The 451 Group and Tech:Touchstone: A good match of cultures and vision

Last week saw yet another acquisition by The 451 Group. This time, it was the turn of the events division who snapped up Tech:Touchstone, including its innovative CEO, Simeon Turner (ex Gartner events). Tech:Touchstone is no stranger to The 451 Group having developed a strong partnership over the past four years, so this seems a logical step to continue exploring what IT decision makers are looking for from a technical events standpoint plus, progress what Tech:Touchstone knows is a tried and tested event format. It also means both companies can maximize on the strongly cultivated database which will allow them to expand through various sectors and locations including moves into Moscow, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The IIAR caught up with Simeon, now Managing Director of The 451 Group Events, and The 451 Group’s Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Hill who were both in great spirits at the prospect of what this acquisition means for the two companies. The 451 Group is growing although, it still intends to remains strong to its roots focusing heavily on the three operating divisions namely: 451 Research (syndicated research focused on the business of IT with qualitative and quantitative analysis on topics such as data center technologies, cloud, security, storage/big data); Uptime Institute (data center authority best known as the developer and owner of the Tiers standard for data centers, purchased by The 451 Group in 2007 and has since seen international expansion into 50 countries) and Yankee Group (the newest division acquired in December 2012 focused on analysis of the mobile communications industry, led by Terry Waters).

Moving forward, Tech:Touchstone will be part of The 451 Group Events and run events for all three divisions of The 451 Group. Hill and Turner agreed it is early days and in the short term, it will be business as usual. With the Information Security Summit coming up in just a few weeks time, The 451 Group is committed to delivering a rich event to its clients, both existing and new and although the February summit, the planning for which was well underway as the acquisition was executed, will be branded Tech:Touchstone, visibility from The 451 Group will be very evident. Both were keen to note that management of events is group wide now and no longer divisional. Worldwide presence will increase and AR Professionals can expect to see anywhere between 12 and 15 events in 2013 which is a dramatic expansion of the event portfolio that includes the well-established Uptime Institute Symposium, now in its 8th year, and 451 Research’s Hosting & Cloud Transformation Summit in Europe and North America, now in its 9th year. That said, Hill and Turner were quick to advise that The 451 Group is not and will not be a trade show or event organization but essentially, a syndicated research and consulting firm delivering local events with local knowledge and data to local people.

As for the future, AR Pros can expect to see an increase in analyst participation at events and Hill was excited about the prospect of additional local intelligence from on the ground analysts in region.

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6 Responses

  1. Nice post Caroline. It would be great to have some insights from the folks at 451 on how they differentiate and position themselves.

    How much of their revenues will be events then?

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  2. Hi Ludovic. Good question and I’ll get an official statement from The 451 on how they differentiate. In the meantime, I understand that events represents approximately 9% of their revenues.

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  3. Both really.
    I’d be nice to hear what makes 451 unique and a different value prop in the industry research industry.
    Similarly, events is a crowded market, so the question is the same I guess.

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  4. The Tech Touchstone events are not your typical conference. These are more like the Vision Events business that Gartner sold last year. They are invitation only for senior user executives who get to attend for free and have their T&E funded also. The vendors pay via sponsorship and the execs “pay” by meeting with the sponsors. Tech Touchstone need speakers and need to attract execs to attend for the model to work. Research is a good draw. For the 451 Group it allows them to “pitch” their research to both suppliers and a number of senior execs. Should be a win-win so long as they can get sufficient attendees at each event. However, my own experience indicates that the model does not work in every market.

    I think this is likely a solid move for 451 so long as they make sufficient investment in the overall events group to make it work and are able to leverage the research resources without killing revenue streams elsewhere. But does Tech Touchstone add anything significant for AR? I would say probably not.

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  5. Whether The 451 can turn invited event guests (who pay $0) or $299 Upside Institute subscribers into $x,000 paying RAS subscribers (including to Yankee coverage areas) will tell all.

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  6. Hey Stephen. It’s not all about RAS subscriptions. I think you can miss somethings out if that’s the only lens you look at things through. If 451′s businesses can deliver value, and influential insight, to end-users does it really matter where the revenue comes from?

    A great example of this is Canalys. It has much more influence on end-users and the channel than its subscriptions revenues would suggest.

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