Analyst of the year (Part 2)

Honesty, integrity, knowledge, curiosity, insight, passion, respect and influence

These characteristics were repeatedly highlighted when AR Pro’s were asked to identify the analyst house and individual who they wanted to recognise as being the best in the industry. This second post in the “analyst of the year” series aims to highlight individuals and firms who are seen as the best in the industry regardless of their speciality sector. See here for the first post.

At a time when vendors are having to evaluate carefully where they should invest their limited funds, it is refreshing to see best-of-class analysts receiving recognition for the value they deliver. Now, more than ever before, analysts have to prove their tangible worth and those that provide independence, integrity, flexibility and deep industry knowledge of their specific areas are being recognised as true partners for vendors and IT buyers.

Without further ado, here are the results:

Global Analyst of the Year

1st Ray Wang, Forrester
2nd Jon Collins, Freeform Dynamics
3rd David Mitchell, Ovum
4th James Governor, RedMonk
5th Steve Blood, Gartner

This is an incredible coup for Ray having been named the analyst of the year in 2008. Some people have argued whether his influence will diminish now that he has left Forrester but in my opinion, when we get to the cream of the analysts, companies seeking to work with analyst houses tend to invest in the individual rather than the firm they work for. Ray has of course now left Forrester and joined Charlene Li as a Partner at Altimeter Group looking at bridging today’s world of enterprise apps with the E2.0 world of connected business platforms. Commenting on this award, he explained:

It’s a great honor to be recognized by the IIAR, especially in a year where clients challenge analysts to provide more actionable and personalized advice.   As we rely more on social media tools to improve client delivery and outreach, I’m often reminded not to forget the other part of the equation – building strong relationships.  In fact the best AR pro’s I work with master the art of fostering strong relationships and understand that art often trumps science when dealing with people.

I mentioned this last point in the previous post but believe it is worth reiterating as to why so many European analysts tend to feature so well. At first analysis, I was immediately concerned over the relatively high number of awards that have gone to EMEA-based analysts and firms thinking that this was due to the physical location of the voters.

However, 72% of all respondents were based in the US or Canada.

My personal view is that whereas a great deal of syndicated research tends to get created and published from the US, the European analysts have to rely on their revenue stream coming from their local market knowledge, deep messaging insights and customer focus. To put it bluntly, they need to prove value otherwise they will be out of a job. This point may well be the most contentious and I am happy to discuss this point further.

 

Global Analyst House of the Year

1st Gartner
2nd Forrester
3rd IDC
4th Ovum
5th AMR

This year has seen the larger, global firms dominate the awards when it comes to sector importance. It is of little surprise therefore that when it came to picking an individual firm who represented the highest value, Gartner came top. Their success should not be underestimated. In a time when many firms are cutting back on their analyst expenditure, the fact that the Gartner remains so highly recommended (even though they are far from cheap) is tantamount to the calibre of people they have working for them as well as their relevance and influence they bring to the table. Peter Sondergaard, SVP & Global Head of Research, Gartner was delighted at Gartner’s recognition and explained:

We really value this feedback from the analyst relations community as we are fully committed to constantly improving the quality of our products and the service we provide to all our clients worldwide.

I am especially pleased to see that Ovum and AMR can be recognised after they both missed winning ‘importance’ awards by sector by coming in fourth place. As an aside, and similar the UK premier league, it is always refreshing and healthy for there to be a highly competitive market where the larger firms cannot rest on their laurels and must continue to innovate or be overtaken by the competition.

EMEA Analyst of the Year

1st Jon Collins, Freeform Dynamics
2nd David Mitchell, Ovum
3rd James Governor, RedMonk
4th Steve Blood, Gartner
5th Neil Rickard, Gartner

It has been a great year in Europe for boutiques. These firms, more than any, have had to challenge traditional analyst business models and the boundaries in which they operate such that the art of defining what an analyst is and does has had to change. Nevertheless, a few firms with considerably fewer analysts have seen their share of voice rise disproportionately – within the market they are recognised by AR Pros as being able to contribute a level of service that is exemplary. Jon Collins, who has recently taken over the role as MD at Freeform Dynamics explained upon receiving his award:

I’m delighted to be called out, I see this as a vote of confidence not just for me but the whole Freeform Dynamics team, not to mention its collaborative philosophy and approach, which keeps us all grounded in the real world of mainstream IT usage and makes this job such a pleasure to do.

 

EMEA Analyst House of the Year

1st Gartner
2nd Freeform Dynamics
3rd Forrester
4th RedMonk
5th Quocirca

Gartner once again steal the show. With a solid presence of industry experts, they are recognised as being the best in the region. However, a significant number of ‘boutiques’ also make the top 5 – edging out likely candidates such as IDC and Ovum. In the previous post I explained that it is of little surprise that firms are cutting back and focusing on the analyst houses that have the greatest global reach. However, it is somewhat refreshing that other houses have managed to carve out their own niches – notably: Verdantix and Quocirca in the green IT space and RedMonk and MWD in the developer/ IT Pro sector. It is in these smaller, areas where ‘boutique’ firms have managed to push their own USP and become sector leaders.

 

Comparing important analysts and ‘analyst of the year’

it’s quite an interesting dichotomy between the analysts who were voted as most important by their coverage areas (as it highlights perceived expertise) compared to the analyst of the year overall ranking. The characteristics that stand-out amongst this crowd are difficult to combine but necessary to be a good analyst:

  • Social/Relationship (ease to deal with)
  • Domain Expertise
  • Influence/Presentation skills

 

Final thoughts

My congratulations go to all the firms and individuals who have been recognised with awards. The third and final post to be published in a couple of weeks will look at which firms provide the greatest offering for bespoke research, consulting/inquiry and reports. It will also identify which firms have increased in relevance the most over the past year and the key reasons why people tend to work with analysts in the first place.

As I complete this second post, a statement that Vinnie Mirchandani made to me when I was discussing the definition of an industry analyst sticks to my mind:

“analysts” are just a small subset of a 1000 points of influence

Regardless of the debate regarding ‘who is an analyst?’ – a clear point remains. We work in a time where those that can influence buying decisions are in high demand. If analysts wish to remain a significant player within this, they must continue to offer the level of service and value that the firms and individuals who have been recognised by the IIAR in these awards provide.

 

Methodology

1) Entrants:

This survey was 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 validated, they had to submit their email address and company name to verify they not an impostor trying to distort the results. This personal information will not be distributed or used beyond sending copies of the results to all participant. The survey was open for specific period of time and IP addresses were taken to ensure that someone could not vote twice. A total of 137 AR Pros completed this survey.

2) Questions:

The survey specifically focused on an individual’s perception of the analyst world. A full list of every analyst house was made available for respondents to select their preference.

3) Segmentation:

Respondents were asked to specify their submissions based upon geography and segment. 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 me (@jonnybentwood)

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3 Responses

  1. [...] Reg has bagged European Analyst of the Year, Freeform Dynamics’ Jon Collins, to drive the keynote presentation for The Register’s Agile [...]

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  2. [...] Reg has bagged European Analyst of the Year, Freeform Dynamics’ Jon Collins, to drive the keynote presentation for The Register’s Agile [...]

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  3. [...] of weeks ago, Freeform Dynamics and yours truly were announced as award winners in the annual IIAR survey of analyst relations professionals. Here’s the [...]

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