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2017, a tectonic year for influencer relations?

This January feels like our IIAR April Fool posts came early. After Gartner gobbling the largest peer-to-peer advisory firm CEB (Corporate Advisory Firm) for a cool USD 3.3 billions (2.6b in cash and stock plus 700m debt), the long awaited and many times postponed sellout of IDG, the parent company of IDC, happened yesterday.

Gartner acquisitions: META, AMR, Burton, Ideas, Software Advice, Captera, SCM WorldThose two deals are nothing less than tectonic shifts in the tech influencers space.

Firstly, the acquisition of CEB by Gartner is notable for three reasons:

1. It’s large. 3 billion dollars gorilla like.
If there was no overlap and divestures (CEB also sells some software which Gartner will have to offload to prevent conflicts of interests), the combined turnover Gartner and CEB turnover would be over USD3.3 billions (2.4b+951m) we’re seeing a 40% increase in revenues and the combined entity is on course towards 2,000 analysts. The next players, IDC and Forrester are around USD 300m in revenues, give or take. The last estimates I saw (a while back mind you) were that Gartner has anywhere between 40 to 60% market share. Having such a dominant player means higher prices (some say higher margins were the driver behind Gartner’s acquisition of META Group) and less bargaining power for buyers. It’s also obviously hard to ignore Gartner, so a little advice to vendors is maybe not to pick fights with them -such is their share of mind with technology buyers.
However, just like in the old PCM days, Gartner knows to leave scraps to second fiddles and it leaves space to disruptors -in particular on the sell-side. The IIAR Analyst Firm of the Year constantly showed that 451, Constellation, HfS and other players are definitely more than just worth looking at. And as Crawford Del Prete argues it, a second opinion can be invaluable.
2. Is Gartner plateau’ing?
With the CEB acquisition, Gartner gets access to new C-suite roles. Surely, I’d bet most CEB CIO customers also buy Gartner services and so there might be a bit of customer set duplication however CEB also serves HR, Sales, Finance and Legal functions. In fact Gartner claims it will become the leading global research and advisory company for all major functions in the entreprise.
So this is not a META Group style margins-led competitive take-out (2005) but more an expansion into new markets just like in 2009 as Gartner bought AMR, SCM World and Burton to address techies and supply chain roles.
One could infer that after years of tinkering with metrics to get more leverage, the Gartner executive team saw territory expansion as an EPS growth lever. In other words, this might signal that Gartner’s core business in IT research is plateauing? Nevertheless, with Gartner’s excellent track record in execution (IIAR members can read some tips on contract negotiation here) and international reach, expanding to other functions certainly has legs. It has already ventured in marketing and claim good growth, however Forrester still has a much better hold with this fickle audience.
The good news here for AR and influencer relations folks is the ability to leverage existing relations with Gartner to look at other audiences.
 
3. Does the age of algorithm prediction also apply to Gartner?
Personally, I believe the most significant impact of this acquisition is cultural. After buying and developing no less than three peer reviews offerings Gartner is moving further in the peer to peer advisory world with CEB. This is important not only because buyers value the advice from their peers more than anyone else’s but also because all of a sudden, the mighty technology priest, the feared predicator, the revered oracle becomes is demoted from his/her ivory tower. Truth ceases to be a caste monopoly and becomes the product of algorithm. Gartner famously predicted in the 2015 Symposia the age of the algorithm economy, where those become valuable IP that needs cherishing and runs the world.
As Gartner grapples with the difficult challenge of embedding more bottom-up logic in its research and offerings, it will be interesting to watch what this does to the role of the analyst: will they merely curate and socialise the result of increasingly automated insights? Looking at the profitability of Gartner’s EXP services, this might well be a wet dreams for its execs.

Where does that leave IDC and the others?

Since the disparition of founder Pat McGovern and his philanthropic wish to progress research on the human brain, the media group IDG he founded -and parent of analyst firm IDC– was up for sale for two years with several cliffhangers. We know little of Chain Oceanwide, however my bet would be for a divestiture of IDC at some point.
Whilst IDC predominantly addresses tech vendors, it also enjoys a great brand recognition and probably has the best geographical reach of all firms but none. Yet, its attempts to crack the end-user (buy-side) research and advisory services (RAS) business petered out, I suppose due to poor execution and a lack of investment in sales and go-to-market.
We’ve asked IDC to come and update the IIAR members -stay tuned!
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IIAR Webinar: Getting Started in Analyst Relations

What better way to kick off the start of the new year than a “How to Guide” for Getting Started in Analyst Relations.

Lyn Fariello, (LinkedIn@LynFariello) will talk through everything you need to know from the practical aspects of managing a briefing and analyst evaluation through to the strategic aspects like identifying and managing stakeholders, key targets and planning.

