Author Archive | jonnybentwood

And the IIAR Analyst of the Year 2011 is…

For the fourth year running, AR professionals have been polled to select the analyst and firms they consider the best best for thought leadership, ease to do business with, influence and value for money.

The IIAR is delighted to announce that this year’s IIAR Analyst of the Year 2011 goes to…

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Analyst technology predictions 2011

(Edit – updated with more predictions. Computing have taken extracts and copied on their site – if anyone spots the citation please let me know!)

[Originally posted on Technobabble 2.0] Every year industry analysts formally put their reputation on the line and make predictions for the next 12 months. This post aims to summarise their views in one place – I recommend you click on the links by each post if you want to read more detail.

And for a bit of fun, why don’t you also compare how they did last year on this post

Firms included are: Gartner, Ovum, CCS Insight, Nucleus Research, HfS,  Infotrends, Quocirca, IHS Screen Digest, Forrester, Disruptive Analysis Continue Reading →

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The IIAR Analyst of the Year 2010

This year the IIAR conducted the largest survey yet to identify who AR pro’s believe are the best firms and analysts in the market. These awards, summarising the votes of over 150 participants, reflect a significant change from previous winners and demonstrate that in a year of monetary uncertainty more focus has been spent geared towards the large international houses as oppose to the regional boutiques.

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Introducing constellation research

When Ray Wang explains the thinking behind the newest analyst firm on the market, a few words are frequently used:

Disruption –  Experience – Research

These areas are at the crux of what Constellation Research is about and are probably the reasons why I believe that they will automatically be listed as a Tier One firm – something that is critical if they are to survive.

Disruption

Ray clearly states that they will partner with their clients to:

Guide buyers through a dizzying array of disruptive business models and technologies

The words that jump out at me here are ‘buyers’ and ‘disruption’.  This firm has a focus on end users – this is nirvana for vendors and something that many peers in the industry aspire to have in their client base. The objective is to have 70% buy-side business which considering they are starting day 0 with this number at 60% makes me believe that this isn’t wishful thinking.

The focus on disruptive technologies is prudent – whereas there are hundreds of analysts covering every aspect of technology, Ray has pragmatically realised that there is a need to bring order to chaos and advise people on trends, buyers’ POV and  technology in an independent and objective fashion. Continue Reading →

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Analyst ethics?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Who guards the guards? This is a question that my peers and I have been discussing for some time. We are in a quandary. Analysts and analyst relations live in a symbiotic relationship where we need each other to thrive – you could argue that we are each others PR team in that the success of one group inevitably helps the other.

Conversely, the effect of a ‘bad apple’ impinges on us all. And so the question remains – who polices the analyst industry? Continue Reading →

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IIAR Analyst of the Year

IIAR Analyst of the Year

IIAR analyst of the year survey

For the past few years, the IIAR has sought to indentify the analysts and firms who deserve recognition. In a world where most firms are only contacted by vendors because we want to brief or learn something from them, it is appropriate that once per year we pause and think – who did a damn good job and why?

It is not always the biggest analyst house that wins or the individual with the most twitter followers – what this survey has continued to show is that integrity, independence and market knowledge are the analyst qualities that are most highly valued by AR professionals.

This is a global survey with awards recognised for specific topic areas, globally and by region. There’s only 10 questions and won’t take more than a few minutes to please take part.

This survey is open to all in the AR industry – whether you are an independent, in-house or at an agency. Your vote counts so please vote now.

You can discuss this survey on twitter with the hashtag #iiarsurvey or share the link: bit.ly/iiarsurvey

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IIAR Analyst of the year 2010

IIAR Analyst of the Year Next week the IIAR Analyst of the Year survey will be launched. This is an annual award that AR pros vote on to praise the analysts who they think are the best.

The survey is in it’s final stages of being completed – my ask to you is..

what questions do you want to ensure are included?

Put your comments below and we’ll try and make sure they are included.

For previous years results check out the following links:

2009 winners

2008 winners

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Webcast: Impact of Social Media on the Analyst Industry

Register for the Webcast: The Impact of Social Media on the Analyst Industry
A Roundtable Discussion with Jonny Bentwood, Barbara French, Carter Lusher, and Jeremiah Owyang
Wednesday, July 21st at 5pm-6pm UK, 9am-10am Pacific
Tag is #SocialAnalyst, Link for topic recommendations: http://bit.ly/9IBfmF

image Over the past dozen years I have been in numerous briefings with analysts where they talk with vendors about the convergence of technologies and how this will impact their business. Who would have thought that the analyst industry themselves would have to go through its own disruption to understand how to differentiate, maintain/gain advantage with the unworldly beast of social media.

When IP is what makes an analyst firm thrive, how do the analysts compete with the new behaviours associated with online conversations. Whereas previously communication existed in a dynamic two way conversation, nowadays the multiple stakeholders in a community can engage freely and easily to share their opinions and thoughts dynamically. One could argue:

do vendors and buyers still need the ‘experts’ of the analyst world or are they merely expensive middle men? Why use them when they can go direct?

Perhaps my earlier point calling this period a convergence is wrong, this is a collision of behaviour in its most fundamental form. Analyst firms need to adapt their business model and differentiate to stay alive.

Discussing these issues and more with me are the goliaths of the analyst and AR world:

Register for this webcast now, places are limited so don’t delay. If you would like to suggest specific topics to be covered you can do so by leaving a comment on this post or on Jeremiah’s.

