At Gartner’s AR Forum in Orlando last week, guest speaker Joshua Reynolds from Hill & Knowlton gave a presentation about social media trends and analyst relations, and provided some up to date statistics on how AR impacts sales. For those AR managers who didn’t make it to Orlando, Gartner just posted Josh’s presentation at its AR Community page today. Do take a look at Josh’s presentation and take note of the survey of tech buyers and how they use analysts. AR managers will be able to use these statistics with their internal audiences to make the case for analyst relations. http://www.gartner.com/technology/about/ar_community.jsp
The IIAR will be holding a couple of informal gatherings at Gartner’s EMEA Symposium in Cannes, for those interested in networking with AR peers and finding out more about the Institute. These include a breakfast meeting at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday November 4th, hosted by Ludovic Leforestier, and a dinner meeting at 7:30 p.m. on the same date, hosted by Susan Lyddon. Please email me at hkirkman at analystrelations dot org for further details.
Originally posted here: Contentious conversations in analyst relations
As a side note, shooting on the referee rarely helps -the IIAR now has a best practice paper on how to deal with the Gartner Magic quadrants available to our member on our extranet.
Contentious conversation 1 – integrity of analysts and the future of AR
Blog my Tom Bittman from Gartner – A Rant – My Integrity as an Analyst
Summary: Gartner analyst angry that he has to justify his integrity
My view: Edelman trust barometer consistently shows that over the past few years analysts are the most trusted
Key comments: Vinnie Mirchandani questioning whether Gartner’s reliance on large vendor subscriptions means that their reports are truly representative
What this means:
There is an ongoing fight regarding how independent an analyst can be if they receive money from vendors. Whereas some firms in the past have been ‘White Paper for hire’ houses, they tend to lose industry respect very quickly and go bust. What can not be in doubt is that in subscribing to an analyst house, you have the ability to pay for more time in front of the analysts leading to a greater chance to educate them – often this will result in a more favourable position. I am not saying that to be successful in AR you need to have subs, it is more a case of – it helps.
The secondary argument (and possibly more important) is by having a look at who the key participants in this debate are. On one side we have the analyst and the other we have the IT advisor. The latter group frequently comes from an analyst background (see Vinnie Mirchandani, ex-Gartner; Ray Wang, ex-Forrester) but in their current role do not have a research agenda. By default this does not make them (in their mind) an analyst.
However, I believe we are playing semantics. Our view in AR needs to be simple: if they affect IT buying then they are an influencer and need to be dealt with accordingly. AR most closely deals with these individuals – we may need to adapt a different name so that they don’t get upset by being labelled analysts but they will remain a key audience for us to engage with and should continue to enjoy the same disclosure benefits that traditional analysts enjoy. With the growth of firms like Altimeter Group, this fundamental shift towards a larger influencer group will become more important than ever over the next few years.
Contentious conversation 2 – analysts liable for ‘incorrect’ positioning
Article in IT Knowledge Exchange – Email archiving vendor sues Gartner over Magic Quadrant
Summary: Claiming that Gartner’s MQ constitute “disparaging, false/misleading, and unfair statements” about its email archiving product that have done damage to its sales prospects, ZL filed suit for damages of $132 million to account for lost sales.
My view: This fight has caused great PR for ZL but someone’s position in an MQ should not be a surprise. If a vendor believes they are unfairly positioned the time to argue this point is before the quadrant is published.
The power of a positive ranking in Gartner is immense because it is often the case that large purchases of technology are based exclusively on the MQ Reports…For instance, the Office of the Inspector General, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently conducted an investigation into the use of the Gartner’s MQ reports in connection with the VA’s $16,000,0000 purchase of certain leases and services from Dell. The Office of Inspector General reported that the VA made this large purchase based solely on the leadership rankings in the relevant Gartner MQ report. (source: initial complaint)
In Mark Logic’s excellent analysis of this case, he makes the following comment about whether having the best technology means that someone should be positioned superior to another company who simply has better sales and marketing.
While Ingres arguably had the best database technology in the 1980s, Oracle’s sales and marketing prowess caused it to win the market and any analyst who — focused solely on the technology — would have recommended Ingres at that time would have done his customers a disservice.”
What this means:
Like it or not, Gartner are the original 800lb gorilla. Whether it is right or wrong, the fact remains that their MQ inherently has an influence in IT buying behaviour. What AR pros need to do is work with the analyst ideally six months prior to any publication to fully understand what success criteria are to be better positioned as a leader and work towards those goals. A great way to understand how to work with an MQ can be seen in the great IIAR White Paper.
We have to accept that the firm with the best technology does not always win (see Betamax vs. VHS) – for a company to be successful, they will need to have a great product that is complemented by a sound go-to-market strategy. Luckily for us this is where AR can help.
Come and join the IIAR for an early celebration of Christmas at our next AR Café in Central London from 6:00 p.m. onwards on December 3rd. Members, non-members and analysts are welcome.
For more details and to RSVP, please contact IIAR Secretary Hannah Kirkman at hkirkman (at) analystrelations (dot) org.
Last week IIAR hosted a call with AR professionals about sharing best practices for managing the Forrester Wave. IIAR last month published a paper about the Wave, which outlined common best practices in dealing with this high profile research report. Forrester is also in the middle of reviewing changes to the methodology, although it has signaled it doesn’t expect major changes this go around. Curious to get other AR managers’ thoughts on the Wave. What has been your experience, and do you have any best practices you want to share?
