Archive | AR Best practices

“How to take on the Digital Wave”

A growing issue for AR pros and their companies is defining what ‘digital’ means. Or, more importantly, understanding how the different industry analyst firms define digital and “digital transformation”. It is certain that digital will “disrupt”, and that more existing businesses will get ‘Uber-ed”, as one of our panellists put it. However what is less clear is just how and where digital transformation will impact existing business models over the next few years, as well as what the opportunities and threats will emerge from digital. How might the AR pro navigate the new digital landscape when briefing and engaging with industry analysts firms? These were just some of the questions posed to a distinguished panel of leading industry analysts at the latest IIAR event hosted at the glamourous Heron Tower on August 13th 2015.

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Aniruddho Mukherjee of the IIAR kicking off the evening with an overview and update on IIAR to its members,whilst Debleena Paul and Neil Pollock also both from the IIAR look on

Is 2015 a tipping point in terms of digital transformation?

The convenor, Debleena Paul, got the ball rolling by asking the panellists whether 2015 is a tipping point in terms of digital transformation. Are digital technologies beginning to bring the kind of disruption that has been promised for some time? Marianne Kolding (Vice President and Executive Sponsor, European Digital Transformation Practice at IDC) responded that it was coming but that it was not there yet. A lot of firms have it on their agenda and are “dabbling”, but change wasn’t happening everywhere. Tim Walters (Co-founder and Principal Analyst at Digital Clarity Group), saw that ‘phase 1’ of the change had occurred, where companies beginning to educate the public about how digital was something that they would need, but that ‘phase 2’, where companies were beginning to think about what they were going to do about it, was only just beginning.

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Pictured, from left to right, Debleena Paul (IIAR), Dominic Trott (PAC), Tom Reuner (HfS), Gerry Brown (Ovum), Tim Walters (DCG), Marianne Kolding (IDC)

Digital transformation can be anything. The first problem is identifying it, says Gerry Brown from Ovum

Very quickly the panellists got to the issue plaguing discussions of digital transformation thus far: What exactly is it? Tom Reuner (Managing Director for IT Outsourcing Research at HfS), thought that digital transformation meant different things to different people. The term was being used by everyone simply as a place holder. Debleena quizzed the panellists on what their definition was – noting how each industry analyst firm seemed to have a different conception of digital transformation.

Digital transformation is a process, not a project, says Marianne Kolding from IDC

Marianne Kolding told the audience that IDC saw digital transformation as where the business model for the company was fundamentally changed. This was both in the way it served its customers but also how its employees operated. For IDC, digital transformation was not just about reconfiguring the front-end but also transforming back office processes. Firms had to build a new way of looking at technology. Digital transformation cannot simply be another project, she argued, it has to be a process. Dominic Trott, (Senior Analyst Digital Business at PAC), told the audience that PAC has two definitions for digital transformation. The first is tackling the front end where the company attempts to build tighter customer interactions but the second is a broader change in culture and mindset in terms of reorganising the business around the needs of the customer.

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Debleena Paul (IIAR) grills Dominic Trott (PAC)

Digital is a wave but has unexpected force, Tim Walters from DCG notes that companies need to understand and react appropriately to the energy

Tim Walters reminded the audience that the kinds and amount of change that companies were undergoing today was not unprecedented. Companies had been subject to similar waves of change through earlier technologies. And like these waves before companies needed to understand and react to the specific energy in the wave. What is different this time, argued Tim, was that whereas in past waves it was the company that led the change, this time around it is the consumer that is empowered; it is the customer that is driving the change.

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Tim Walters and Gerry brown debating the finer points of the digital ecosystem

AR Pro Tip 101 on how to improve a presentation: Ask the analyst what they would find valuable!

The conversation turned to how AR pros might improve the way they present their companies digital transformation strategy to industry analysts. Here, rather than dissensus, there was much agreement. Tom Reuner strongly pushed for companies not to present technologies but “narratives”. Companies needed to come up with narratives which were true for their organisation as they were for the problems experienced by their customers. Rather than standard ‘corporate decks’, Gerry Brown, (Senior Analyst, Customer Engagement in Digital Technology at Ovum), wanted to hear ‘war stories’. This includes what has worked and what hasn’t; the upsides and downsides of the digital transformation strategy. Tim Walters was similarly interested in hearing the ‘process’ by which the company understands their customers’ problems. He was much less interested in companies telling him what they can do, but rather how they were now doing things they couldn’t do before, because a client has a new problem and has asked for it.

