Around Margaret Adam from IDC in 10 Questions

Margaret Adam / IDC for the IIAR around in 10 questions

This week, we’re delighted to present you some insights from the just promoted Margaret Adam / IDC (madam_idc, LinkedIn, blog) with our world famous ten questions.


  1. What are your coverage areas?
    Officially, European Channels and Alliances, more broadly this really looks at all kinds of go-to-market and partnering relationships from traditional channel (distie, VAR, SI, MSP, ISV, etc) to new routes to market (marketplaces and cloud service brokerages) to non-traditional partners (start-ups, strategy consulting, industry cloud, digital agencies etc). Essentially, I look at routes to market and advise our customers on the optimum route to market in Europe both in the short term and longer term.
  2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
    Granted I’m biased, but I do see industry analysts playing a critical role in the industry, with such a broad view of the market, good analysts are able to spot the gaps (and even join the dots) between clients and what the industry offers them. In saying that, the skills profile and output has changed, I’ve been an analyst for about 11 years, but in that time, I’ve seen all aspects of the role evolve, and I’ve had to evolve my skills profile along with that.  It has become less about long, research-heavy reports and more about crystallising key messages – i.e. a very succinct, informed opinion (with the research credibility to back this as needed), I’ve had to learn how to do this on social, video /TV (which is a completely different skill set).  The pace is relentless too, with so much industry change, increasingly my role is more about storytelling and hypothesising now than putting a line in the sand, saying “this is what will happen”.  It’s fun but challenging and I think that pressure to build an informed opinion quickly will continue to put more traditional analyst roles under pressure.  In a nutshell, it’s far less about the past, but more about making a calculated guess about the future – and it all changes so quickly!
  3. What’s your typical day like?
    Lots and lots of conference calls and inquiries. I mean a lot.  But in all honesty, one thing I love about my job, is that I am never bored.  We do such diverse activities, research, writing, presenting, workshops, building predictions, consulting, advising and now increasingly shooting videos (!)–  it is never dull and always mentally stimulating.  I don’t know of any other job that offers that kind of diversity.
  4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
    After flying 12 hours, and contending with West Coast jet lag, attending an analyst event, where every single one of the execs scheduled for our one-on-ones were either late, no shows, or cancelled. I ended up with a whole lot of random meetings with people just because they were there, and neither party benefited (and it was like being on a series of awkward first dates!).  This kind of thing does happen, particularly at big customer events, and I realise its never really the AR’s fault, but I guess part of being a good AR, is being able to sell the value of analyst relations internally to the executives.  In this particular example, it was obvious that wasn’t the case. 
  5. Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? Any why?
    There are many great AR professionals, but Signe Loenberg deserves a call out. She has always had a handle on my areas of coverage, connects me to the right people, and, is a really lovely person to just chat to.  Others that stand out are Anna Loftin (Dell), Michael Rennett (Red Hat), Antonella Crimini (Equinix) and Adele Breen (Hotwire).  I know I’ve missed a few (sorry!) but those some who’ve made a real impact. 
  6. Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve atttended.
    This ties in to my horror story, but best practice for me for big events is to communicate upfront (and in advance) as to who it is we will likely be meeting. I’ve had all too many experiences of flying across the world, to not get the meetings I had hoped for and worse, to not have viable alternatives lined up. I know it is challenging to arrange these one-on-ones, but they are the main reason we attend WW events.   Good AR folk will ask us as to what kinds of execs, partners and customers we would like to meet in advance, and line up a plan B list in case first choice isn’t available. 
  7. What are your offerings and key deliverables? 
    I run a research program (subscription) which is essentially a report and research series on all things channel, alliance and partnering in Europe. Customers to that service also have unlimited inquiry.  On top of that, we do a lot of channel-related consulting and advisory – notably around go-to-market strategy, partner prioritization, partner program best practice and partner enablement – but the mix can be pretty diverse as I mentioned before. 
  8. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
    I’m a big walker, love walking the streets and parks of London with my faithful doggie by my side and whenever I travel (which is frequently) I like to build in time for a run and/or a walk (time permitting) to get to know a city on foot. 
  9. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
    Never enough of it!  Otherwise, the ongoing challenge of trying to stay ahead of the direction the industry is moving and ensuring our analysis is valuable, insightful and actionable. 
  10. Is there another analyst whose work  you rate highly?
    Yes, my boss, Phil Carter. He is without a doubt, one of the best blue-sky thinkers I’ve encountered in my analyst career, but essentially grounded and pragmatic too – a mix that is hard to find and very stimulating to work with.

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