The shortlink for this is http://bit.ly/9IBfmF and is tagged: #SocialAnalyst

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iSuppli (intends to) buy Screen Digest

The analyst market is currently in a constant state of flux with different firms struggling to find their niche. One size certainly does not fit all in this market which is why every time I see an acquisition I try and understand where this one fits.

Recently iSupply made their intentions known that they were going to buy Screen Digest. Ben Keen (the man in charge of SD in London) spoke to be on the phone yesterday and shared with me his diplomatic answers regarding how things were going to change… Continue Reading →

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Downfall: Gartner MQ and learnings

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjG8KivYFZ0]

Late last week I resurrected a common meme around Hitler’s downfall video but this time applied it to analyst relations.

In the original post, I simply let the parody of the video speak for itself but after reviewing the many comments on the blog and on twitter, I have noticed that quite a few people are commenting about what they can learn from this.

Needless to say, when AR is done well the scenario that this video portrays should never happen. Here are some of the key points:

There is some argument as to whether we need to do any EMEA outreach or whether it is sufficient to just speak to those in the US

Being an EMEA AR pro, this one really irks me. Even though the US analysts may sometimes be the lead for a specific topic area, this is not always the case. What’s more when end users wish to buy a solution they often ask the local analysts in their region for guidance. If you haven’t spoken to them, how can you hope for positive commentary. Finally the EMEA analysts can often give valuable advice regarding how to refine the messaging to make it more relevant for their geography as well as give advice on local issues that may not be important in other regions.

We are only positioned as a challenger. They scored us down because we didn’t provide enough customer evidence

There should never be any surprises when it comes to the MQ being published. Make sure you run plenty of inquiries and SAS days to fully understand where the analysts are positioning you and why and what you need to do to change their perception. Do the process and document everything and obviously you should make sure that your executive team are prepared for the eventual placement and understand why you are positioned where you are.

We were positioned well in the Forrester Wave… a well-respected alternative

Always investigate alternatives. Despite many execs and sales people often being incapably of looking beyond the MQ, there are many tools and analysts out there. It all depends on your objectives and defining which solution is right for you.

There are many more things you can take from this video as I have tried to include as many clichés as possible. Most importantly remember that this is created in jest as a parody for our wonderful AR industry. I hope you like it.

 

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Breaking AR news – Gartner buys Burton Group

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Edit: If you would like to listen to the the podcast discussing this with Jonathan Yarmis, Dennis Howlett, Naomi Higgins and myself held on 6 Jan at 11.30 EST – please click on the following link: MP3 Link to podcast or play direct from below.

Breaking news just out: Gartner buys Burton Group for $56m

In news just out Gartner have bought Burton Group. This acquisition is another smart move by the 800lb gorilla where they have taken a best-of-breed provider and incorporated into their portfolio.

Gartner’s strength has traditionally been on advising CxO’s about what their technology decisions should be. However, this speciality was also their downfall with firms often seeking a partnership between Gartner (to supply the vision and strategy) and a boutique house (to focus on frontline issues for IT Pros). This move is smart in that (for America at least), they have bought a company that specialises on delivering value to ‘front-line IT professionals’.

Just as when Gartner bought AMR and they strengthened their supply-chain capabilities, this move will help companies cut down their costs by only hiring one firm where previously they may have gone for two. This is no doubt a pragmatic step and greatly enhances their offerings. The main downside is that Burton is only strong in the US. Will we see Gartner also look to buy specialist firms in EMEA too? If so, it would be a prudent decision.

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Is shooting on the referee productive?

Originally posted here: Contentious conversations in analyst relations

As a side note, shooting on the referee rarely helps -the IIAR now has a best practice paper on how to deal with the Gartner Magic quadrants available to our member on our extranet.

Contentious conversation 1 – integrity of analysts and the future of AR

Blog my Tom Bittman from Gartner – A Rant – My Integrity as an Analyst

Summary: Gartner analyst angry that he has to justify his integrity

My view: Edelman trust barometer consistently shows that over the past few years analysts are the most trusted

Key comments: Vinnie Mirchandani questioning whether Gartner’s reliance on large vendor subscriptions means that their reports are truly representative

What this means:

There is an ongoing fight regarding how independent an analyst can be if they receive money from vendors. Whereas some firms in the past have been ‘White Paper for hire’ houses, they tend to lose industry respect very quickly and go bust. What can not be in doubt is that in subscribing to an analyst house, you have the ability to pay for more time in front of the analysts leading to a greater chance to educate them – often this will result in a more favourable position. I am not saying that to be successful in AR you need to have subs, it is more a case of – it helps.

The secondary argument (and possibly more important) is by having a look at who the key participants in this debate are. On one side we have the analyst and the other we have the IT advisor. The latter group frequently comes from an analyst background (see Vinnie Mirchandani, ex-Gartner; Ray Wang, ex-Forrester) but in their current role do not have a research agenda. By default this does not make them (in their mind) an analyst.

However, I believe we are playing semantics. Our view in AR needs to be simple: if they affect IT buying then they are an influencer and need to be dealt with accordingly. AR most closely deals with these individuals – we may need to adapt a different name so that they don’t get upset by being labelled analysts but they will remain a key audience for us to engage with and should continue to enjoy the same disclosure benefits that traditional analysts enjoy. With the growth of firms like Altimeter Group, this fundamental shift towards a larger influencer group will become more important than ever over the next few years.

