Question: what do you get if you combine the analyst of the year (Ray Wang), the analyst blogger of the year and author of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies (Charlene Li), the most influential social media analyst (Jeremiah Owyang) and the previous lead of the Social Media Lab at Proctor & Gamble in one analyst firm?
Ever since Charlene jumped the ship and setup Altimeter her mission has been to focus less upon future trends to a more pragmatic customer-focused model. She explains:
Instead of worrying about the next wave of technology, focus on what your customers are using – or not using yet.
I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with Jeremiah to understand what the future brings…
What is Altimeter Group?
We are a company that focused on emerging technologies. Whereas yesteryear people looked at faxes and mobiles – now the focus is social media. Now the big disrupter is social. Change is coming at an increased pace but companies don’t have a policy to respond. Altimeter aims to help companies by evaluating technologies, identify key players and let people test in a safe setting.
The future of business requires a holistic approach to adapting and integrating emerging technologies.
Are you an analyst house?
We are not an analyst firm – we are consultants. This is because an analyst is someone who has a research agenda. Instead we would like to have a few select relationships with clients and guide them through this process.
What are you each going to cover?
Ray mentioned specifically that he is:
Looking at bridging today’s world of enterprise apps with the E2.0 world of connected business platforms
What’s unique to Altimeter Group?
One of our key announcements is The Hanger
Physical and virtual spaces to facilitate experimentation
I think this is a great idea as it will enable that testing station in a safe environment to evaluate the most appropriate technology for a client. Surely this is better than installing it, paying thousands on consultancy support only to find it was the wrong thing to do.
How do you hope to remain as influential now that you have left Forrester?
It’s quite interesting to see that I have already lost quite a few subscriptions from my blog after I left. Some people value the Forrester brand over mine. However, what I am after is to seek fewer relationships more in a deeper capacity. I want to have long term relationships with clients
What type of customers will you be targeting?
Primarily these will be large brands. However, we would also expect a small set of clients to be vendors who want help with their product. The percentage split will still be more end users./brands vs. vendors. The priority will always be to help the buyers first.
You are all based in the US – any thoughts of having a more global reach – or does this not matter as social media enables global communities?
If things go well, we will go where our clients are but no plans yet.
There are two major impacts on this announcement.
The first is understanding how the business model has changed. Jeremiah positions his company via an analogy of a general contractor for a building project. What they want to do is ensure that the blueprints and plans are right before anything is built. I like this model as it is far more pragmatic for buyers.
From an AR point of view, the main difference is that they are not analysts.
They are not out to replace Forrester. In fact, what they are set to do is complement analyst thinking. They are a small company based in the US that is not out to compete against Forrester think it is a moot point in the whole definition game of ‘what is an analyst’ – the key thing to remember from an AR perspective is that they are influencers in the buying process and must be respected and engaged with as such.
End note: This post was meant to be published at 5pm UK when the embargo was lifted. However, seeing as this has now been broken and Ray Wang has given permission for it to go early, this has now been posted.