Author Archive | Ludovic Leforestier

Jeff Mann on Symposium

imageJeff Mann from Gartner has posted an interesting account on How Gartner Symposium Happens.

While it won’t be new news to seasonned AR professionals, it should still be worked in your AR plan to time key tactics and ensure your key analysts understand your company positioning and roadmap before they’re on stage.

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[JOB POSTING] Senior Analyst Relations Manager, Frankfurt

[THIS JOB IS POSTED ON BEHALF OF PSD, THE IIAR CANNOT BE HELD LIABLE FOR THE CONTENT]

 

Senior Analyst Relations Manager (m/f)

Location: Frankfurt am Main

As Senior Analyst Relations Manager you contribute pro-actively to the corporate communication strategy. You act as the primary liaison with all relevant internal groups in planning and implementing communications campaigns, analyst relations initiatives, executive programs, events and product launches. Furthermore you serve as a key contact person with the analysts, with a specific focus on ensuring positive endorsement of our client and its portfolio from the analyst community.

Your tasks:

  • Manage pro-actively all key aspects of the analyst relations (AR) program
  • including planning, strategy, internal communication consulting, implementation of new communication initiatives and management of tactics
  • Act as a primary internal liaison with sales, solution management and development, including top management level, to elaborate the positioning of our clients strategies and initiatives towards the analyst community
  • Position the AR program and its objectives towards internal audiences as well as train and support them to leverage all aspects of analyst relations
  • Ensure targeting analysts with the highest impact on our clients overall business success from a global perspective
  • Monitoring analyst coverage and communicating analyst perspectives back into our clients organisation
  • Plan and manage the analyst relations activities, briefings, inquiries, events and tours
  • Build and maintain excellent relations with key influential analyst

Your profile:

  • University degree in business administration, marketing, public relations or equivalent
  • 5 – 10 years experience in the IT or Telecommunications market, of which preferably 3 – 5 years with analyst company or AR team
  • Strong experience in systems integration and good knowledge of ERP and SCM/PLM
  • Proven success in producing results in a team-oriented environment
  • Ability to work independently and accept responsibility
  • Strong communications, presentation and writing skills (business fluent English skills)
  • Good command of written and spoken German

For further information and to apply, call Tobias Wöhler on +49-(0) 69-138 136-39 or e-mail your detailed CV quoting your salary expectations and your availability/earliest starting date to [email protected]

You can speed up the process of your E-mail if you insert the following Job Reference into the subject of the e-mail: MO/TWO2/419470.

On behalf of our client, a leading global IT Service Provider, we are looking for a

Senior Analyst Relations Manager (m/f)

Location: Frankfurt am Main

As Senior Analyst Relations Manager you contribute pro-actively to the corporate communication strategy. You act as the primary liaison with all relevant internal groups in planning and implementing communications campaigns, analyst relations initiatives, executive programs, events and product launches. Furthermore you serve as a key contact person with the analysts, with a specific focus on ensuring positive endorsement of our client and its portfolio from the analyst community.

Your tasks:

  • Manage pro-actively all key aspects of the analyst relations (AR) program

oincluding planning, strategy, internal communication consulting, implementation of new communication initiatives and management of tactics

  • Act as a primary internal liaison with sales, solution management and development, including top management level, to elaborate the positioning of our clients strategies and initiatives towards the analyst community
  • Position the AR program and its objectives towards internal audiences as well as train and support them to leverage all aspects of analyst relations
  • Ensure targeting analysts with the highest impact on our clients overall business success from a global perspective
  • Monitoring analyst coverage and communicating analyst perspectives back into our clients organisation
  • Plan and manage the analyst relations activities, briefings, inquiries, events and tours
  • Build and maintain excellent relations with key influential analyst

Your profile:

  • University degree in business administration, marketing, public relations or equivalent
  • 5 – 10 years experience in the IT or Telecommunications market, of which preferably 3 – 5 years with analyst company or AR team
  • Strong experience in systems integration and good knowledge of ERP and SCM/PLM
  • Proven success in producing results in a team-oriented environment
  • Ability to work independently and accept responsibility
  • Strong communications, presentation and writing skills (business fluent English skills)
  • Good command of written and spoken German

For further information and to apply, call Tobias Wöhler on +49-(0) 69-138 136-39 or e-mail your detailed CV quoting your salary expectations and your availability/earliest starting date to

[email protected]

You can speed up the process of your E-mail if you insert the following Job Reference into the subject of the e-mail: MO/TWO2/419470.

