Archive | December, 2009

What are the right staffing levels for AR?

There’s been an interesting conversation recently on one of the LinkedIn groups I belong to, and as the participants kindly gave me their permission to do so I thought I’d post it here for everyone’s benefit.

Gregg LampfIt started with a question from Gregg Lampf (AR + Marketing Director at SafeNet):

Are there any rules of thumb or recommended staffing levels for dedicated AR people in companies?

Marc Duke (independent, blog)  answered “1 in EMEA but it depends on size/scope or role and or if it involves mkt intelligence“.

Robert Eastman, MBA, CIARP Robert Eastman chipped in:

One of the better resources that I have seen on this is the book by William Hopkins (of the Knowledge Capital Group), Influencing the Influencers. You should really read this book to get the full color and context of their model. In short, however, the rule of thumb that this book proposes is one AR person for every 2-3 major business initiatives. It would not surprise me if the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations, Sagecircle, Lighthouse Analyst Relations also had some advice or insight here. I would enjoy hearing what you find out. Could you share?

Efrem MallachAR guru Efrem Mallach added some good insight:

Firms tend to get a full-time AR professional when they reach annual revenue of about US$100 million. This is an average. Individual situations vary widely on both sides of this figure depending on the specific company situation. From there up the number grows, again very approximately, as the square root of revenue. A company would have about two FT people in AR at an annual revenue of $400 million or thereabouts, three at $1 billion and so on. This is a straight line on a semi-log graph.
These figures come from looking at a lot of companies in many areas of high-tech, plotting the two figures (annual revenue and analyst relations FT equivalent headcount) on a graph, and fitting a curve to where they cluster. T
hese are broad averages. You have to look at the breadth of a firm’s product line, how it breaks down vis-à-vis typical analyst practices, its geographic scope, who it sells to, its typical price points (they affect how much analysts influence its sales), etc., etc…, to come up with an appropriate number for a given firm. There is usually good business justification for spending more on AR than most firms do.

Ludovic Leforestier I agreed with Efrem:

It’s a decreasing curve that tends to flatten out at 1/$b revenue.
This said, the product mix is important: you need more AR managers for companies having a diverse s/w portfolio with a wide footprint, less for h/w typically.

So the best way to go is actually starting from the goals and the audience:

  • if the goal is to support sales directly, then 1 AR manager cannot follow more than 15 Tier I analysts (and that’s a big task).
  • if the job is more marketing oriented (producing white papers, doing more 1:many events) then this ratio can increase.

Tim O'SullivanTim O’Sullivan (EMEA AR for Deloitte) added:

I agree with Robert – all depends on what is important to the company. I would be loathe to make a recommendation based on revenue in anything except an affordability discussion (can we afford 1 more AR). The thing with revenue if you hire a new AR pro (even if you are a $1BN Revenue company) and they close 10 analyst related deals in a year worth $50M then you can afford it. Ludovic is correct about the product mix but services appears missing from the list – a diverse services based organisation would need a substantial team imo. Map the AR team objectives back to the strategic goals of the company – that shoudl give you a fair idea of what is important and allow you to structure a set of programs to support the corporate goals. Once you have these programs (either topic, geographic or some other structure) then you will have a fair idea through an AR Audit how many analysts you have to cater for and what your tactics are and therefore what the team size should be. Given the imoportance of AR and the different approaches in different companies I would be careful following rules of thumb and reccommend due dilignece and planning as the most prudent way to proceed.

Bob SakakeenyBob Sakakeeny (product manager at CA) gave another point of view:

If the average analyst impacts $2.3 million in revenue per year, with customer facing analysts more and vendor facing analysts less, then analyst relations’ staffing decisions can be disconnected from the company’s current revenues. An opportunity cost analysis helps management understand what they miss out on by not staffing AR rather than trying to figure out how to afford AR. Although AR has a statistically greater influence on customer decision making than PR does, companies still pour money into PR visability rather than AR effectiveness.

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IIAR hosts Silicon Valley meeting

IIAR is hosting a Silicon Valley meeting on January 21 at Cisco’s headquarters in San Jose.