 

Contentious conversation 2 – analysts liable for ‘incorrect’ positioning

Article in IT Knowledge Exchange – Email archiving vendor sues Gartner over Magic Quadrant

Summary: Claiming that Gartner’s MQ constitute “disparaging, false/misleading, and unfair statements” about its email archiving product that have done damage to its sales prospects, ZL filed suit for damages of $132 million to account for lost sales.

My view: This fight has caused great PR for ZL but someone’s position in an MQ should not be a surprise. If a vendor believes they are unfairly positioned the time to argue this point is before the quadrant is published.

Key comments:

The power of a positive ranking in Gartner is immense because it is often the case that large purchases of technology are based exclusively on the MQ Reports…For instance, the Office of the Inspector General, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently conducted an investigation into the use of the Gartner’s MQ reports in connection with the VA’s $16,000,0000 purchase of certain leases and services from Dell. The Office of Inspector General reported that the VA made this large purchase based solely on the leadership rankings in the relevant Gartner MQ report. (source: initial complaint)

In Mark Logic’s excellent analysis of this case, he makes the following comment about whether having the best technology means that someone should be positioned superior to another company who simply has better sales and marketing.

While Ingres arguably had the best database technology in the 1980s, Oracle’s sales and marketing prowess caused it to win the market and any analyst who — focused solely on the technology — would have recommended Ingres at that time would have done his customers a disservice.”

What this means:

Like it or not, Gartner are the original 800lb gorilla. Whether it is right or wrong, the fact remains that their MQ inherently has an influence in IT buying behaviour. What AR pros need to do is work with the analyst ideally six months prior to any publication to fully understand what success criteria are to be better positioned as a leader and work towards those goals. A great way to understand how to work with an MQ can be seen in the great IIAR White Paper.

We have to accept that the firm with the best technology does not always win (see Betamax vs. VHS) – for a company to be successful, they will need to have a great product that is complemented by a sound go-to-market strategy. Luckily for us this is where AR can help.

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The Superstars: Ray Wang, Jeremiah Owyang and Deb Schultz join Charlene Li at Altimeter

Pop quiz…

Question: what do you get if you combine the analyst of the year (Ray Wang), the analyst blogger of the year  and author of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies (Charlene Li), the most influential social media analyst (Jeremiah Owyang) and the previous lead of the Social Media Lab at Proctor & Gamble in one analyst firm?

Answer: The superstars or the galacticos of the IT advisory world – now currently partners at Altimeter Group.

There has been a great deal of speculation ever since Jeremiah announced he was leaving Forrester as to where he would end up. The result is an incredibly smart one.

Ever since Charlene jumped the ship and setup Altimeter her mission has been to focus less upon future trends to a more pragmatic customer-focused model. She explains:

Instead of worrying about the next wave of technology, focus on what your customers are using – or not using yet.

I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with Jeremiah to understand what the future brings…

 

What is Altimeter Group?

We are a company that focused on emerging technologies. Whereas yesteryear people looked at faxes and mobiles – now the focus is social media. Now the big disrupter is social. Change is coming at an increased pace but companies don’t have a policy to respond. Altimeter aims to help companies by evaluating technologies, identify key players and let people test in a safe setting.

The future of business requires a holistic approach to adapting and integrating emerging technologies.

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Are you an analyst house?

We are not an analyst firm  – we are consultants. This is because an analyst is someone who has a research agenda. Instead we would like to have a few select relationships with clients and guide them through this process.

 

What are you each going to cover?

image

 

Ray mentioned specifically that he is:

Looking at bridging today’s world of enterprise apps with the E2.0 world of connected business platforms

 

What’s unique to Altimeter Group?

One of our key announcements is The Hanger

Physical and virtual spaces to facilitate experimentation

I think this is a great idea as it will enable that testing station in a safe environment to evaluate the most appropriate technology for a client. Surely this is better than installing it, paying thousands on consultancy support only to find it was the wrong thing to do.

 

How do you hope to remain as influential now that you have left Forrester?

It’s quite interesting to see that I have already lost quite a few subscriptions from my blog after I left. Some people value the Forrester brand over mine. However, what I am after is to seek fewer relationships more in a deeper capacity. I want to have long term relationships with clients

 

What type of customers will you be targeting?

Primarily these will be large brands. However, we would also expect a small set of clients to be vendors who want help with their product. The percentage split will still be more end users./brands vs. vendors. The priority will always be  to help the buyers first.

 

You are all based in the US – any thoughts of having a more global reach – or does this not matter as social media enables global communities?

If things go well, we will go where our clients are but no plans yet.

 

Opinion

There are two major impacts on this announcement.

The first is understanding how the business model has changed. Jeremiah positions his company via an analogy of a general contractor for a building project. What they want to do is ensure that the blueprints and plans are right before anything is built. I like this model as it is far more pragmatic for buyers.

From an AR point of view, the main difference is that they are not analysts.

They are not out to replace Forrester. In fact, what they are set to do is complement analyst thinking. They are a small company based in the US that is not out to compete against Forrester think it is a moot point in the whole definition game of ‘what is an analyst’ – the key thing to remember from an AR perspective is that they are influencers in the buying process and must be respected and engaged with as such.

 

End note: This post was meant to be published at 5pm UK when the embargo was lifted. However, seeing as this has now been broken and Ray Wang has given permission for it to go early, this has now been posted.

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Analyst of the year (Part 2)

Honesty, integrity, knowledge, curiosity, insight, passion, respect and influence

These characteristics were repeatedly highlighted when AR Pro’s were asked to identify the analyst house and individual who they wanted to recognise as being the best in the industry. This second post in the “analyst of the year” series aims to highlight individuals and firms who are seen as the best in the industry regardless of their speciality sector. See here for the first post.