Moderated by: Ludovic Leforestier (LinkedIn, @lludovic)
Date: Wednesday 25th January 2017
Time: 1600 GMT/ 1700 CET/ 0800 PST/ 1100 EST
Duration: One Hour
Register HERE

Link to the paper for IIAR members.

 

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Around Shawn Fitzgerald in 10 Questions

Today we ask our probing questions of Shawn Fitzgerald, (LinkedIn@IDC)Research Director, World Wide Digital Transformation Strategies at IDC. Shawn recently joined IDC 

IDC

  1. What are your coverage areas?

I’m responsible for leading and coordinating IDC’s World Wide Digital Transformation (DX) Strategies Practice and continuing to ensure IDC’s thought leadership in the digital economy. As you may already know, IDC estimates the economic value of DX to be $20T or more than 20% of global GDP.

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

The role and value we, as analysts, provide is tremendous and is ever more important to smart technology strategies. Today, technology is so core to businesses delivering on their brand promises, both products and services. Making a bad technology decision has such an impact on strategic and operational performance in a way that wasn’t the case 20 or 30 years ago. Conversely, making the right choices can enable break-through business performance and really create world-class customer differentiation capabilities. I’ve yet to meet successful business leaders who don’t want access to those insights. Continue Reading →

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IIAR Christmas Party, London 2016

We are very excited to announce this year’s IIAR Christmas Party, proudly sponsored by Dell. christmas-drinks-and-nibbles

Come and join the festivities with free drinks and canapés, all Industry Analysts and AR folk are welcome. Industry Analysts and IIAR members get in for free – for non IIAR members this party is a great reason to join the IIAR. Alternatively there are a limited number of guest tickets available at £75 each, for tickets please contact the community manager: Maria Ashton mashton at analystrelations dot org

Many thanks to our friends at Dell for sponsoring our 2016 party and helping make it possible for us to provide what will be the most fun Analyst/AR Christmas Party in the UK this year.

Don’t forget to Register Here
Only those with approved registrations may attend, this party is for IIAR Members, Industry Analysts and those in a related role. The IIAR  reserve the right to refuse anyone entry to the venue at their discretion. 
Venue: The Botanist, Broadgate Circle London EC2M 2QS

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IIAR Breakfast/Cafe meet at the Gartner Symposium in Barcelona

If you are going to the Gartner Symposium, drop in to the IIAR Breakfast – for a coffee, perhaps some churros and a chat on all things AR related with Ludovic Leforestier (@lludovicLinkedIn) IIAR co-founder and Director Thought Leadership and Analyst Relations at BearingPoint.coffee-and-churros

When: Wednesday November 9th Nov 2016
Time: 08.30am local time
Venue: Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona Hotel, Carrer del Taulat, 262-264, 08019 Barcelona, Spain

Read also:

IIAR AR Café – Gartner Symposium, Barcelona – 09 Nov 2015
IIAR AR Café – Gartner Symposium, Barcelona – 12 Nov 2014
IIAR AR Café – Gartner Symposium, Barcelona – 13 Nov 2013

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Around Susan Prakasam from Microsoft in 10 questions

Today we ask our probing questions of Susan Prakasam from Microsoft. Singapore based Susan (LinkedIn, @suprakasam) is the Analyst lead for Microsoft Asia, and she won AR Professional of the Year for APAC in 2016. susan-prakasam-microsoft 

Questions:

  1. What’s been your career path to becoming an AR pro?

My longest stint has been in sales & business development before becoming an analyst. Both roles continue to hold value in my current avatar as an AR pro. The foundation in sales keeps me grounded in being customer centric and oriented to how analysts are best served to influence them, and my stint as an analyst helps me understand the regional landscape of analyst houses and the strengths each firm delivers on based on how it is structured and the methodology that is their unique proposition.

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Constellation and the curse of the quadrant

At the beginning, the intent was pure.Gartner Real Quadrant

Industry analysts, more specifically the buy-side “prescribers” exist to help technology buyers (often referred to as end-users) select the best vendors and providers. They gather insights through public and private sources such as (semi-)private vendor briefings and conversations (inquiries) with their end-user subscribers. Some analysts take hundreds of briefings and inquiries in a year, allowing them to gather unique insights on the market segments they cover. This accumulated knowledge allow them to monetise this information asymmetry as reports, consulting sessions, speaking engagements, etc.