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Ray Wang named IIAR Analyst of the Year 2009

London, 25 August 2009: The Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR) today named Ray Wang, most recently Vice President, Principal Analyst with Forrester Research Inc., as its Analyst of the Year for the second year running. Ray was nominated by a global survey of 137 analyst relations professionals. Runners up for the title were Jon Collins of Freeform Dynamics and David Mitchell of Ovum. Jon Collins of Freeform Dynamics was voted the EMEA Analyst of the Year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given an industry-wide retrenchment in IT research spending, the traditional global analyst firms performed very strongly this year. Gartner, Forrester Research and IDC were ranked first, second and third respectively in the Analyst Firm of the Year category. The three firms were also highly rated in terms of their importance, achieving top three places in five of the nine industry segments. Nevertheless, boutique firms and specialists, particularly those based in Europe, also managed to hold their own in a tough economic environment. Freeform Dynamics, RedMonk and Quocirca all appeared in the top five Analyst Firm of the Year in EMEA, and their analysts scored highly in terms of importance in SMB, developer/IT Pro and Software, and green IT/sustainability, respectively. What do AR professionals most value when working with analysts? In addition to knowledge and market insight, flexibility in approach, responsiveness and willingness to listen all scored highly. “At a time when vendors are having to evaluate carefully where they should invest their limited funds, it is refreshing to see best-of-class analysts receiving recognition for the value they deliver.” said Jonny Bentwood, Board Member for the IIAR. “Now, more than ever before, analysts have to prove their tangible worth and those that provide independence, integrity, flexibility and deep industry knowledge of their specific areas are being recognised as true partners for vendors and IT buyers.”

Commenting on his award, Ray Wang said: “It’s a great honour to be recognised by the IIAR, especially in a year where clients challenge analysts to provide more actionable and personalised advice. As we rely more on social media tools to improve client delivery and outreach, I’m often reminded not to forget the other part of the equation – building strong relationships. In fact, the best AR pro’s I work with master the art of fostering strong relationships and understand that art often trumps science when dealing with people.”

A full list of the winners can be found at http://blog.analystrelations.org.

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Brief summary of the last IIAR Forum presentation by Datamonitor

Duncan Chapple from Lighthouse AR has posted on his blog the following entry: Datamonitor, Ovum & Butler cohabitation makes AR easier (Analyst Equity).

It’s a good summary of the last IIAR London Forum, kindly hosted by David Rossiter from Sunesis and at which Mark Meek / Datamonitor CEO and David Mitchell / SVP IT Research.

Overall, I would say the reactions were very postive, juste tempered by a “wait and see” attitude towards whether they will execute efficiently. This is my personal take on some of the reactions and by no means an IIAR position or the aggregation of all the present members opinions. We can’t say too much as we’re bound by an NDA, but here are my thoughts -for what they’re worth.

Still personally, I think this goes in the right direction and if they they execute it correctly, we will end up with:

  • one single point of contact for the commercial aspects
  • unified deliverables formats and research agendas
  • no more duplication in coverage areas

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AR professionals should canvass inside firms

It’s all too easy to assume that by briefing the lead analyst on a vendor or on a coverage area, your job as AR professional is done.

Don’t…

While some firms have robust sharing practices, such as repositories for presentations and vendor briefing teams that check which other analysts may be interested in a briefing, you can’t rely on those for the following reasons.