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. 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.

Without further ado, here are the results:

Global Analyst of the Year

1st Ray Wang, Forrester
2nd Jon Collins, Freeform Dynamics
3rd David Mitchell, Ovum
4th James Governor, RedMonk
5th Steve Blood, Gartner

This is an incredible coup for Ray having been named the analyst of the year in 2008. Some people have argued whether his influence will diminish now that he has left Forrester but in my opinion, when we get to the cream of the analysts, companies seeking to work with analyst houses tend to invest in the individual rather than the firm they work for. Ray has of course now left Forrester and joined Charlene Li as a Partner at Altimeter Group looking at bridging today’s world of enterprise apps with the E2.0 world of connected business platforms. Commenting on this award, he explained:

It’s a great honor to be recognized by the IIAR, especially in a year where clients challenge analysts to provide more actionable and personalized 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.

I mentioned this last point in the previous post but believe it is worth reiterating as to why so many European analysts tend to feature so well. At first analysis, I was immediately concerned over the relatively high number of awards that have gone to EMEA-based analysts and firms thinking that this was due to the physical location of the voters.

However, 72% of all respondents were based in the US or Canada.

My personal view is that whereas a great deal of syndicated research tends to get created and published from the US, the European analysts have to rely on their revenue stream coming from their local market knowledge, deep messaging insights and customer focus. To put it bluntly, they need to prove value otherwise they will be out of a job. This point may well be the most contentious and I am happy to discuss this point further.

 

Global Analyst House of the Year

1st Gartner
2nd Forrester
3rd IDC
4th Ovum
5th AMR

This year has seen the larger, global firms dominate the awards when it comes to sector importance. It is of little surprise therefore that when it came to picking an individual firm who represented the highest value, Gartner came top. Their success should not be underestimated. In a time when many firms are cutting back on their analyst expenditure, the fact that the Gartner remains so highly recommended (even though they are far from cheap) is tantamount to the calibre of people they have working for them as well as their relevance and influence they bring to the table. Peter Sondergaard, SVP & Global Head of Research, Gartner was delighted at Gartner’s recognition and explained:

We really value this feedback from the analyst relations community as we are fully committed to constantly improving the quality of our products and the service we provide to all our clients worldwide.

I am especially pleased to see that Ovum and AMR can be recognised after they both missed winning ‘importance’ awards by sector by coming in fourth place. As an aside, and similar the UK premier league, it is always refreshing and healthy for there to be a highly competitive market where the larger firms cannot rest on their laurels and must continue to innovate or be overtaken by the competition.

EMEA Analyst of the Year

1st Jon Collins, Freeform Dynamics
2nd David Mitchell, Ovum
3rd James Governor, RedMonk
4th Steve Blood, Gartner
5th Neil Rickard, Gartner

It has been a great year in Europe for boutiques. These firms, more than any, have had to challenge traditional analyst business models and the boundaries in which they operate such that the art of defining what an analyst is and does has had to change. Nevertheless, a few firms with considerably fewer analysts have seen their share of voice rise disproportionately – within the market they are recognised by AR Pros as being able to contribute a level of service that is exemplary. Jon Collins, who has recently taken over the role as MD at Freeform Dynamics explained upon receiving his award:

I’m delighted to be called out, I see this as a vote of confidence not just for me but the whole Freeform Dynamics team, not to mention its collaborative philosophy and approach, which keeps us all grounded in the real world of mainstream IT usage and makes this job such a pleasure to do.

 

EMEA Analyst House of the Year

1st Gartner
2nd Freeform Dynamics
3rd Forrester
4th RedMonk
5th Quocirca

Gartner once again steal the show. With a solid presence of industry experts, they are recognised as being the best in the region. However, a significant number of ‘boutiques’ also make the top 5 – edging out likely candidates such as IDC and Ovum. In the previous post I explained that it is of little surprise that firms are cutting back and focusing on the analyst houses that have the greatest global reach. However, it is somewhat refreshing that other houses have managed to carve out their own niches – notably: Verdantix and Quocirca in the green IT space and RedMonk and MWD in the developer/ IT Pro sector. It is in these smaller, areas where ‘boutique’ firms have managed to push their own USP and become sector leaders.

 

Comparing important analysts and ‘analyst of the year’

it’s quite an interesting dichotomy between the analysts who were voted as most important by their coverage areas (as it highlights perceived expertise) compared to the analyst of the year overall ranking. The characteristics that stand-out amongst this crowd are difficult to combine but necessary to be a good analyst:

  • Social/Relationship (ease to deal with)
  • Domain Expertise
  • Influence/Presentation skills

 

Final thoughts

My congratulations go to all the firms and individuals who have been recognised with awards. The third and final post to be published in a couple of weeks will look at which firms provide the greatest offering for bespoke research, consulting/inquiry and reports. It will also identify which firms have increased in relevance the most over the past year and the key reasons why people tend to work with analysts in the first place.

As I complete this second post, a statement that Vinnie Mirchandani made to me when I was discussing the definition of an industry analyst sticks to my mind:

“analysts” are just a small subset of a 1000 points of influence

Regardless of the debate regarding ‘who is an analyst?’ – a clear point remains. We work in a time where those that can influence buying decisions are in high demand. If analysts wish to remain a significant player within this, they must continue to offer the level of service and value that the firms and individuals who have been recognised by the IIAR in these awards provide.

