Last year, as part of the 2014 IIAR Analyst of The Year Survey, we invited analyst relations professionals to rate their favourite industry analyst individuals and the firms they worked for. More than 60 individual organisations responded to our survey. We were interested to see if we could do further analysis on the data that was collected.
When we set out to do the IIAR Analyst of the Year (with Helen Chantry), we always had envisioned doing a Magic Quadrant of analyst firms. This year the survey provided us with further information which we have been able to breakdown and analyse to provide a more detailed understanding of how analyst relations professionals perceive the relevance, impact and reachability of industry analyst firms. We are not claiming that this is an exhaustive study. Rather it simply opens a new (slightly cheeky – hence the notion of “Tragic Quadrant”) window onto the analyst landscape, where we attempt to rank industry analyst firms by impact, relevance and ease to do business with.
The IIAR survey asked respondents to assess individual industry analysts on a range of issues broadly grouped according to the following criteria:
- ‘Impact’ (to what extent does the industry analyst impact the technology purchase decision);
- ‘Relevance’ (is the particular industry analyst relevant to the technology purchase decision, do they understand the marketplace);
- ‘Interaction’ (how easy is the industry analyst to reach and to interact with).
We are able to represent the top 13 industry analyst firms according to this new analysis. We have produced three Tragic Quadrants according to i) overall industry analyst firms, ii) global industry analyst firms, and finally iii) independent industry analyst firms.
- The Y axis depicts the ‘Impact’ of the industry analyst firm on the purchase decision. This also relates to their perceived credibility and capability to provide an objective opinion.
- The X axis marks their ‘Relevance’ for the purchase decision. This means their capability to cover the market and their specific geographical allocation. It also includes public recognition of their presence in the market (e.g. as an expert).
- The size of the bubble is ‘Interaction’. This relates to issues of communication (e.g. how easy is it to get to them and to talk to them).
Overall Industry Analyst Firms Quadrant
In terms of the Overall Industry Analyst Firm Quadrant, Gartner, Forrester and IDC came out ahead of rivals. In terms of their specific ranking according to our analysis, Gartner is 1st, Forrester 2nd, and IDC 3rd. Gartner is higher on impact and relevance than its immediate rivals, but did less well in terms of interaction. IDC by contrast scores someway ahead of Gartner in terms of interaction but is perceived to be slightly less impactful and relevant. By contrast, although some way behind the leaders in terms of impact and relevance, Digital Clarity Group, Ventana and SMB Group did particularly well on interaction.
Global Industry Analyst Firms Quadrant
In terms of the Global Industry Analyst Firms Quadrant, Gartner stood out as 1st. This was followed by, in 2nd place, Forrester, and IDC in 3rd place. As mentioned above, Gartner were successful with high levels of relevance but performed less well on interaction. IDC performed particularly well on impact and interaction. In terms of the other firms, HfS performed well across all three categories but scored particularly well on impact. 451 Research and Ovum did well based on interaction.
Independent Industry Analyst Firms Quadrant
In terms of the Independent Industry Analyst Firms Quadrant, Constellation were in 1st place, HfS in 2nd place, followed by SMB Group in 3rd place and Ventana in 4th. Constellation scored particularly well on impact, whilst HfS performed well on impact and interaction but less well on relevance. SMB Group scored highly in terms of interaction. Ventana did well in terms of impact but slightly lower in terms of interaction.
In case you were wondering the Tragic Quadrant is by no mean meant to be a normative or scientific depiction of the industry analysis industry. It offers but one window onto this world that was partially inspired by Juvenal’s ancient dictum Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? (which, roughly translated, is who assesses the assessors? or, in our case, who analyses the analysts?). Whilst it was initially intended as a bit of fun we do nevertheless think there are some interesting aspects for AR professionals and analyst houses to take from it. We see at least two takeaways emerging for different audiences:
- AR professionals may use this as a subjective analysis tool to look at their target audience engagement strategies. They should balance ‘ease to do business with’ against ‘relevance’ and ‘impact’. Or, in other words, they shouldn’t brief analysts just because they’re easy to deal with (or conversely they should look at analysts which are less of a pain depending on the type of impact the AR professional is looking for (see the AR SOSM model);
- analyst firms should monitor the ‘transactional tax’ they impose on AR people: if they raise the ‘interaction barrier’ too high while not providing sufficient coverage and not showing impact, their vendor information source might soon provide them only a partial view of the market (raising exhaustivity and fairness issues) or their vendor revenues might suffer too.
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