Around Duncan Brown from PAC in 10 questions

Duncan Brown photo

Today, we’re profiling Duncan Brown (@duncanwbrown, LinkedIn, blog) who has just come back to the analyst world as Director at PAC (Pierre Audoin Consultants). Previously, Duncan was on the dark side with Influencers50 and when as an analyst at IDC and Ovum.

Duncan will be with other PAC members this Wednesday at the IIAR Café in London and the IIAR Webinar.

  1. What are your coverage areas?
    Everything! I’m a complete jack of all trades (and a master of none?). I’ve covered everything from CRM and ECM to e-payments and open source. And services. And printers. And…oh you get the idea. I’ve been around long enough to have seen everything at least once. Don’t you think the IT industry just keeps reinventing old problems as new ones to solve? These days I’m actually more interested in how IT firms go to market – they are generally appallingly poor at marketing themselves and their wares.

  2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
    You’d expect me to say this, given my background at Influencer50, but I do think analyst firms are under enormous pressure from other organization types. For example, the big consulting firms are increasingly providing analysis to the clients, and it’s free. Sourcing advisors are essentially a specialised type of analyst in the end-user advisory space. At the other end of the scale, there’s a ton of information available on the Web. So us analysts need to keep our knowledge fresh and our value high. It’s a challenge for all analyst firms.

  3. What’s your typical day like?
    Arrive at the office, work, leave office. That’s the typical part. What happens in between is never the same two days running. At PAC I have three roles: Research Director, covering the overall software and IT Services space; Consulting Director, running client engagements; and Account Director for one of our most important customers.

  4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
    All my horror stories involve the AR person not knowing who I am and what I do. A good AR person will brief me on who I’m meeting, and will brief their people on me, so we can both do prep and make our time worthwhile. I turned up to a meeting last week and was I asked what I thought of ‘the announcement.’ “What announcement?” I asked. No-one had bothered to send me a copy. Oh, and I once was mistaken for Nicholas Carr of ‘IT Doesn’t Matter’ fame. The culprit was extremely flattering (“I just looovvvved your book”) until they discovered their mistake and made a hasty escape.

  5. What is your research methodology? 
    Primary almost always, phone or face-to-face, though email exchanges are great ways to get a lot done asynchronously.

  6. Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? Any why?
    Daniel Matkovits did an outstanding job of increasing Ovum’s profile in the late 1990s, and I worked with him closely while in Ovum’s Boston office 1997-2000. So he’s the one etched on my memory. He’s now head of global AR at Deloitte.

  7. Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve attended.
    It has to be when Microsoft entered the Smart Card market in 1999. I’d been covering the subject at Ovum from the US, though it was mainly a European market at the time. I guess I was one of the few people in the US that knew anything about the technology back then. Suddenly I was being courted by Microsoft, was flown to Seattle, met Bill Gates, etc, etc. Massive ego trip for me. Happens so rarely these days (sob…).

  8. What are your offerings and key deliverables? 
    Our Software & IT Services Industry (SITSI) coverage is, I think, peerless, and I’ve seen most analyst firms’ output. The detail is stunning, sometime overwhelming. Our custom research, for PAC, has always been a strong proposition, and we are, I think, the only analyst firm to offer a partner and prospect identification service. (I’m sure readers will tell me if otherwise.) We’ll be adding a Key Opinion Leader service later this year.

  9. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
    I like Smiths of Smithfield for 1-2-1s. It’s close to the office. I’ve used Rhodes 24 in The Gherkin for running executive dinners, which is a good venue. Being Scottish, I’m a sucker for single malt, my only vice…

  10. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
    PAC is very well respected in continental Europe but is less well known in the UK. I joined PAC to change that. So that’s the challenge, short term. In the next 30 minutes the challenge is not to make another cup of tea. I’m an addict.

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