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IIAR Discussion Group: Negotiating with Gartner

Successfully negotiating your contract with analyst firms to get the best business value from commercial relationships with industry analysis firms is a key activity for many analyst relations (AR) teams.negotiating-with-gartner

A follow-on from our first IIAR Discussion Group will review the outcomes document from the first meeting (IIAR members can download it <<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.
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IIAR Best Practices Webinar: Strategic Analyst Tiering For Digital Business

This new IIAR Best Practices Paper will be resented by Susan Galer (@smgaler, LinkedIn) in an IIAR Webinar moderated by Ludovic LeforestierLinkedIn @lludovic), Bearing Point and IIAR Board, this how-to webinar is designed to go beyond textbook best practices, providing step-by- step techniques you can put in place immediately to:susan-galer

  • cut through the noise and determine which analysts really matter to your company
  • forge ahead even when you don’t have a business plan from internal stakeholders
  • match your organization’s objectives to the analyst’s true scope of influence
  • answer hard questions to bridge the gap between expectations and reality

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IIAR Forum and Webinar – How well do you know 451 Research?

451 Penny Jones, William Fellows, James Stanton451 Research has been growing rapidly over the past few years, with an analyst team of 120+ and a diversified set of data-driven research services.  James Stanton, (@stantonibusLinkedIn), SVP Marketing will provide an overview of the company. He will be accompanied by William Fellows, VP and Founder of 451, (@wif, LinkedIn)  and Penny Jones, (@PennyJones451, LinkedIn), a Senior Analyst focused on European Services who will provide an overview of her coverage area and help answer questions on how best to engage the 451 Analyst team.

Moderated by Ludovic LeforestierLinkedIn @lludovic), Bearing Point and IIAR Board member. Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] Why AR comes before PR. Just look in the dictionary.

By Ian Gotts / Founder and CEO, Elements.cloud (LinkedIn, @iangotts).

You’re an innovative and growing software vendor, I get that. You’ve got a fab new product that’s going drive dramatic benefits for enterprise customers, I get that.You’ve even got a blog to push out great customer stories now and then, I get that too.

But how do you accelerate growth without piling on expensive sales guys? And how do you make it easier for the large corporates to find you and get comfortable placing big orders with you?

ANSWER: You create relationships with the analyst community. And here’s why. Continue Reading →

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IIAR London Forum: Creating AR impact – are agencies an asset or a threat

To kickstart Q3 and the forthcoming events season, the U.K. Chapter of the IIAR  has organised an evening of healthy debate, intelligent content and responsible drinking.

The topic for our panel discussion is an evergreen one: should vendors keep AR in-house or could they benefit from external support? panel discussion2

Agenda – Wednesday 14th September 2016 – London

  • 1800: Welcome drinks
  • 1815: Welcome note & update by the IIAR Board
  • 1830: Tutorial: Case studies in Effective External AR support, Dominic Pannell /Buzz Method (LinkedIn, @buzzmethod)
  • 1900: Panel discussion – Creating AR impact – are agencies an asset or a threat?
    Chaired by Ludovic Leforestier /Bearing Point and IIAR Board (@lludovicLinkedIn) with

  • 2000: Analyst firm spotlight with Aditya KishoreHeavy Reading (an Informa company)
  • 2045: Drinking Class on Gin presented by Paulina Michelak, By The Bottle
  • 2115: networking sponsored by Tenderlake and By The Bottle – Networking Through Responsible Drinking

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[GUEST POST] Three ‘Must-have’ Anchor Points for Your Analyst Relations Program

Rishi GhaiBy Rishi Ghai (LinkedIn@rishi_ghai) Head – Analyst Relations, Corporate Communications, and Digital Marketing / Cyient

Launching an industry analyst relations (AR) program takes elaborate research and planning. Unlike simpler functions that a technology or service provider can delegate or outsource with minimal involvement, AR requires the continuous participation of stakeholders from a broad cross-section of the business––from corporate strategy to business-unit marketing, through to delivery and finance. Simplifying the creation of a new AR program requires defining its anchor points––the guiding forces necessary to give a direction to it and keep it on track.

Let’s take a look at three essential anchor points, which can serve as the compass of your organization’s AR program: Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] Analyst Relations Best Practices: Seven Tips to Make Your Company a Star at Industry Analyst Events

By Caroline Dennington / Dennington AR (@CDenningtonLinkedIn).

Summer is upon us and though that means wet weather for Caroline Dennington in the UK and heatwaves and wildfires for Caroline’s writing partner Phil Nash, analyst relations (AR) professionals around the globe are getting ready for another busy event season with the industry influencers.

InfoSec and Forrester Forum have already taken place in London and once again, Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit in Washington, exceeded all expectations attracting a huge delegate audience and of course, hundreds of analysts!