Your Point of View!

You’re read what we think. We’d love to hear your point of view on what digital transformation might mean for companies and how AR pros could do a better job of communicating their transformation strategies to industry analysts and others. We’re working on a longer version of this blog post, and would like to incorporate your feedback into a white paper that would be circulated with IIAR members. Let us know your experiences. Add your comments to the blog or email us.

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Event attendees

It wasn’t all digital transformation, however. There was also time for some of the event attendees to enjoy an expert talk on the famous Heron building fish tank! We learnt it was the largest privately owned fish tank in Europe, and the names of quite a few fish too!

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[GUEST POST] Five timeless questions about analyst relations

Over the last 12 years, my colleagues and I have run dozens of webinars and telephone conferences to address the most frequently asked questions of analyst relations managers. This week I’ve been running the numbers, looking to see which topics got the most attention. Several of these topics were used more for than one event and, indeed, looking back even to 2003 I can see that some of the topics are timeless. Five thoughts come to mind. Continue Reading →

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“Why should I speak with him and her”

Yvonne Kaupp

Author – Yvonne Kaupp

Last week, the second German IIAR Stammtisch gathered AR professionals and analysts for a private dining event in central Munich, this led into an interesting and enjoyable discussion about AR measurement. The overarching question was how to best communicate internally the value analysts can bring to the business, and the value of well managed communications between vendors and analysts.

“Why should I speak to this analyst” is a question AR pros are often confronted with. The pressure on AR pros has risen during the past years in terms of showing the return of investments gained through analyst relations and showing the value analysts can bring. In recent years expectations have both grown and  changed. Analysts are well aware of the new challenges, and eager to learn how to address.

In past years reports, whitepapers and analyst advice were naturally part of the relationship, today budgets are tighter in many companies, and investments in analyst insights have shrunk. Or teams became smaller, and bandwidth more limited to support research projects. Even more important becomes the task to explain to the internal stakeholders the treasures analysts can open up for them, and the value they can bring to the business.

AR professionals can face very different challenges. For example, an AR manager working for a new company in a niche market and a strong growth rate may face different challenges to an AR manager working for a large and established player in a saturated market. At the IIAR Stammtisch we exchanged about the specific pain points each of these AR managers might experience and the differing ways forward.

AR professionals and analysts have a common interest – proof the value of their work. Whilst we can’t do without AR measurement this has to be a value discussion rather than a simply a counting exercise, like counting the number of reports, the number of tweets, of interactions and so forth. AR pros and analysts need to join forces and seek ways to provide value to both sides and proof of the value delivered. The German Stammtisch, as part of the IIAR, will explore quantitative value measurement of Company+AR+Analyst interactions for a future IIAR Best Practice Paper.

Look out for more updates on this topic. We welcome your thoughts and experiences, leave a comment below – how do you show value delivered ?

Author – Yvonne Kaupp, IIAR Board Member and Lead for the IIAR German Chapter

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IIAR Discussion – Negotiating with Gartner – 22nd Jan 15

What – IIAR Discussion Group – Negotiating your Contract with Gartner
When – Thursday the 22nd January 2015 @ 4pm GMT, 5pm CET, 12 Noon – New York
Where – IIAR Webinar
Who: Discussion initiated and will be chaired by Aniruddho Mukherjee (Head of AR and Branding Manager, Europe for HCL Technologies)
Register Here – To attend please REGISTER <<HERE>>, now

AuctionSuccessfully negotiating your contract with analyst firms and gaining best advantage from your contract is a key activity for all Analyst Relations teams. This second meeting of a IIAR Discussion Group will review the outcomes document from the first meeting (available <<Here>>) and continue the conversation. As Gartner is the largest of the analyst firms we expect the discussion will no doubt focus here; this will not be to the exclusion of all (or any) of the other analyst companies.
Held under Chatham House Rules the discussion will be chaired by Aniruddho Mukherjee (Head of AR and Branding Manager, Europe for HCL Technologies). The aim is to (ultimately) produce an IIAR Best Practice Paper that combines the knowledge of all participants.
Of course, by attending you will not only have the opportunity to give your knowledge and opinions but also gain from that of others and have the advantage to submit questions directly. Lets have a lively discussion, the more of you that join in the better, so please don’t forget to REGISTER <<HERE>>. Attending IIAR Events is free for all members, there may be a small charge for non-members.
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IIAR Discussion – Negotiating your Analyst Firm Contract – 31st Oct 14