 

Methodology

1) Entrants:

This survey was open to anyone who works in analyst relations in any country, either in-house or at an agency/consultancy. In order for someone’s entry to be validated, they had to submit their email address and company name to verify they not an impostor trying to distort the results. This personal information will not be distributed or used beyond sending copies of the results to all participant. The survey was open for specific period of time and IP addresses were taken to ensure that someone could not vote twice. A total of 137 AR Pros completed this survey.

2) Questions:

The survey specifically focused on an individual’s perception of the analyst world. A full list of every analyst house was made available for respondents to select their preference.

3) Segmentation:

Respondents were asked to specify their submissions based upon geography and segment. Based upon these criteria further analysis could be made of the results to identify specific regional or segment champions.

If you have any questions or comments about this survey please contact me (@jonnybentwood)

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Analyst of the year 2009 (part 1)

In a year where analysts have had to prove their worth to fight back against the reduction in discretionary spend, we would like to applaud those companies and individuals who have shown a commitment to providing a service that goes above and beyond what is expected.

This series of blog posts will showcase the results of the recent ‘Analyst of the Year Survey’. The results of this survey were collated over a three month period during which time 137 AR pros responded to a questionnaire available on surveymonkey.

In case you are wondering, the highest accolade of “Analyst of the Year” and “Analyst Firm of the Year” will be announced in the second post in this series.

 

Results (part 1)

Most Important Analyst House

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Most Important Analysts

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*NB. Not enough data was collected on “important consumer analysts” to make the results confident.

Opinion on Firm Importance

Note – this post refers to ‘importance’ NOT analyst of the year which will be covered in the next post.

When I compare the results from last year there seems to be a significant trend to the larger international houses. Gartner, Forrester and IDC seem to haul in the majority of opinions as to which firm is the most important.

Perhaps it is of little surprise that firms are cutting back and focusing on the analyst houses that have the greatest global reach. However, it is somewhat refreshing that other houses also are listed and have managed to carve out their own niches – notably: Verdantix and Quocirca in the green IT space and RedMonk and MWD in the developer/ IT Pro sector. It is in these smaller, areas where ‘boutique’ firms have managed to push their own USP and become sector leaders. Whether this was by choice or accident, I don’t mind but perhaps this is a new trend that we should monitor.

It is also worth giving a special mention to both AMR and Ovum who between them seemed to just miss out as they both made a high number of 4th places.

 

Opinion on Analyst Importance

There is a partial correlation between analyst house importance and analyst importance with a few significant exceptions. Most notably where people attach more importance on the individual rather than the company. This could be because of the bespoke value they give to firms and their unique intelligence and insight.

Notable analysts who fall into this category include David Mitchell from Ovum, Ray Wang from Forrester and James Governor from RedMonk.

David Mitchell, commenting on the results said:

Being recognized by your customers is always an honour, especially when the recognition comes from the IIAR and its members. Being recognized in enterprise, software, and services is especially gratifying.

 

European excellence

Even though the IIAR is based in  the UK, the fact that new chapters are opening up around the world is testament to the fact that this survey was truly global in its reach. At first analysis, I was immediately concerned over the relatively high number of awards that have gone to EMEA-based analysts and firms thinking that this was due to the physical location of the voters.

However, 72% of all respondents were based in the US or Canada.

As to why the Europeans tend to so well…

My personal view is that whereas a great deal of syndicated research tends to get created and published from the US, the European analysts have to rely on their revenue stream coming from their local market knowledge, deep messaging insights and customer focus. To put it bluntly, they need to prove value otherwise they will be out of a job. This point may well be the most contentious and I am happy to discuss this point further.

Given that there are NO US boutique analysts that appear in the “most important” list, perhaps the question that should be raised is “what gives European based analysts this reputation in the US but not vice versa?”

 

What factors make someone pick a firm or individual as important

Brand, sales coverage and processes (to ensure the quality, independence and exhaustiveness of the research) are universally important.  So is the impact that an analyst firm has on deals.

Individual traits include: bringing unique insights to the table, being easy to deal with, delivering value to end users and vendors with each interaction, and understand user needs whilst providing tangible real world benefits.

In the second of this series of blog posts, the coveted “Analyst of the Year” and “Analyst Firm of the Year” will be announced.

Methodology

1) Entrants:

This survey was open to anyone who works in analyst relations in any country, either in-house or at an agency/consultancy. In order for someone’s entry to be validated, they had to submit their email address and company name to verify they not an impostor trying to distort the results. This personal information will not be distributed or used beyond sending copies of the results to all participant. The survey was open for specific period of time and IP addresses were taken to ensure that someone could not vote twice.

2) Questions:

The survey specifically focused on an individual’s perception of the analyst world. A full list of every analyst house was made available for respondents to select their preference.

3) Segmentation:

Respondents were asked to specify their submissions based upon geography and segment. Based upon these criteria further analysis could be made of the results to identify specific regional or segment champions.

If you have any questions or comments about this survey please contact me (@jonnybentwood)

 

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The growth of twitter (with analysts)

Everyone knows that Twitter is huge. Not a day goes by without another story showing how it saved someone’s life, broke a news story first or has fundamentally changed the way we think – its growth and entry into everyday life could justifiably allow its usage to be called (in technobabble bingo) a ‘paradigm shift’.

The questions I have been debating focus on growth. Specifically:

  • Does news fuel growth in Twitter or does uptake fuel news?
  • Do analysts (as supposed ‘fortune tellers’) get it right and are they ahead of the curve or mere sheep?
  • Why is this important?

