Around Martin Hingley from ITCandor in 10 questions

Martin Hingley is one of the best known analysts in Europe. He really came to prominence during his long stint at IDC where he was Chief Research Officer for EMEA.

Martin recently set up his own analyst firm, ITCandor.  On his blog, there’s lots more information and the useful, interesting insights you’d expect.

1. What are your coverage areas?
The ITC Downturn and Recovery– at the last IIAR meeting I attended, I predicted that the ITC recovery would be over on July 5th 2010 – I’m hoping you’re going to invite me back to remonstrate or congratulate.

Cloud Computing – I started looking at this way back in March 2008. I’ve spent much of the last year interviewing customers, small and large vendors and have published a number of popular posts and presentations.

Corporate And Social Responsibility – documenting the ‘unique practices’ large suppliers are pursuing in order to do some good to their stakeholders. I’ve been writing about social development activities in Africa, as well as the development of the ‘disposal channel’. Despite the failure of the Copenhagen summit this area is going to become increasingly vital.

2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
It’s been really bad for everyone over the last few years. Large suppliers cut subscription spending from millions to hundreds of thousands; research houses cut costs, laid off good analysts, moved eastwards, went down market. This has led to an influx of independent analysts, most with strong experience and proven track records.

While the big research companies are being weighed down by heavy cost structures, they’re currently still the main place where vendors and users spend their money. Good independent analysts are more agile and better amplified by social media and are becoming a recognised source for information and advice.

The area is getting better now as the market recovers, but I don’t expect there’ll ever be big changes in customer requirements:

Users want help in knowing ‘how to’ implement systems, negotiate with suppliers, reduce TCO, address new themes, run SLAs, etc.

Vendors want to know which strategy to pursue, when to enter a market, who to sell to, which channels to use, who to partner with, about country cultural differences, etc.

Everybody needs translation of detailed sub-market languages and to work out what’s real and what’s just hype.

3. What’s your typical day like?
I’m actually doing quite a lot of travelling in the UK, Europe and the US, catching up with old – and meeting new – friends and continuing to learn as much as I can about our industry. But let’s say it’s not one of those days…

I get up around 8, have breakfast and ‘commute’ to my study. In the morning I try to ring as many people as I can.

If I’m writing my blog I usually have a couple of subjects already on the go.

If something important comes in (like IBM’s acquisition of Initiate Systems recently) I’ll go straight to that.

Some of my topics require interviewing users or vendors, which I particularly enjoy; some are drawn from updating my market model.

I have a lot of email coming in from the AR community and directly from industry execs. I try to respond quickly, setting up conference calls and meetings.

In the afternoon I’m balancing business development with teleconferences and writing. Luckily I’m currently too focused to suffer from writer’s block.

Needless to say if I have a presentation to develop or consulting project to write that’ll take precedence over everything else.

I stop work usually around 7pm, although I’ll work on if I’m really enjoying it, or if I’m going travelling tomorrow and need to finish something off (as I am tonight!).

4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
My favourite was the launch of the Ace consortium’s workstation back in the early 1990s, complete with timelines and proposed prices. It was held at the Arc in Hammersmith, just after Compaq had withdrawn and the whole venture had collapsed.

I had a quiet chat with the AR guy from Olivetti afterwards, questioning why they hadn’t cancelled the event. His response was that they’d already spent the money, enjoyed having a drink with us analysts… Anyway that was one event I didn’t have to write up afterwards.

5. How do you position your firm? What is your business model? (where are your revenues coming from, mix between users and vendors?)

  • High-level consultancy for senior industry executives.
  • At the moment, I’m particularly involved with delivering presentations on Cloud Computing and building sales handbooks for industry sectors or developing ITC subjects.
  • I am also affiliated with the Henry Corporation as a ‘Henry fellow’. Run by my friend Carsten Schmidt, this gives me excellent sales coverage in Northern Europe.
  • My business comes mostly from vendors.

6. What is your research methodology, in 255 characters or less? (primary research, F2F or phone, secondary only, etc…)

  • Telephone – listening to the industry
  • Desk research – formally assessing financial statements
  • Applied knowledge – using well-learnt techniques

7. Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? Any why?
It has to be Gerhart Sieger at HP all the way back in the late 1980s. He was instrumental in the way HP changed its approach to market research suppliers, worked hard to understand analyst needs and became a good friend.

8. What are your offerings and key deliverables?

  • The Outsourced CRO – temporary research help for vendors
  • Cloud Computing multi-client study
  • The Continuous ITC Subscription Service
  • Worldwide Server Market 2010

9. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
I play in the Earley Music Centre (EMC) Big Band and in the Incendiary Pigs – an avant garde jazz band. I also have an extensive collection of guitars, saxophones and keyboards…

10. Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work you rate highly?
I could mention so many who continue to support and encourage me – Eric Owen, Claus Egge, Pim Bilderbeek, Puni Raja and Marcel Warmerdam for instance.

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