With Symposium, IDC Directions, Catalyst, BlabkHat and numerous other major events such as Sibos and ACAMS on the calendar, how can AR Managers ensure they secure relevant analyst time at these events and importantly, engage their executives and sales personnel in meaningful conversations? Continue Reading →

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IIAR AR Professional of the Year 2016 profile: Peggy O’Neill

Peggy O'NeillPeggy O’Neill, Senior Director, Analyst Relations at Informatica,  (@pegoneillLinkedIn) is the IIAR AR Professional of the Year 2016 for North America. In this interview, she discloses a few best AR practices from her own shop.

  1. What’s been your career path to becoming an AR pro?
    I was a former analyst at Gartner and Nielsen/NetRatings and Oracle recruited me to head its analyst relations program in 2001.

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Don’t tell my mother I work in AR, she believes I’m a pianist…

DonttellmymotheriaminarWhilst public relations and marketing are mainstream in commercial companies, most analyst relations (AR) professionals are often at pain to describe their role.

AR is a relatively new discipline, tracing its origins in the last 15-20 years when a handful of very large ICT firms institutionalised a function to handle consultants and analysts relation. Nowadays all major technology vendors and services players have established sizeable analyst relations (AR) departments –50 to hundred strong for mega-vendors such as IBM or HP. Its raison d’être is to liaise with industry analysts, providing them a single point of contact and managing the relationship between them and the suppliers. Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] Managing RFIs: 8 Best Practices for Analyst Relations Professionals

By Rishi Ghai (LinkedIn@rishi_ghai) Analyst Relations, Corporate Communications, and Digital Marketing / Cyient. 

Receiving a request for information (RFI) from an analyst firm often triggers two reactions among analyst relations (AR) professionals––first, the thrill and gratification of having the business on the radar of a relevant analyst; and second, the anxiety of responding to the RFI with comprehensive and accurate information.

Analyst-firm RFIs are complex beasts. Managed well, they can be a technology/service provider’s (TSPs) gateway to the much-coveted “star” ratings, rankings, and mentions in analyst firms’ research. On the contrary, poorly managed RFIs can end up misinforming analysts, leading them to build an inaccurate analysis of your company.

Responding to RFIs takes a lot of diligence, but the process can be simplified and made more manageable. Here are eight things you can do to ace RFIs and minimise the overwhelm. Continue Reading →

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German Chapter Stammtisch in Munich beer garden

The IIAR German Chapter is planning a networking event in  a Munich Beer Garden, AR professionals and analysts alike are invited. One of Munich’s famous beer gardens will provide a great relaxed environment in which to exchange news and experiences of the AR world. Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.07.55

As a key topic for this Stammtisch, we’ve chosen “How Analyst Relations and Sales need to become best friends”. Understanding the changing sourcing patterns in the wake of digitization is key for Analyst Relations Professionals aiming at supporting effectively sales and marketing.

Crisp Research will speak about the changing business models of analyst houses vis-à-vis the digital transformation and the changing sourcing strategies.  Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] So, You Did Well in an Industry Analyst Report… How Do You Get the Word Out?

By Vicki Jenkins/ Nelson Hall (LinkedIn@VickiJ_NH)
This is the fifth in a series of blogs for AR professionals containing tips and pointers on how to optimize the relationship between AR and industry analysts. Here I take a look at promoting your organization’s inclusion in an analyst report. Vicki Jenkins / NelsonHall

Often times, before committing to participating in an industry analyst report, subject matter experts will say to their AR colleagues, ‘What happened with the last report we participated in? What did we get out of it?’ In many organizations, it’s not realistic to send the report to the marketing team simply asking them to leverage it, as they have many other commitments and deliverables and might not understand the value of the report and how to make best use of it internally or externally. Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] 7 Ways to Grow Analyst Firm Business: A How-to-Collaborate Guide for Industry Analysts and Account Managers

TW - 7 Ways to Grow Analyst Firm Business - Collaboration Between Industry Analysts & Account ManagersBy Rishi Ghai (LinkedIn@rishi_ghai)

It’s universal––the bittersweet relationship between sales and delivery functions. Industry analyst firms are no exception. The subject of bringing in more business for analyst firms is perhaps the biggest cause of friction between account managers and industry analysts, especially where senior analysts have P&L responsibility.

A typical scenario plays out something like this: analysts, in their capacity as advisors, tend to enjoy greater proximity to technology/service providers and buyers––and assert to know more about business leads for the firm than account managers do. Account managers, on the other hand, tend to disagree and think that analysts aren’t willing to stretch beyond their comfort zones to bring in more dollars…and on the argument continues. Yet, once this friction is transmuted into collaboration, engagements with clients and prospects become richer and more consistent, and untapped business opportunities start to open up. Continue Reading →

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