Analyst of the year

To take part in the ‘analyst of the year’ survey – click here

IIAR Analyst of the Year Last year, the IIAR ran a survey to identify who AR practitioners believe should win the award of ‘analyst of the year’ and ‘analyst firm of the year’. I am pleased to say that today, we are now launching the survey once again and hope that you can all take part.

This is your chance to vote for the analyst or firm who you believe deserves more recognition. All too often we only speak about analysts when we want something, but this survey gives you the opportunity to explain what criteria makes an analyst important and who you consider to be world-leaders for their segment.

The previous analyst of the year was Ray Wang, Principal Analyst with Forrester Research, Inc. Respondents praised his insight, depth of industry knowledge, and independent voice. Runners up for the title were David Mitchell of Ovum and James Governor of RedMonk. Ray was also named Analyst of the Year for the Americas, while David Mitchell of Ovum was voted the EMEA Analyst of the Year.

With respect to individual firms, Forrester was highly regarded by respondents in all regions, and was voted the Analyst Firm of the Year. It was commended for the strength of its analyst team, the quality of its client services and its ability to spot new trends. Gartner and IDC came second and third, respectively. Not only did the traditional global analyst firms perform well in the survey, but the smaller, boutique consultancies also scored highly. Freeform Dynamics and MWD came in the top five in EMEA with RedMonk in the top three in the Americas, and a number of other firms also received honourable mentions. Respondents liked their honesty, ability to innovate, the quality of their research and use of new media channels.

To see a copy of last year’s survey results click here for summary post or here for download.

For your benefit I have listed below a brief summary of the methodology used.

Methodology

1) Entrants:

This survey is open to anyone who works in analyst relations in any country, either in-house or at an agency/consultancy. In order for someone’s entry to be valid, you will need to submit your email address and company name to verify you are not an impostor trying to distort the results. (This happened last year from a global firm!!). The personal information will not be distributed or used beyond sending copies of the results to all participant. The survey will be open until the end of May. IP addresses will be taken to ensure that someone does not vote twice.

2) Questions:

The survey specifically focuses on an individual’s perception of the analyst world in 2008. Respondents are able to select from a pre-populated list of 501 firms which company they believe are the most important and relevant for a list of multiple segment areas.

3) Segmentation:

Respondents are able to specify their submissions based upon geography (US, EMEA, AsiaPac, Global), segment (Hardware, Software, Services, Communications and Networking, Green IT/Sustainability, Developer/IT Department) and customer-base (Enterprise, SMB and Consumer). Based upon these criteria further analysis could be made of the results to identify specific regional or segment champions.

If you have any questions or comments about this survey please contact either myself or Hannah Kirkman.

To take part in the ‘analyst of the year’ survey – click here

IIAR publishes Best Practice Paper on Managing the Gartner MQ

Today the IIAR published my Best Practice Paper titled: “Managing the Gartner Magic Quadrant: a tool for analyst relations managers.”  The paper is free for all IIAR members and can be found in the Library section of the IIAR extranet.  In it, I discuss and give recommendations on the key stages of the Magic Quadrant and how to ensure you and your team are as prepared as you can be when the process begins; how to build internal support and manage expectations with your stakeholders; building the relationship with the relevant Gartner analyst; and providing customer references.

After I agreed to write an IIAR whitepaper about managing the Gartner MQ process I soon discovered that everyone has an opinion, in many cases an emotional one. In addition, I realised that the paper needed a focus or otherwise it could have easily been turned into a book. I will admit that I was selfish, that what guided me through the research and writing process was the question: what would have helped me in past situations working with the senior management at vendors? In the end, I aimed to create a pragmatic and useable document with sections that can be cut and pasted.

There’s so many people to thank for providing their insights and time. Moving forward I would like to keep writing about topics related to the MQs. I would welcome your comments, suggestions and stories (even under NDA).  I would also be happy to share an abstract of the paper. The best way to reach me is by email: egyurko thatatsign analystrelations dot org.

Related post: Gartner engages in debates on their blog

MQs, accreditation and a debate on IT services – all in the same evening

Those of us fortunate enough to be able to attend* yesterday’s IIAR Forum enjoyed a treat.

Ed Gyurko presented the latest IIAR whitepaper on Magic Quadrant submissions (available from Monday, free of charge to members).  It will prove immensely useful to those who have to work on the seminal Gartner reports.

