1. What are your coverage areas?
As Chief Research Officer at Ovum, my focus is less on a specific topic, and more on how technology overall is being applied to create business value. That said, I need to keep abreast of all the hot topics, and be able to hold vaguely sensible conversations on anything from converged infrastructure to customer experience. If I was to pick the coverage area that I enjoy most, it would be BI and information management.
2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
There continues to be a lot of change in our market, and the two trends that I would pick out currently are the impact of peer advice and communities, and the move for research and analysis to become more data-centric. I think though that there is no letup in technology innovation, so there will always be a place for knowledgeable, trusted advisors to help make sense of it.
3. What is your typical day like?
Very varied! I spend a lot of my time face to face with enterprise clients, perhaps rather less time at vendor conferences than I used to. When I’m not on the road, I split my time between Ovum’s London office and my home office near Birmingham, but I often find that the least disturbed place to work is on a train. As with many analysts the day gets extended at both ends with calls to Asia-Pac in the morning and to the US in the evening.
4. Now, c’;mon, tell me an AR horror story?
The guilty shall be nameless (and this one was a long time ago), but sitting through a six hour briefing from 10 to 4 with no lunch or sustenance was not an easy thing to do – I was a young and inexperienced analyst in those days, so didn’t say a thing. More generally, my biggest bugbear is when AR people don’t have a good understanding of my coverage or the firm’s business, and briefings end up missing the mark completely – thankfully these occasions are rare.
5. How do you position your firm?
What is your business model? (where are your revenues coming from, mix between users and vendors?) Ovum helps leading technology service and solution providers find the most effective route to market. We also work with 50,000 global IT decision-makers each year. We enable them to formulate and implement IT strategies, and select the right technologies and solutions. The majority of our revenue comes from technology users, particularly across telecoms, media, financial services and public sector organizations. Advising on the impact and application of technology on business in these industry sectors, with dedicated teams focusing on each, is a critical part of our proposition.
6. What is your research methodology?
There’s no substitute for talking to users, so that underpins everything that I do. It’s also important to me to have these viewpoints supported by extensive primary research, and augmented by quality conversations with technology executives.
7. Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve attended?
I feel that it’s the relationship that’s important in AR, and having been an analyst for … hmm … quite a long time, I most appreciate those good long – term relationships with folks like Ricarda Rodatus, Dennis Macneil and the rest of the Oracle AR team, Geoff Dorrington at CA, Malee Dharmasena at Cisco, and many others that have been good friends over the years.
8. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
Downtime for me is taking my motorhome on the road – in the UK if it’s a short break, but preferably to France, Germany or Spain. The greatest pleasure in France is to sit down with a large plate of crevettes and a glass of rosé. (P.S. I’m making myself hungry just writing that!)
9. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
For the next 6 months, collaborating with our clients, and with my colleagues across our analyst teams, to build a great research agenda for 2017 and beyond, that achieves a fair balance for everyone, and hits all the right notes. For the next 30 minutes, making sure I don’t miss my flight back home from Schiphol, having
had an enjoyable day visiting some of our Dutch clients. (I’ve also decided that I’ve spent too much of my life bashing away at my laptop in Schiphol – far too much of a home from home!)
10. Is there another analyst whose work you rate highly?
My thoughts turn to four colleagues who are sadly no longer with us – Madan Sheina, Mike Thompson, Rob Hailstone, and David Mitchell. All of them were great analysts, with robust independent views, and strongly protective of the analyst craft, and I learnt plenty from them at different stages of my analyst career.