To answer these questions, I have looked at my favourite community of analysts. With a little help from Carter Lusher’s analyst twitter directory as well as my own research, it has been possible to monitor the uptake of analysts on Twitter.

One of the fortunate aspects of using analysts as the criteria for this search is that there are very few closed communities that we can easily track growth in – if you know any let me know and I’ll add them to the table.

The graph below shows the growth of analyst participation on twitter, compared to twitter in the news (as shown by Google Trends) and unique visitors to twitter (as shown by Compete).

image

Does news fuel growth in Twitter or does uptake fuel news?
Not surprisingly the two are well connected – with a clear conclusion that in the early part of this year news significantly drove new visitors to twitter.

Do analysts (as supposed ‘fortune tellers’) get it right and are they ahead of the curve or mere sheep?
Analysts appear to be ahead of the curve. Whereas there is still a clear relationship between their uptake on news/growth they still seem to be slightly in front of the trend.

Why is this important?
It is an analysts job to understand technology trends. Obviously sometimes they get it wrong but if they get it right and predict that we should be using product x as it will be the next big thing – then, I will use it too. Our role as communication professionals is to engage with our key audiences no matter where they have these discussions.

The recommendation I would make is that we continue to monitor what the analysts predict are the major changes in how people use social media. There is a great advantage in being an early adopter of a product – such as being a trusted participant. Whereas we do not have time to try and test every new solution, there is lot to be said by watching analyst behaviour – if they are using a new solution then maybe we should too. Maybe we should be taking Jeremiah’s advice and look to get ahead in the areas of social colonization, context and commerce.

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AR in a credit crunch

In the AR almanac my peers will no doubt give a hearty thanks to the banking industry for changing the way we work. As budgets are squeezed then discretionary spend (as Mike Cansfield views it), gets cut first. Some execs view that analyst relations falls squarely within this field and as a result we will simply have to do more with less.

This topic (AR in a credit crunch) was the panel item for discussion a yesterday’s IIAR meeting hosted at Edelman. Analysts included Martin Hingley (ex chief research analyst at IDC and now set-up as a sole practitioner), Dale Vile and Jon Collins from Freeform Dynamics and the aforementioned Mike Cansfield.

As a result of the downturn, the analysts argued that they must become more accountable. Dale explained that there has been a trend for companies to use analysts more as a tactical win rather than a strategic one. Whereas previously they may have been asked to provide long term visionary thinking and guidance, nowadays the need for quick, justified ROI on a bespoke project is essential. I’m not too surprised about this as the analysts firms themselves have been calling on vendors to provide clear ROI metrics when selling their solutions. Guess the shoe is on the other foot now?

One of the harsh realities of a recession is that as budgets are cut redundancies become common place. This have effected AR and analysts alike. Both sets of professionals are having to increase their scope of work and prove themselves as indispensible.

For an analyst, this may mean their coverage increases (which you may argue is not such a good thing) and as mentioned before they are having to provide more tangible value. Maybe this is why many people have noticed that they are being proactively offered far more inquiries, advice and support than ever before.

From the AR side, we have found that our skill set is used in transferable ways to target influencers beyond the analyst community (e.g. consultants, associations). What’s more teams are being cut and we are having to look after more analysts with fewer resources. There was wide consensus that when this is done badly EMEA AR is handled by American teams.

The way we interact with analysts has also changed. No longer are we able to fly analysts around the world to hear the latest news and organise 1-2-1’s. Fireside chats, more TC’s and virtual meetings will become the way to go. Whilst we can’t underplay the value of face-to-face meetings in building strong relationships (the ‘R’ in AR), we have to accept that we have to look to alternative methods to keep people informed. There will always be a time when travel is required – the difference is that it will no longer be the norm.

Just as previous recessions have forced companies to change the way they operate, the same will surely be true for AR. I wonder whether people will ever go back to the ‘way it was before’ when they find out they can manage just as well with less. Will firms sign the ‘huge’ contracts with Gartner, IDC, Forrester et al without blinking on a year by year basis or will they simply settle just for one? Will there be an increase in project based work and will analysts be more adept at showing their own ROI?

Perhaps creativity is the answer. There has been moderate success in using analysts in alternative ways – from getting involved in procurement on behalf of a vendor to an increase in ‘open-source analysis’.

One thing to remember is that the recession will not last forever. Jon Collins explained that analysts can no longer go back on the gravy train but in the same way, they need to make sure they know when the recession is over otherwise they will be unnecessarily be eating gruel.

Note: Originally posted on Technobabble 2.0

 

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Analyst of the year

To take part in the ‘analyst of the year’ survey – click here

IIAR Analyst of the Year Last year, the IIAR ran a survey to identify who AR practitioners believe should win the award of ‘analyst of the year’ and ‘analyst firm of the year’. I am pleased to say that today, we are now launching the survey once again and hope that you can all take part.

This is your chance to vote for the analyst or firm who you believe deserves more recognition. All too often we only speak about analysts when we want something, but this survey gives you the opportunity to explain what criteria makes an analyst important and who you consider to be world-leaders for their segment.

The previous analyst of the year was Ray Wang, Principal Analyst with Forrester Research, Inc. Respondents praised his insight, depth of industry knowledge, and independent voice. Runners up for the title were David Mitchell of Ovum and James Governor of RedMonk. Ray was also named Analyst of the Year for the Americas, while David Mitchell of Ovum was voted the EMEA Analyst of the Year.