  • You know best what you’re trying to say.
    Vendor briefings follow the firms’ coverage model, and it usually works. However, you might want to brief some analysts in a “new” area, as you’re about to launch a new product or respond to new trends. Think for instance of Cisco entering the servers market, Oracle launching apps for the iPhone, etc…
  • Politics hinder the information flow Some topics breach the usual silos within analyst firms and as a result you need to brief several analysts. In an ideal world, we would all be working in happy-family-like-companies and all work together towards achieving the highest customer satisfaction. However, some analysts may not view positively others stepping on their coverage area while others may not spontaneously and proactively share the information. It’s not only job protection, it’s also the fact that they tend to have incredibly busy schedules, with some targeted to produce over 15 notes per year, in addition to the briefings, the sales calls, the events and the customer engagements.
  • Metrics can prevent analysts from collaborating
    The way people are incented can also play a role. In some firms analysts get more brownie points for notes they write solo (which is IMHO as perverse as incentives for long notes). So, do make sure you tell everyone what you’re up to to facilitate collaboration (but don’t force it).
  • The coverage model may not work for what you’re trying to say
    For instance, if your are doing AR for some products that are not part of a firm’s coverage map but may impact the edges of some analysts’ interest areas. There are also firms that have decided to cover “roles”, which can mean that they won’t effectively cover industries. In those cases, try to find a theme that’s of interest to some analysts or propose vertical case studies to horizontal analysts.

Key learning point: look further than the “obvious” analysts, remember your job is to sell ideas and not everyone’s buying off plans!

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Softcopy formats

I first need to start this post with an apology to Merv, as I’ve kept calling him Adrian -it’s probably that it sounded more like a first name than Merv to my little French brain. So, apologies Adrian Merv!

Anyway, Merv started a poll on should AR Provide Soft Copies of Briefing Content? and asked me to relay this. I thought the question is interesting.

I always send the decks in PDF, because it’s a more open format than .ppt or .pptx -an old habit I got at IBM since no one could read Freelance decks. It’s also much smaller, which avoids getting flame mails from analysts on the move -I know this shows my age by I remember a conversation with an analyst stuck in Italy and trying to download 1 meg email (it was a lot of bytes a the time) over a 32 bauds connection. Even if the ubiquity of WiFi changed quite a lot of things (including removing the need to travel with screwdrivers to connect to telephone socket in Italian hotels…), sending an 8 MB deck isn’t well received by analysts who travel a lot. Oh, and I always send them in advance to let the analyst prepare, ask him/her if she/he has specific questions and suggest my spokespersons to frame the briefing and plan for 20-40 mn of content per 60 mn slot to avoid death-by-Powerpoint. Obviously, some spokespersons don’t comply and that’s the life of an AR manager 🙁

Merv also mentions that AR like the fact PDF can’t be changed, that’s also a point: it’s easier to send the PDF and then if the analyst needs a graphic, let him/her request it and then make sure that it’s employed correctly. Briefing decks aren’t always checked by Legal, etc, and AR needs to make sure anything can be reused. PDF’ing a deck also removes the speaker notes, which are often not in synch or updated with new decks and my contain unwanted information.

This leaves the problem of making notes on a deck, in electronic format that is. Annotating a PDF using the full-Acrobat is a good solution but some comments on Merv’s post point that analysts like to past a deck structure into a word processor and start draft a research note this way.

But what about webcasts?

Turning the problem the other way around, why don’t the analyst provide their research as a Wiki that can be updated, where you could see different contributions including vendor reviews? There would be many issues associated with this idea but I thought it’s worth a debate?

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Don’t forget analysts have a unique vantage point

Carter usefully reminds us, via a post from Jeremiah Omywang, that analysts can do their jobs (provide detailed analysis on market trends and ICT vendor strategies) because they have gained over time un-matched access to leaders at ICT vendors:

Access to those with access – One reason why end users buy analyst advisory subscriptions « SageCircle Blog

Analysts providing advisory services to end users also bring into the mix the ability to cross-reference those sources with end-user input gained through their conversations.

Analysts are often “wicked smart” and sometimes excentric, so when it combines with that level of access on both sides of the marketplace, it always makes up for interesting conversations. That’s one of the reasons why, after all those years, I still find AR exciting and never dull!