Sage Circle’s Carter Lusher will kick off the meeting with a presentation that reviews 2009 trends in the analyst ecosystem and a look ahead for 2010. Following Carter’s presentation, I will provide a brief update on IIAR initiatives. Cisco has kindly agreed to host cocktails at the end of gathering.

If you plan to be in the area and would like to attend, please RSVP directly to me at [email protected] by January 15.

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Register for the Gartner Analyst Relations Webinar on January 7th

Gartner will be hosting their quarterly AR call on the 7/1. They usually make a good update –this time it will be focussed on AMR –a good time to get answers to all the questions asked on the blogs recently: on the IIAR blog (you read it there first!), but also on Analyst Insight, Analyst Equity, Sage Circle, Technobabble, Spend Matters, ARcade, Supply Chain Matters, ITasITis, MGI Research.

In passing, on the “why” question, someone told me it might well be to send a signal to investor that Gartner was doing “something” –a quite interesting theory and I would say probably the smartest reason I’ve heard so far.

Anyway, here are the call details –courtesy of Gartner.

Gartner Quarterly Analyst Relations Webinar
Dear Colleague:

As promised during our December 3 webinar about the Gartner announcement of its acquisition of AMR Research, Inc., we are planning an update for the AR Community on the Gartner and AMR integration.

We’ll be holding a special webinar on Thursday, January 7, 2010, for the Gartner AR Community where we will update you on our overall perspectives and begin to discuss key integration details. We’ve invited back both Michael Yoo, senior vice president, Gartner High-Tech & Telecom Programs, and Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president, Gartner Research, to share their perspectives on progress to date on both the Gartner and AMR Research team and the Gartner and AMR High-Tech & Telecom offerings integration.

Michael and Peter also look forward to fielding your questions on the integration. We encourage you to send them in advance to arcommunity a t gartner d o t com and we’ll add them to the webinar discussion points.

We hope you will join us!

Thursday, January 7, 2010
7:30 a.m. San Francisco
10:30 a.m. New York
15.30 London
16.30 Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt

Please note: A replay of the webinar will be available on the Gartner AR Community page on within 72 hours.


Jeff Golterman
Group Vice President
Gartner High-Tech & Telecom Programs
AR Community Lead.



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Next IIAR Discussion Group call on Escalating Research Disagreements

Our next monthly discussion group teleconference is next Tuesday, December 15th, on the topic of best practices in escalating research disagreements.

The call will be lead by Peggy O’Neill, who recently authored a Best Practice white paper on this topic for the IIAR.

IIAR members who would like to join the call, please contact Hannah Kirkman for dial in details.

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Analysys Mason Taps Steve Hilton to Lead Enterprise and SMB Practice

Analysys Mason has strengthened its enterprise practice with industry expert Steve Hilton joining the senior ranks. Most recently with Yankee Group, Hilton will lead the research division’s Enterprise program, which identifies the key issues facing the enterprise, small enterprise and small office, home office (SOHO) ecosystems and enables leading players to make the right decisions.

More at Tekrati

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Info-Tech Research Group Partners with ATA Research

Info-Tech Research Group has partnered with ATA Research. Effectively immediately, ATA Research will sell and distribute select Info-Tech Research Group content. The first Info-Tech Research Group content offered through ATA Research is “IT Fundamentals”, a set of zipped files containing business tools, IT templates, IT policies, IT job descriptions and RFP templates …

More at Tekrati

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[GUEST POST] Briefing tips and best practices from Lisa Rowan / IDC

Analyst PhotoOur guest post today is from Lisa Rowan (Twitter handle: @lisarowan), IDC’s Program Director for HR, Learning and Talent Strategies.  Read on for Lisa’s tips for briefing analysts from the analyst perspective.

There are excellent resources available to assist the AR profession including IIAR but on this side of the briefing table, it seems like that advice is not universally followed. As analysts we get a steady stream of requests for our time and often for a first introduction. I’d say that for the most part this goes well but there are some tips I thought might be worth underscoring to make the briefings effective for you and the analyst. For a lot of you, these might seem obvious but trust me that I wouldn’t write these tips if there weren’t situations where these things occur.