[THIS JOB IS POSTED ON BEHALF OF KRONOS, THE IIAR CANNOT BE HELD LIABLE FOR THE CONTENT]
Kronos Incorporated is seeking a self-starter who is seasoned in high-tech industry influencer relations. In this individual contributor role, you will be responsible for driving a communications program that clearly conveys Kronos messages regarding our company strategy, product and industry direction, and competitive differentiators to influential analysts, associations, and other influencers. Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of five years of experience in communications field preferred. Reports to senior director of corporate communications.
Details here: Job Information: Manager of Analyst Relations Job
Have you ever been embarrassed by a fellow AR manager? Some clueless person who purports to represent our profession and has not the slightest idea about the difference between an inquiry and a briefing? Or thinks the more you pay an analyst, the better the coverage will be?
Not much you can do about it, as anyone can hang out a shingle and call themselves an analyst relations manager. But at least those of us who take our profession seriously can push for high standards and look for ways to separate the amateurs from the pros.
The basic certification test that IIAR is launching today (read the official press release) will hopefully enjoy widespread adoption and become a way for hiring managers to differentiate between the poseurs and the pros. The IIAR is also looking at advanced certification requirements and will roll that out at a later date.
It’s the first time we are trying to answer the question, “What are the basics that an AR manager should know?” The exam covers topics such as citation policies, market share methodology, analyst etiquette, and event best practices. Regional knowledge, business model basics, and pricing and licensing fundamentals are also in there.
Not sure if you’re ready? Sample questions and a quiz are available here.
Candidates interested in taking the exam should make arrangements by contacting me directly at email@example.com as passwords are distributed individually.
What do you think? Is certification helpful in promoting higher standards in our profession? Should it be mandatory instead of voluntary?
London, 1 October 2009: Today, the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR) is announcing its Analyst Relations Certification examination, the first independently administered qualification for analyst relations (AR) professional.
The examination is aimed at encouraging AR managers to master best practices, analyst protocol, and basic knowledge of the industry.
AR professionals who take the examination, which consists of a multiple choice test on a wide range of topics related to the discipline and execution of analyst relations, are deemed “certified” by the IIAR. The test is administered by the IIAR and is open to both members and non-members. The fee is £100 for non-members and includes the opportunity for one retake if candidates initially fail the test. The exam is free for IIAR members.
In addition, the AR Certification examination will form the foundation level for an Advanced AR Certification, which is currently under development. The Advanced AR Certification is aimed at AR professionals with four or more years of experience, and assessment will be based on length of service, proven track record and contribution to the enhancement of analyst relations as a profession.
Peggy O’Neill, Board Member of the IIAR, said “We’re excited to be launching the AR Certification examination, which for the first time provides AR professionals with an opportunity to demonstrate their industry experience and knowledge through an independently administered qualification.”
Kathy Nottingham, Director of Industry Analyst Relations for Lawson Software, and the first analyst relations professional to be certified by the IIAR, commented “Industry certification is good for analyst relations professionals as individuals and as a group. While each AR role is unique, the practice of AR has evolved to a point where we have established proven best practices. The IIAR has developed an AR certification test that validates a baseline of AR knowledge and expertise.”
For further information and to view sample questions, please click here.
About the IIAR
Established in April 2006, the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations is a non-profit organisation dedicated to raising industry awareness of the value of analyst relations, promoting and sharing best practice in AR, enhancing communications between vendors and analyst firms, and providing opportunities for AR professionals to meet and network with their industry peers. For further information, visit http://www.analystrelations.org.
Philipp Bohn, Berlecon’s Mobile & Telecommunications Analyst in Berlin, has found the time to answer 10 questions. Here is what we have found out – thanks to Philipp Bohn again!
1. What are your coverage areas?
I cover communication and collaboration technologies for enterprises and SMBs, specifically VoIP, Unified Communications, Fixed Mobile Convergence.
2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
Some market trends I observe:
- International technology vendors increasingly demand local market research.
- Boutique analyst houses are further developing their profile and footprint.
- Strong demand for maximum transparency regarding research methodologies and business relationships.
3. What’s your typical day like?
My daily work is modularised, core modules being:
- Check RSS reader, work on current report/white paper/presentation/etc., get briefed.
- In between, I started experimenting with Twitter to stay connected with other analysts and AR professionals.
4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
It’s not really a horror story, but in the course of an analyst tele-briefing that I requested the vendor representative confessed to just going through the respective press release.
5. How do you position your firm? What is your business model?
Berlecon Research is an ICT research and consulting boutique primarily (not solely) focused on the German market.
Our two main research topics are IT services and outsourcing as well as mobile and business communication technologies.
6. What is your research methodology, in 255 characters or less?
Our methodology follows high standards regarding scientific research and transparency. We collect information about the German ICT market through qualitative and quantitative research as well as discussions with corporate users and technology vendors.
- For technology assessments, we cooperate with Fraunhofer ESK.
7. Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve attended.
I think a good AR event is primarily about the right people and how you are able to connect personally as well as professionally. It’s important not to feed analysts with marketing messages.
8. What are your offerings and key deliverables?
We sell independent research studies, competitor analyses, customised research as well as strategic consulting for ICT vendors and users. Berlecon also supports ICT vendors with strategy workshops and speaking engagements.
9. Any favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
My current addiction is udon noodle soup from Susuru, a Japanese restaurant here in Berlin.
10. What is your biggest challenge for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
To defend opinion leadership on the unified communications market in Germany.
To increase international footprint without overly increasing my carbon footprint! ;)
Next 30 minutes: surviving Berlin car drivers’ traffic antics on my way home.