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Gartner engages in debates on their blog

Following some critical comments from a vendor on a Magic Quadrant, Gartner analyst Andreas Bitterer posted an answer on his own blog: Setting the Record Straight

While personally I would not say that publically challenging a research piece is likely to produce a positive outcome for a vendor, it’s refreshing to see a Gartner analyst engaging in a public debate on his blog: it does a lot for transparency and credibility of the research.

So, kudos to Andy for taking the time to debate openly.
Related post: IIAR publishes Best Practice Paper on Managing the Gartner MQ

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KCG free webinars

I received KCG’s newsletter recently and they’re organising free analyst relations webinars on the following topics, so I thought I’d share this:

  • Top Ten Tough Time Tips
  • Measuring your AR Program’s Effect
  • Blogs and AR
  • AR and Sales
  • References – the life blood of AR
  • Eight steps to world class AR
  • Ranking and rating analyst events
  • Analysts, Media and Metrics

Note: the IIAR does not partner or endorses those seminars, they are organised by KCG which is an independent commercial organisation.

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Around “JC” Jung, SVP Consulting Services from PAC in 10 question

Today we have the pleasure to welcome our guest analyst for the world famous IIAR ten questions interview: Jean-Christian Jung is a Senior Vice President Consulting Services at PAC (Pierre Audoin Consultants). JC is based in New York and you can read his thoughts on their collective blog.

  1. What are your coverage areas?
    IT Services and sourcing in general, however, I have spent most of my time this year on application-related services particularly around SAP (and to some extent Oracle Apps). SAP is a very hot topic for us right now as we recently launched a dedicated SAP Services Research Practice covering all regions of the world. Concerning my personal role, I concentrate more on the custom/consulting activity than on our off-the-shelf reports. Continue Reading →
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November IIAR Forum (London)

The London November Forum will take place tomorrow, the 26th in London.

The theme will be Green IT and we will have as guest speakers Chris Ingle from IDC, David Metcalfe and Martin Bromfield from Verdantix.

As usual, we’ll finish with a debating dinner.

Members and prospective members can register with Hannah Kirkman, the IIAR’s secretary.

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What’s my job?

I started a draft a long time ago to describe what my job is, and as usual Carter was quicker off the mark 🙂 

He wrote a nice one on Defining “Analyst Relations” (SageCircle Blog), see my comment below his post.

What do you think AR is?

I also bookmarked a while back those links:

Any other links I should add here?

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Kudos to the Gartner Ombudsman for asking tough questions

I read this post on the new Gartner Ombudsman blog today: How confidential is “confidential” information?

It’s about what happens when an analysts defects to join your competitors. Granted, there is no simple answer and in reality we’re in a very incestuous industry, but kudos to Nancy Erskine for asking tough questions.

Personally, my sense is that you should divulge roadmaps to analysts and limit the horizon to 6 months. What do you think?

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Are local analysts “untouched” and influential?

Following a long week at Oracle Open World, I attended the West Coast IIAR meeting organised by Peggy O’Neil from H&K and hosted by Evan Quinn from HP, with several of my colleagues and a room full of AR peers.

Carter from SageCircle interviewed me (and Annemiek Hamelink from Wagged) after that exhausting week:
Oracle’s Ludovic Leforestier with a quick update on the Euro IT analyst landscape « SageCircle Blog

What do you think?

Are independent European firms doing well?
Are they influential and “largely untouched”?

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Around David Mitchell / Ovum in 10 questions

We have the pleasure today of  welcoming David Mitchell, Senior Vice President, IT Research, Ovum and Research Fellow, Datamonitor Group. David has his own blog on IT issues in Asian and other emerging economies: Geosophical Technologies.

  1. What are your coverage areas?

    Very wide. I’ve published about a range of things. In terms of industry verticals I’ve written about telecoms, government, financial services, professional services, retail and construction. In terms of technologies and services I’ve written about BPO, databases, application development, high performance computing, grid computing, software-as-a-service, cloud computing, HCM applications, ERP applications, collaboration technology, Web 2.0, operating systems, IT-Telecoms convergence, eLearining, incentive compensation, the productization of services, and globalization…. to name but a few. There are two areas where I work on consulting projects for customers most often: enterprise applications and commercial deal negotiation.