Following Ed was David Taylor who spoke about the IIAR’s plans for AR accreditation. These are really starting to take shape. David and the group he’s been working with deserve a lot of thanks for their hard work to date.   There’s more that still needs to be done – but it’s definitely getting there and that’s very exciting.

And then we had the third highlight of the meeting – a spirited and informative debate with analysts from three firms that are focused on the IT services market:  Kate Hanaghan of Bathwick, John Willmott from NelsonHall and Puni Rajah of TechMarketView (who was joined by her colleague Anthony Miller).

There are some clear differences between the three firms but all three are in agreement: relationships with clients are the key for success in the next 12 months.  There was also consensus that good analyst firms would survive but there would be casualties among those unable to demonstrate the value they deliver.

While all three acknowledged the difficulties of doing business in the current market, TechMarketView was very upbeat about the future.  Puni and Anthony are predicting that the overall analyst market will grow in size over the next year (and as a result, there will be more demand for AR people).  It will be nice if those predictions come true.

There was plenty more discussion and our hour was quickly over. If you couldn’t make it, then I’m sorry. You did miss a really good meeting.

Finally, thanks to our analyst speakers for coming along and taking part in an absolutely fascinating debate.

Also a big thank you to Robert De Souza who chaired the analyst discussion, Laura Woodward who hosted the meeting and Hannah Kirkman, the IIAR secretary for bring it all together.

* Attendees came from a wide range of companies including Accenture, BT, Capgemini, Cisco, CSC, CustomerClix, Edelman, HCL, Hill & Knowlton, Logicalis, Nortel, Oracle, Prasada, Richmond Green, Sunesis, Weber Shandwick and Zeus.

Around Richard Mahony from Ovum in 10 questions

Richard Mahony

Today, in our continuing series of analyst interviews, we have the pleasure of welcoming Richard Mahony, Enterprise practice leader with Ovum.

1. What are your coverage areas?
I manage Ovum’s enterprise communications services practice. We focus on the fixed and mobile managed services market for enterprises and SMEs. We also provide sourcing and commercial mediation services to MNCs.

2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
The industry will need to continue moving beyond compiling market information and selling it on at premium price. The days of attending a supplier briefing and simply writing it up are over for Ovum. Carter’s point (http://iiar.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/dont-forget-analysts-have-a-unique-vantage-point/) about the analyst vantage point is on the mark for me – analyst houses that successfully combine their supplier and end user perspectives will be successful.

3. What’s your typical day like?
I
reply to the overnight e-mails first thing , respond to a handful of client enquiries in the early morning and typically have some content-related management to do such as planning or review reports with the team. We’ve normally got a project on the go so the remaining 50% of the day or so will be either working on fee earning assignments or writing content for the service. I look to limit my briefings to one or two a week – we increasingly have to be smarter about which briefings to attend.

4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
A few years back I attended a briefing where the supplier AR team guiding us through an open plan office on our way to the meeting room unintentionally walked us past marketing collateral mock ups for a new business which had not been announced. Personally, I once duly complied with an invitation to attend an analyst event in ‘business casual attire’ in my freshly pressed Chinos and my preppy shirt and jumper, only to find when I got to the event that everyone else had turned up in suits and ties. There’s a very funny photo of me in the auditorium with a back-drop of be-suited professionals behind me.

5. How do you position your firm? What is your business model? (where are your revenues coming from, mix between users and vendors?)
We are increasingly working with enterprise users – for the practice, this is the fastest growing area of our business. We position the firm as having great depth in data, combined with leading market research methodologies and practical advisory experience with end users which provides us with a real-world perspective. Since the acquisition of Ovum by Datamonitor, the depth of Ovum’s data has further improved and having access to industry experts in financial services, automotive, retail and healthcare has helped the whole enterprise services team. Reading some of the blogs, AR firms seem to have the notion that DM has somehow diminished the Ovum value. This is the polar opposite to my experience – we are in my view a stronger organization as a result of the acquisition… I’ve also had my research budget doubled, so my job is easier too!