Meeting an analyst for the first time.- give them the details at a glance

If an analyst hasn’t met you before, it’s wise to put all of your company’s essential details on one slide of your briefing deck as the first thing you cover. Include number of employees, headquarters location, when you were founded, who were the founders, your revenue (say it’s NDA but provide it anyway), and the names of a few of your marquis accounts. If you don’t do this, the analyst will ask anyway or sit there waiting for you to tell them.

Whether the first time or an update briefing – send your deck early

Send your briefing deck (and by all means have one, not doing so is awkward for all) at a minimum the day prior to the briefing. Often sadly, decks come in an hour or so before the call and then once on the call the company representatives ask the analyst if they’ve had a chance to review it. The answer is usually ‘no’ as there just hasn’t been time. Sending it a day prior ups the probability of them actually getting to know your company a bit before the call which is a great thing.

The one hour rule and being on time

Most briefings are one hour in length and analysts often book back-to-back so there will be a hard stop. You should verify this and honor it and make sure you aren’t breathlessly wrapping up with no time for feedback at xx:59. You generally want feedback or you should so leave time for it. One way to ensure you get the most time and make a good impression is to be on time and that means for everyone that is joining the call. Nothing is worse than in the first few minutes the teleconference bridge service keeps beeping with people late to join. As a corollary, try not to have folks on the call that are not introduced, lurking is just kind of unsettling.

Try to know something about the analyst ahead of time

Do some homework and make sure everyone that is going to be on your end is at least passably familiar with the analyst’s bio, coverage area, and body of work. Most analysts have an on-line bio and list of research so this shouldn’t be tough. You wouldn’t make a client call without doing some background and so the same holds true with analysts. It doesn’t hurt to interject something about the analyst into conversation — something you read about them, or a thought around a piece of their recent research. It’s all about relationship.

Tread carefully on the competition

Unfortunately, analysts occasionally hear vendors slamming the competition. I can’t speak for every analyst but this is not music to my ears. I have competition myself but I think of other analysts in a similar coverage area as colleagues, we see each other and greet each other warmly at events where we are together. Yes, it’s important to differentiate but do so on strengths and not on demeaning the rest of the market.

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WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Gideon Gartner on the IIAR Blog!, almost…. Ovum kindly gave us an exclusive for the video below.

Following Datamonitor’s re-launch of their consolidated IT research brands under the Ovum name, they have held two back to back events in London and New York: Collaborative Intelligence launch event.

The London event featured “the Patriarch” Gideon Gartner (the founder of Gartner and Giga), superstar Jonathan Yarmis (LinkedIn, ex. AMR and now with Ovum, @jyarmis) and IIAR co-founder and AR extraordinaire David Rossiter (blog, @davidrossiter, LinkedIn, firm).  The New Amsterdam event was with Carter Lusher instead of David.

[PART 1]

[PART 2]

The “fireside chat” is on the IT analyst business, its beginnings and weaknesses in the original model bringing technology and business together over the course of the last 20 years. It contains quite a few really good thoughts provoking issues, including:

  • What’s the future of IT analyst firms?
  • Is the average age and experience of analysts decreasing?
  • Should IT analysts be paid like financial analysts, on results?
  • What should be the alternatives to Gartner?

Here are some links to the other videos:

And finally, do check Ovum’s landing page on AMR: Does the Gartnerization of AMR raise concerns about the future quality of their research?

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Celent expands coverage of India financial market

Celent, a research and advisory firm and member of the Oliver Wyman Group, is launching a service dedicated to the Indian financial market. The research service will focus on the Indian financial services space, cutting across Celent’s established service offerings in the areas of Banking, Insurance, and Securities & Investments …

more at Tekrati

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IIAR Christmas Café on Dec 3rd, 6pm onwards

So far the IIAR has had a great response from members, non-members and analysts who plan on attending the its IIAR Christmas Café tomorrow evening. The event is being held at a pub across near Farringdon tube stationin London.

If you haven’t RSVP’d to get the address to to attend please email edgyurko at gmail d o t com or DM @iiar.

With the Gartner’s Quarterly AR call, theSage Circle and InformationSpan+LighouseAR and the calls also taking place tomorrow, we’re expecting some great discussion.