  2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?

    Just like the IT vendor market the analyst market is also experiencing consolidation. My view is that were looking at a consolidation into around 4-5 global powerhouses, with a number of small regional niche providers still making a decent business – even though it won’t generate massive revenues for them. The consolidation of the global players is only likely to continue, with more of the niche firms being acquired but this will not stop a stream of new firms starting up and growing quite well.  Scale
    or specialization are the most important criteria going forwards. Specialization can be by geography, technology or business theme but it needs to be resonate with a focused buying audience. Small and generalist is not a good place to be.


  3. What’s your typical day like?

    Typical day… no such thing, as I travel so much and spend as much time away from the office as I spend in it. When I’m in the office the day day normally starts about 6.30 a.m. with catch-up calls with Asia Pacific staff and clients. Middle part of the day is focused on meetings with UK clients and staff, and research briefings -both formal and informal. The day tails off about 7 p.m. with US calls with clients and staff, before getting home about 8.30 p.m. I rarely do less than a 60 hour week.

  4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
    Not a horror story but a dislike. I will do everything possible to avoid events held in Las Vegas. It’s a city that I dislike a great deal and that I can see no redeeming qualities in.

  5. How do you position your firm? What is your business model? (where are your revenues coming from, mix between users and vendors?)

    Ovum’s revenue is primarily focused on our syndicated client base, with the majority of our revenue coming from this source. Consulting and ad hoc revenue comes from the analyst teams and our consulting teams, including the Orbys sourcing advisory business that Ovum acquired post-IPO. Revenue is well balanced between vendors and enterprise buyers, something that we believe is important for the integrity of the advice that we provide but also gives greater revenue predictability than a reliance on either community would. We also have a good geographic revenue balance across EMEA, US and APAC markets.

  6. What is your research methodology, in 255 characters or less?  (primary research, F2F or phone, secondary only, etc…)

    Most of my research is done face-to-face or in phone interviews with vendors and enterprises. I’m a firm believer that a detailed dialogue, probably only loosely structured, gives a much greater insight that questionnaire driven methods alone. Across the firm we use the entire range of research methods from large-scale quantitative surveys, small group sessions, secondary research and every other technique that you’d expect. We’ve got one or two interesting research methods that we think offer us competitive advantage but you wouldn’t expect me to share those in a way that competitors could
    copy.


  7. Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? Any why?

    Too many to single out any individual. Among the talented people that I’ve worked with are Peggy O’Neil, Carter Lusher, Evan Quinn, Naomi Higgins, Paula Schmidt… They’ve all got one thing in common… they invest time in building relationships between the vendor and the analyst.

  8. What are your offerings and key deliverables?

    From the Ovum software team the most important deliverables are the product evaluations that customers to help them make selection decisions. The equivalent from the IT Services team are the Ovum Navigators. Our country profiles that look at opportunities in emerging markets, not just BRIC, are becoming more important for our vendor clients – looking to expand into new markets. Our
    detailed UK market coverage continues to be popular, as does our government research.


  9. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?

    I’ve recently invested in an aquarium and have started to keep marine fish. It takes a lot of time and patience but it’s also quite relaxing. Genealogy is another one of my hobbies; delving back into the history of our family.

    Favourite restaurants… Le Manoir  aux Quat’Saisons in Great Milton, The Peat Inn near St. Andrews, Bobo’s in San Francisco, Doyles at the Quay in Sydney, Hutong in Hong Kong, Monte’s Trattoria on MacDougal in New York, Vivat Bacchus near our London office, and Locanda Locatelli in the West End of London.

  10. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?

    Fatigue. The next six months already looks incredibly busy. Bookings for client projects are looking extremely strong and there engagements that will take me on at least a dozen long haul trips in
    the next 6 months. On top of client engagements are a range of research projects that involve clients from around the world. The second biggest challenge is to continue to expand the Ovum IT research team, something that we’ve spent a lot of the past 6 months investing in.
  11. Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work  you rate highly?