6. What is your research methodology, in 255 characters or less?  (primary research, F2F or phone, secondary only, etc…)

Wherever possible we look to experience what we write about. It’s far easier to write incisively about an industry issue or supplier strategic intent having practical insight to share. However, we also turn to the usual research tools, including face to face briefings, telephone and online qualitative and quantitative research methods. I heavily rely on face to face meetings as I am all about personal contact and developing trusting two-way relationships between supplier and analyst. Such relationships are beneficial for both parties and the AR community is central in brokering this kind of interaction.

7. Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? Any why?
I would highlight Sally Elliott of BT Global Services who provides Ovum with excellent support and finds the time to connect us with the right people in her organization. She also has a firm grasp of BT’s business and positions her business heroically well. I am always impressed by the Cisco AR programme and would highlight David Taylor’s team at Cisco – I always come out of Cisco events with a new idea which I can build on and will therefore seek out their briefings. I am also seeing good things from the growing Telefonica team.

8. Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve atttended.
The best event I’ve been to recently was the Cable and Wireless AR day run by David Thain. The format was relatively simple (but difficult to achieve) – which was a positioning of the business by CEO and key executives followed by open discussion with some of their largest enterprise customers. The frankness of the customer interaction was refreshing and as a result it is the stand-out event for me.

9. What are your offerings and key deliverables?
For Enterprise research we have a schedule of reports lined up this year on fixed and mobile global managed services providers and their markets; major new reports on unified communications offerings from telecoms service providers and systems integrators; surveys on multinational end-users and their global service requirements through an exclusive deal with the EVUA. We’re also expanding our annual survey of SMEs worldwide, taking in more countries. And because this market is changing and getting ever more demanding, we’ve got some new products in the pipeline—like our managed scorecard for service providers- that will tie all of our analysis together. We’ve got a pipeline of consulting engagement with enterprise clients and telecoms operators that is growing and we like to think that is a response to our research outputs last year on how to manage network services and budgets through the current economic conditions. These projects also help inform our understanding of today’s market conditions.

10. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
I enjoy running and garner the strength to do a half marathon once a year. I also suffer the joys of being a Bristol City football supporter.

11. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
My biggest challenge is to continue to differentiate what we do in the practice – there’s plenty of choice in the market and some good competition. Standing out from the crowd and articulating the team’s difference and value to our clients is therefore key. Any ideas how we can improve here from what you’ve seen from Ovum, give me a call. In the next 30 minutes, I will be defining some inter-company peering SLAs for a UC managed service. A very dry topic for most I am sure, but in my view will be increasingly important to many suppliers and enterprises as they deploy integrated communications.

12. Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work  you rate highly?
Chris Lewis of IDC – although I am not really entering into the spirit of the question, as he’s my former boss and showed me the ropes of the analyst business. Chris has a great way of reaching the crux of the issue quickly and succinctly articulating his thoughts. Within Ovum, I think you will be hard pushed to find an analyst from any house more in touch with the UC market than Peter Hall. Eammon Kennedy has also done great things to improve our IT services business.

Don’t forget analysts have a unique vantage point

Carter usefully reminds us, via a post from Jeremiah Omywang, that analysts can do their jobs (provide detailed analysis on market trends and ICT vendor strategies) because they have gained over time un-matched access to leaders at ICT vendors:

Access to those with access – One reason why end users buy analyst advisory subscriptions « SageCircle Blog

Analysts providing advisory services to end users also bring into the mix the ability to cross-reference those sources with end-user input gained through their conversations.

Analysts are often “wicked smart” and sometimes excentric, so when it combines with that level of access on both sides of the marketplace, it always makes up for interesting conversations. That’s one of the reasons why, after all those years, I still find AR exciting and never dull!

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IIAR launches on Plaxo Groups

There’s a new resource for IIAR members only: http://iiar.plaxogroups.com. Ludovic Leforestier and Hannah Kirkman are running the new group, which brings together analyst relations professionals on one of the most widely used online networking site.

The Plaxo group has three main advantages. First, it’s an easy way to stay in touch with this blog: postings here also appear on your Plaxo Pulse. Second, the group allows moderated discussion: unlike some LinkedIn groups, you’ll know that items posted to members of the IIAR group will always be relevant and on-point. Third, because Plaxo has the most up-to-date contact details for most professonals, it’s the best way to stay in touch with people in a fast-changing market.

IIAR members are encouraged to come over and join us; non-members should sign up not to share the fun.

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