Around Rachel Dines from Forrester in 10 questions

Today’s star in the IIAR “Around in 10 questions” interview series is Forrester‘s Rachel Dines (@RachelDines, blog) who covers many aspects related to business continuity. She’s also one of the analysts taking the most inquiries I know of!


  1. What are your coverage areas?
    I primarily look at IT service continuity and availability from the perspective of the infrastructure and operations professional. Really, what that means is that I research backup, disaster recovery, high availability, and data center strategies. I also have a focus on metrics, skills, and organizational structures within infrastructure and operations departments.

  2. What’s your typical day like?
    My days always start with coffee. After I’m fully caffeinated, I’ll spend a good portion of the day on the phone with clients and vendors, either answering inquiries (last quarter I answered over 100 end-user inquiries), conducting primary research, or listening to briefings. I try to go for a run on the Charles River during lunch, but that doesn’t always happen! When I’m not on the phone, I’ll usually be writing (or tweeting), and working on deliverables.

  3. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
    I don’t want to name any names… but my very first wave at Forrester was a bit of an AR disaster… let’s just say there were lawsuits threatened (although nothing went to court). I’m still a bit scarred by that one!

  4. How do you position your firm? What is your business model?
    I think that Forrester comes at IT analysis with a very business-focused lens. We try to help our clients become more strategic and business oriented. I do also think that the roles we write for help us write pointed and relevant research. Forrester’s revenue mix comes from syndicated research products, consulting, events, and leadership boards.

  5. What is your research methodology, in 255 characters or less?
    I do almost all of my research on the phone with end-users and vendors. I absolutely will do some reading and secondary research as well, but hearing perspectives from many different people is the most valuable way I have found to do research.

  6. Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve atttended.
    When we get invited to large end-user events that also have an analyst track concurrent with the show, I like it when the AR team allows the analysts to rove around the show and go to some of the end user sessions, instead of scheduling back to back to back briefings and secluding us from the end-user sessions. Also, the more 1:1 sessions, or small group sessions the better!

  7. What are your offerings and key deliverables?
    I’ve worked with several companies on helping to define their disaster recovery plans, starting with a business impact assessment, risk analysis, and cost of downtime calculations. I’ve also been running these “Balanced Scorecard For Infrastructure and Operations” workshops that are a lot of fun, a big group of people come together to brainstorm, evaluate, and refine metrics within the framework of the Balanced Scorecard methodology.

  8. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
    Most of my hobbies actually revolve around food: eating, cooking, finding new restaurants, and as of the past year or so, blogging about food. In case you are ever in the Cambridge area, I highly recommend East Coast Grill in Inman Square.

  9. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
    I’m still a new analyst, so for the next 6 month my challenge is going to be getting my name out there and talking to as many vendors and end-users as possible. I’ve also outlined a fairly aggressive research schedule for myself including a Market Overview: Enterprise Data Protection and a TechRadar: IT Continuity And High Availability Technologies.

  10. Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work  you rate highly?
    I’ve worked with a lot of stellar analysts here at Forrester whose work I respect infinitely. Two people in particular I’d like to call out would be Stephanie Balaouras and Galen Schreck who have also been great mentors to me.

See also other interviews of the series here.

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