Useful statistics for making the case for AR

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

IIAR at Gartner EMEA Symposium

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.

IIAR at the Forrester Services and Sourcing Forum, London

For those attending the Forrester Services and Sourcing Forum in London this week, IIAR board member Ed Gyurko will be at the event and is happy to meet up with members or those interested in finding out more about the IIAR.

Is shooting on the referee productive?

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.

Key comments:

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.

IIAR Christmas Cafe

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.

Best practices for managing the Forrester Wave

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?

[JOB OPENING] Managers of AR ar Kronos

[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

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