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While Gartner goes after AMR, Forrester goes after…

Strategic Oxygen: Breathing New Life Into Your BusinessStrategic Oxygen!

While Gartner (NYSE:IT)  decided to buy out AMR and fill a coverage gap in SCM, with hindsight a strategy hinted in Cannes (well maybe?). The Gartner-AMR deal certainly has caused a bit of a stir, with over 6000 hits in the blogosphere! While I’m on that news item, I must add thatGartner will hosting tomorrow a special AR Webinar on AMR Research acquisition and that in addition of the blogs I list below (read those first: Carter’s, Bob’s and Tony’s entries before) there was a very relevant comment thread started by Merv Adrian and answered by Kate on inquiries.

Most of the respondents of our poll cited Forrester as the best “Second opinion” following this acquisition, so it’s interesting to note that while Gartner kept on its strategy to leverage its research through a deep sales coverage by investing in a key coverage area, Forrester on the other hand decided to expand its role-based research capabilities with capabilities to help IT vendors marketing more efficiently their products via buyers research, analytics, media planning, etc…

Impact for AR:

  • While Forrester do have credibility and interesting offerings for marketing professionals and other roles, their product and especially industry coverage remains inconsistent.
  • In particular, there have been some questions about replacing the recently departed (not litterally thank god) high-profile analysts such as  Ray Wang (blog, Twitter) and Jeremiah Owyang (blog, Twitter).
  • However, there are some signs that Forrester analysts may have more flexibility to resume limited coverage of industries.
  • AR professionals need to clearly identify the roles analysts write for before engaging with them, as briefing a Forrester analyst does not necessarily align with their goals if they are coverage and end user impact.

Wrap-up of the posts on the Gartner-AMR deal:

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Gartner buys AMR -what’s the impact for AR Managers and competitors?

AMR Research. Bold Ideas. Compelling Research. Pragmatic Advice.The Twitter underworld is in ebullition this afternoon and the West Coast isn’t yet awake: the consolidation mouvement in the IT Analysis Industrys keeps steamrolling, the latest one to be picked up being AMR Research -by Gartner (NYSE:IT):

@iiar: RT @Gartner_inc: Gartner enters into Agreement to Acquire AMR Research, Inc.

Nothing on the AMR site yet, just this press release on the Gartner web site, with the following facts:

  • Price: $64m
  • AMR 2009 revenues: $40 million
  • Rationale: it’s complementary  as one would expect -“AMR Research is expected to expand Gartner’s suite of research offerings and also complement its consulting and events businesses.  Moreover, the addition of AMR Research’s experienced sales team should enhance Gartner’s ability to further penetrate the vast market opportunity for syndicated research.  The combination is also expected to drive operational efficiencies and cost savings.”
  • Product fit: “[AMR] is the market leader for research related to supply chain management, which is inextricably linked to IT and has become a central and growing issue for many organizations.  We expect the acquisition to give us immediate presence in this market and the ability to generate substantial synergies by selling AMR Research products to Gartner clients and Gartner products to AMR Research clients.  The addition of AMR Research’s team of approximately 40 research analysts and 45 sales executives should enable us to offer expanded resources to our clients and increase our opportunities for growth.”
  • Financials: the transaction is expected to be dilutive to EPS by -$0.11 to -$0.09 FY10 ; accretive to EPS by $0.01 to $0.04 in FY11.

Impact for AR Managers:

  • Positive: this will broaden the Gartner portfolio and help AMR reaching further geographically and deeper into accounts, leveraging Gartner’s infrastructure and sales
  • Negative: this will reduce negotiation levers for IT vendors as well as competition in Applications Software IT research
  • Collateral impact: a larger Gartner offering may be a threat for Forrester (NASDAQ:FORR), Ovum-Datamonitor and other IT Analysis Firms as well as an opportunity to fulfill the “alternative opinion” and possibly hire seasonned and connected AMR analysts

Tell us what you think!

AR Managers, how do you see this impacting your role?

Gartner competitors, how do you position yourselves on this?

Take our poll:

UPDATES 1/12/09:

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