explore the evolution of corporate IT infrastructures as we head for the age of total connectivity and interaction.

Half a year ago, we at KuppingerCole made the decision to establish a beachhead on the North American continent, and when I moved to Boston in November, one of the first items on my “shopping list” was establishing a team of analysts on this side of the Atlantic to complement our network in Europe. Frankly, I didn’t even hope that I would be able to interest someone of Craig’s caliber, but then I though, Heck, why not give it a try? It meant a trip to cold and icy Salt Lake City (he tells me it’s beautiful in the summer; let’s see), a series of conference calls with my colleagues in Germany and enough emails to seriously impede bandwidth between the Old World and the New, but it was worth it!

Welcome, Craig. I hope you will enjoy being part of the team, just as I’m sure we will enjoy working with you for many years to come and sharing you wealth of insight both amongst ourselves and with our clients.