With respect to individual firms, Forrester was highly regarded by respondents in all regions, and was voted the Analyst Firm of the Year. It was commended for the strength of its analyst team, the quality of its client services and its ability to spot new trends. Gartner and IDC came second and third, respectively. Not only did the traditional global analyst firms perform well in the survey, but the smaller, boutique consultancies also scored highly. Freeform Dynamics and MWD came in the top five in EMEA with RedMonk in the top three in the Americas, and a number of other firms also received honourable mentions. Respondents liked their honesty, ability to innovate, the quality of their research and use of new media channels.

To see a copy of last year’s survey results click here for summary post or here for download.

For your benefit I have listed below a brief summary of the methodology used.

Methodology

1) Entrants:

This survey is open to anyone who works in analyst relations in any country, either in-house or at an agency/consultancy. In order for someone’s entry to be valid, you will need to submit your email address and company name to verify you are not an impostor trying to distort the results. (This happened last year from a global firm!!). The personal information will not be distributed or used beyond sending copies of the results to all participant. The survey will be open until the end of May. IP addresses will be taken to ensure that someone does not vote twice.

2) Questions:

The survey specifically focuses on an individual’s perception of the analyst world in 2008. Respondents are able to select from a pre-populated list of 501 firms which company they believe are the most important and relevant for a list of multiple segment areas.

3) Segmentation:

Respondents are able to specify their submissions based upon geography (US, EMEA, AsiaPac, Global), segment (Hardware, Software, Services, Communications and Networking, Green IT/Sustainability, Developer/IT Department) and customer-base (Enterprise, SMB and Consumer). Based upon these criteria further analysis could be made of the results to identify specific regional or segment champions.

If you have any questions or comments about this survey please contact either myself or Hannah Kirkman.

To take part in the ‘analyst of the year’ survey – click here

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Event: AR 2.0 at IIAR meeting with Josh Bernoff (Forrester), Dale Vile (Freeform Dynamics) & Dean Bubley (Disruptive Analysis) – Sept 17, London

Over the past few months, I have been debating the issue of how AR pros should use social media tools to enhance their analyst relations. Whilst it is clear that there is indeed a huge momentum of the use of blogs, twitter, wikis, facebook etc, what is unclear is whether it is AR’s job to be involved.

For example, does an analyst really want to be ‘friends’ with you or should the line be clearly drawn between what is an acceptable location for AR and analysts to interact? Indeed who’s job is it to comment or engage with analysts within social media? Is it the role of the senior execs or AR… or PR?

Another issue of course is content. Can AR use social media to influence analysts or at least understand what they are thinking? And what about when things go wrong – whilst it may be quite clear what the escalation path would be if a vendor disagrees with something that is written in a report – what process should we follow if we disagree a blog or a twitter post?

What is clear, is that there is a great deal of confusion about AR’s role within social media.

The next IIAR meeting hopes to address this and are delighted that social media experts Josh Bernoff (Forrester), Dale Vile (Freeform Dynamics) and Dean Bubley (Disruptive Analysis) will be joining the forum to take part in a moderated Q&A session to address these questions and more.

This panel session will conclude the next IIAR meeting (Institute of Industry Analyst Relations) that will be held between 3.45pm and 6.30pm on September 17 at Edelman’s offices in London. The first half of the meeting is only for AR pros with the objective to share best practice and elect new members to the board.

If you would like to attend, please either contact me or the IIAR’s secretary Hannah Kirkman.

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The IIAR Analyst of the Year survey — and the winner is….

image Over the past few months, the IIAR have been running a survey to identify who AR practitioners believe should win the award of ‘analyst of the year’. With over 116 respondents from around the world, the number of firms and individuals that people wanted to recognise was extraordinary (191 different analyst names and 103 separate houses).

For an analyst or their company to have made the top 10 is a truly remarkable achievement and my congratulations go to them. Specifically though a few individuals and companies should be highlighted:

Ray Wang, Principal Analyst with Forrester Research, Inc., is the analyst of the year. Respondents praised his insight, depth of industry knowledge, and independent voice. Runners up for the title were David Mitchell of Ovum and James Governor of RedMonk.

Ray was also named Analyst of the Year for the Americas, while David Mitchell of Ovum was voted the EMEA Analyst of the Year.

Forrester was highly regarded by respondents in all regions, and was voted the Analyst Firm of the Year. It was commended for the strength of its analyst team, the quality of its client services and its ability to spot new trends. Gartner and IDC came second and third, respectively.

Not only have the traditional global analyst firms done well in this year’s survey, but the smaller, boutique consultancies also scored highly. Freeform Dynamics and MWD came in the top five in EMEA with RedMonk in the top three in the Americas, and a number of other firms also received honourable mentions. Respondents liked their honesty, ability to innovate, the quality of their research and use of new media channels.

What came out clearly from the survey was that integrity, independence and market knowledge are the analyst qualities that are most highly valued by AR professionals. It demonstrates very positively how much the IT research industry has matured.

The results below have been split into several segments to reward those whose specialty in niche areas should be recognised.