What – IIAR Discussion Group – Negotiating your Analyst Firm Contract (aka – Negotiating with Gartner)
When – Friday the 31st October 2014 @ 4pm GMT, 5pm CET, 12 Noon – New York
Where – IIAR Webinar
Register Here – To attend please REGISTER <<HERE>>, now

AuctionSuccessfully negotiating your contract with analyst firms and gaining best advantage from your contract is a key activity for all Analyst Relations teams. This initial meeting of a IIAR Discussion Group will open up the conversation. As Gartner is the largest of the analyst firms we expect the discussion will no doubt focus here; this will not be to the exclusion of all (or any) of the other analyst companies.
Held under Chatham House Rules the aim is to (ultimately) produce an IIAR Best Practice Paper that combines the knowledge of all participants.
Of course, by attending you will not only have the opportunity to give your knowledge and opinions but also gain from that of others and have the advantage to submit questions directly. Lets have a lively discussion, the more of you that join in the better, so please don’t forget to REGISTER <<HERE>>. Attending IIAR Events is free for all members, there may be a small charge for non-members.
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IIAR Webinar – 11th September – Best Practices in the Rules of Engagement

Keep calm and follow the rulesDate: September 11th, 2014
Time: 4pm BST, 5pm CET, 11am EST, 8am PST
Location: IIAR Webinar – Register here

AR Pros and the Industry Analysts work on the basis of undocumented principles – principles that sometimes get broken or abused and then what do you do? This webinar will look at the types of analysts AR Pros come across on a daily basis and how to engage with them. Questions such as whether there is a secret recipe on how to build trust? – When should you be transparent? – Should analysts be afforded preferential treatment? – And does NDA really mean, NDA? – will be addressed along with many other frustrations we all face in the world of AR. Oh yes, there is also a section on ‘Divas’! Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] Key Requirements for Vendors When Briefing Software Analysts

DrNatalie%20Headshot%20color[1]By NataliePetouhoff from Constellation Research.

In any given week, analysts hear many pitches. What may not be apparent is “How engaged is the analyst?” So if you are a vendor, how do you engage an analyst? First, don’t be one of those people who is more interested in getting through all your slides in the short period of time you have with the analyst versus really having an engaging conversation with the analyst. Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] Can you build a meaningful relationship with analysts, even if you don’t pay them?

“We have a problem with analysts,” I hear you say. “You have to buy analyst services to have a good relationship with them,” has got to be the most common phrase any analyst relations professional hears from colleagues.

Cynicism reigns when it comes to judging analysts, which reflects the way many of us might feel about the role they, and other influencers, have when recommending IT products or services.

Admittedly some are harder to engage than others if you do not have a subscription, but is that true of all Analyst Houses or is there a middle ground?

Continue Reading →

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First German IIAR Stammtisch kicks off

The first German IIAR Stammtisch will kick off on Tuesday, 24th June, at 5pm CET at Cordobar, located in the famous Glockenback district of downtown Munich on, at Ickstattstraße 1a.

This is a must-attend event for Analyst Relations professionals working in Germany, or with German-focused analysts. The IIAR is building a community of AR pros in Germany and we’re getting together to network and discuss German-specific elements of AR. Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] So what to social media?

The question of how AR professionals should use social media keeps cropping up.david rossiter

Even though social is a part of our daily lives, I am still asked whether it’s okay to use Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to contact analysts – never mind apps like WhatsApp, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat. And I’m not alone.

There has been no shortage of social media gurus who happily told us that social media would radically transform the world of AR.

Yet my colleagues at the IIAR and I found ourselves continually asking the same thing. Has that transformation actually happened?

No-one would dispute that social media has had some impact. Still, has it really changed the fundamental way in which an AR professional needs to be work if they’re to be successful and effective?

Continue Reading →

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