    Steve Hodgkinson in our Melbourne office. As well as being an extremely creative and visionary analyst he also has a great practical touch, useful when advising the CIO client base that he works
    with across Asia-Pacific.

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Why AR professionals should consider joining IIAR « SageCircle Blog

Carter Lusher and Peggy O’Neil have articulated better than I could have the benefits of the IIAR for its members after last week’s meeting:
Why AR professionals should consider joining IIAR « SageCircle Blog

And I take the opportunity to thank Peggy, who joined the IIAR board together with Sally Elliott from BT, for organising this meeting and Evan Quinn from HP for hosting the meeting with panache and good food 🙂

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Analysts: When you’re looking for a briefing – help me to help you

As much as Analyst Relations professionals spend time pitching briefings to analysts, we also spend alot of time fielding briefing requests from analysts with specific needs whodon’t always appreciate how much work is required to set up a briefing. Before we actually get everyone in the same room or on the phone, we AR professionals need to:

  • Understand the depth and scope of the information requested by the analyst: is it strategic, forward-looking and under NDA or is it available in existing content such as publicly delivered decks, collateral or online content
  • Identify the right spokesperson(s): is she/he authorised? AR trained? Does he/she have all the knowledge or do we need multiple spokespeople?
  • Select the best delivery method for this content and how long will it take: are we talking about an all-day live demo or will a series of shorter phone-based conversations do the trick?
  • Make sure the content is right: Does the spokesperson knows how does this fit into the overall corporate messages? If based locally, is the spokesperson familiar enough with the Corporate content and possible future releases and other upcoming stuff?
  • Do we need to include customer or partner evidence and, if so, what form does that need to take: a case study or a phone call w/ an actual customer?

We then need to steal time from those people’s day. For instance, if it’s a local briefing using pre-sales, how can we justify spending one full day of on screen demo with a local analyst when that resource could be working on a RFI for an important deal?

All that is not always easy, even if good AR folks are like swans: maintaining serene appearances while paddling frantically.

How can analysts help then? By being specific and actionable. For instance, if you just write a show email asking for a meeting like the one below, it doesn’t contain enough information to be truly actionable:

Good morning dear X,
How are you? Very well I hope. I have learnt that you had taken over responsibility for topic X at Vendor A.
I just wanted to make sure you knew that our firm had invested in the space and we now have a full time analyst covering topic X. His name is Y.
Could we schedule some time to meet, and we could perhaps meet some people on your team?

The easiest is to send us a professional (rather than personal), corporate-sounding email, that we can easily forward stating the following:

  • Who you are and what your firm does?
  • Your areas of coverage?
  • How the briefing you’re asking fits into your research schedule?
  • What is the research process you’re using?
  • What’s the end deliverable? A report? How long? Does it mention other vendors? Who’s the intended audience?
    Etc….

It doesn’t need to be War and Peace but it does need to contain enough information to help the AR professional fulfil your request as quickly and completely as possible.

Thanks to Naomi Higgins for her contribution to this post.

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Around Neil Ward-Dutton / MWD in 10 questions