A full copy of all the results can be downloaded here

  Analyst of the Year 1   Analyst Firm of the Year
1 Ray Wang, Forrester 1 1 Forrester
2 David Mitchell, Ovum 1 2 Gartner
3 James Governor, RedMonk 1 3 IDC
4 Ed Thompson, Gartner 1 4 RedMonk
5 Michael Cote, RedMonk 1 5 AMR
6 Jeffrey Hammond, Forrester 1 6 Freeform Dynamics
7 Dale Vile, Freeform Dynamics 1 7 Ovum
8 Bola Rotibi, Ovum (now MWD) 1 8 MWD
9 Massimo Pezzini, Gartner 1 9 Enterprise Strategy Group
10 Brian Babineau, ESG 1 10 CCS Insight

EMEA Focus:

  EMEA
Analyst of the Year
1 1 EMEA
Analyst Firm of the Year
1 David Mitchell, Ovum   1 Gartner
2 Dale Vile, Freeform Dynamics   2 Forrester
3 Ed Thompson, Gartner   3 Ovum
4 Philip Dawson, Gartner   4 Freeform Dynamics
5 Neil Rickard, Gartner   5 MWD

US Focus:

  US
Analyst of the Year
    US
Analyst Firm of the Year
1 Ray Wang, Forrester   1 Forrester
2 David Mitchell, Ovum   2 Gartner
3 Michael Cote, RedMonk   3 RedMonk
4 Jeffrey Hammond, Forrester   4 Enterprise Strategy Group
5 James Governor, RedMonk   5 AMR

Communications & networking Focus:

  Comms & Networking
Analyst of the Year
    Comms & Networking
Analyst Firm of the Year
1 Neil Rickard, Gartner   1 Forrester
2 Ben Wood, CCS Insight   2 Gartner
3 Nick Jones, Gartner   3 Ovum
4 Zeus Kerravala, Yankee Group   4 IDC
5 Danille Levitas, IDC   5 Yankee Group

Software Focus:

  Software
Analyst of the Year
    Software
Analyst Firm of the Year
1 Ray Wang, Forrester   1 Forrester
2 David Mitchell, Ovum   2 Gartner
3 Ed Thompson, Gartner   3 AMR
4 Jeffrey Hammond, Forrester   4 RedMonk
5 Michael Cote, RedMonk   5 MWD

Services Focus:

  Services
Analyst of the Year
    Services
Analyst Firm of the Year
1 Pascal Matzke, Forrester   1 Forrester
2 Stephanie Moore, Forrester   2 Gartner
3 Paul Roehrig, Forrester   3 IDC
4 Michael von Uechtritz, Gartner   4 Ovum
5 Dane Anderson, Gartner   5 NelsonHall

Importance vs. Relevance: Analyst Firm of the Year:

  Most Relevant
Analyst Firm of the Year
1   Most Important
Analyst Firm of the Year
1 Forrester   1 Gartner
2 IDC   2 Forrester
3 Freeform Dynamics   3 IDC
4 Burton   4 Ovum
5 RedMonk   5 AMR
6 AMR   6 Redmonk
7 Ovum   7 Enterprise Strategy Group
8 MWD   8 Freeform Dynamics
9 451 Group   9 Current Analysis
10 Gartner   10 TowerGroup

EMEA:

  Most Relevant
Analyst Firm of the Year
1   Most Important
Analyst Firm of the Year
1 Gartner   1 Gartner
2 Freeform Dynamics   2 Forrester
3 Forrester   3 Ovum
4 Ovum   4 IDC
5 MWD   5 Freeform Dynamics

US:

  Most Relevant
Analyst Firm of the Year
1   Most Important
Analyst Firm of the Year
1 Forrester   1 Forrester
2 Burton   2 Gartner
3 IDC   3 IDC
4 Ovum   4 RedMonk
5 RedMonk   5 AMR

Commenting on his award, Ray Wang said:

I’m very pleased to receive this distinction. AR professionals represent the critical link between an analyst’s perception and the company’s reality. Because the AR profession is not only a science but also an art, good AR professionals build the relationships from a position of trust which drive the foundation for all interactions. I’m thankful to have worked with so many true professionals.

David Mitchell, ranked first in EMEA commented:

Analyst relations professionals are playing an increasingly important and influential role in the ICT (Information Communication Technology) industry, both when working directly for companies and when working as third party advisors to those customers. As such, it’s a great honour to be recognised by the IIAR.

One of the interesting results from the survey is the distinction made between relevant and important analyst firms. From my perspective it appears that people made the recognised tier 1’s (Gartner, Forrester, IDC) as the most important as they realise that these companies have a strong impact on sales due to their customer base and research viability. However, relevant firms did not necessarily map on to these same firms and the ones ranked most highly tended to have a greater focus on bespoke advice (largely gained through inquiry time).

When we run this survey next year we would be delighted to hear suggestions regarding how this can be improved. For your benefit I have listed below a brief summary of the methodology used.

Methodology

1) Entrants:

This survey was open to anyone who works in analyst relations in any country, either in-house or at an agency/consultancy. In order for someone’s entry to be validated, they had to submit their email address and company name to verify they not an impostor trying to distort the results. This personal information will not be distributed or used beyond sending copies of the results to all participant. The survey was open for specific period of time and IP addresses were taken to ensure that someone could not vote twice.

2) Questions:

The survey specifically focused on an individual’s perception of the analyst world in 2007. All questions were free text to ensure that results could not be biased by presenting a pre-made list of companies or analysts. The result of this was extraordinary with 191 different analyst names being submitted as ‘analyst of the year’ and 103 different firms listed for the ‘analyst house of the year’.

3) Segmentation:

Respondents were asked to specify their submissions based upon geography (US, EMEA, AsiaPac, Global) and segment (Software, Hardware, Services, Communications and Networking). Based upon these criteria further analysis could be made of the results to identify specific regional or segment champions.

If you have any questions or comments about this survey please contact either myself or Hannah Kirkman

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