Neil Ward-Dutton from MWD Advisors

This week, it is my pleasure to welcome one of the Neils of MWD Advisors.com, only shortly after he kindly participated at our last IIAR Forum: Neil Ward-Dutton. Those two ex-Ovum analyst have founded MWD in 2005, and this year have hired two more analysts and launched their first continuous advisory services. They also have a blog called On IT-business alignment, and related thing.
  1. What are your coverage areas?
    At MWD we organise ourselves around two things: “IT competency areas” (like process management, governance, software delivery, collaboration and so on) and “disruptive trends” (things like SOA, SaaS, virtualisation, Web 2.0, and so on). In our model, these form a matrix that we try and cover. As well as helping to run the company my main job at the moment is to run our research programme in the process management competency area, and also help to lead our work in SOA.
  2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
    How long have you got? This is a question I’ve spent many hours debating (mainly in bars at conferences). There’s a lot of talk, amongst both our vendor and enterprise customers, about dissatisfaction with the inflexibility, high prices and complexity of dealing with the big firms. However they still have a huge amount of momentum in the market and massive mindshare, and that isn’t going to change significantly any time soon I don’t think. I like to think of them as “the furniture” – we can’t compete with them directly; they’ll always be there. They’re a bit like IBM and Microsoft in the enterprise software market. Still, though, we see a lot of opportunity for firms like MWD which are prepared to think differently and work really hard to deliver great customer service. I was recently asked about the outlook for MWD, given the uncertain economic conditions, at an IIAR round table event. My response, which I’ll stick by, is that the quality of our work and our pricing structure mean that we find there’s no shortage of business out there for us – our main challenge right now is finding the resources to go after it in the most effective way.
  3. What’s your typical day like?
    Long. But fun. The best days are spent working with customers face-to-face, helping them solve problems, or working through ideas with my teammates; the worst days are spent doing back-office stuff
  4. How do you position your firm? What is your business model?
    We’re an advisory firm focused on helping organisations align IT and business, and maximise the business value they get from their IT investments. Our starting point in everything we do is that focus. When we started the business we decided we needed to build a community and a footprint in the market: so we decided to give all our research reports away for free for the first 3 years. So until this year, all our revenue came from one-on-one consulting – with vendors and with enterprises. We’ve just launched two subscription advisory services, though, and these offer a layer of “value added” research reports and interactive decision support tools separately from our free “guest pass” research library. These are pitched primarily at European enterprises, but we’re also selling them to vendors.
  5. What is your research methodology?
    We use f2f and phone-based primary research with vendors (looking at capabilities, directions, SWOT etc) and enterprises (uncovering perceptions, challenges, maturity, etc). Some of our enterprise research in done in partnership with Freeform Dynamics.
  6. Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve atttended.
    At a big analyst event last year, held at a swanky hotel, we had beautiful weather but most of the sessions were scheduled in a set of dark, windowless rooms in the basement. In one breakout, the session leader said “sod it, let’s go outside”. So rather than stand up and give a prepared death-by-Powerpoint talk, he took a group of us outside. We sat by the pool and had a great, informal round-table discussion. He was prepared to go off-piste, and I think that he (and the rest of us) got much more out of the session as a result.
  7. What are your offerings and key deliverables?
    As mentioned above our big focus right now is our new annual subscription advisory and research services (we currently offer one focused on BPM, and another focused on collaboration). These provide a mixture of vendor capability comparison tools, European best practice research and case studies, European market maturity research and enquiry time. They have “open licensing” terms that allow anyone in a customer organisation to access the research and (if the customer wants) place enquiries. In addition to these packaged products we offer custom enterprise consulting services (strategy reviews, procurement assistance, benchmarking and best practice workshops primarily) and vendor consulting services (quarterly strategy/messaging review retainers, competitive intelligence input, speaking at customer/partner events, and some very tightly-controlled creation of vendor-neutral thought leadership papers). We’re always developing new ideas, so check back regularly!

  8. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
    When I’m not working or spending time with my son, I try to find time to play guitar, write songs, grow veg and cook for friends. I’m currently trying to persuade my wife that we can keep chickens. If I ever have a chunk of money that I can throw at something completely self-indulgent I’ll always aim to take my wife to a really good restaurant.
  9. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
    For the next 6 months: continue to build our new advisory services business on a shoestring, so we can invest in some dedicated sales, marketing and customer service resources. For the next 30 min: finish some emails before my crappy laptop battery runs out…
  10. Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work  you rate highly?
    Well of course I think my MWD co-founder, Neil Macehiter, is a brilliant analyst and consultant. Without him we’d be all over the place. But outside MWD, I’ve also had the privilege of working with lots of great analysts. Dale Vile, Gary Barnett, Katy Ring, Jessica Figueras and Eric Woods (in no particular order) all spring to mind.
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