Archive | IIAR

Around Mitul Mehta of TekPlus in 10 questions

clip_image002Continuing our occasional series of analyst interviews, we’re delighted to welcome Dr. Mitul Mehta, Managing Director with TekPlus, into the hotseat to share his views on the industry.

  1. What are your coverage areas?
    My coverage area is fairly broad involving most of ICT. This came about due to my background from the very early days in this industry when I was the head of overall ICT research at a major US analyst house – I ended up having to advice a number of the leading end-user clients and most of the major vendors on overall IT and Telecoms direction and impact on their business processes, strategies and M&As. Focusing on too narrow a segment was not on and I had to learn fast to cover most technologies and segments else I could not have enough breath and depth to advice on overall strategy. Also given that a number of departments ranging from Technology areas like Servers, Storage, Software, Security, Networking, Telecoms to Services and Verticals like Banking and Healthcare were all reporting to me, I ended up being a strategist specialising in providing strategic and high level advice to the very senior executives and leaving the number crunching to my analyst colleagues . Over the years at TekPlus I have focused in a similar manner covering a number of areas strategically especially around infrastructure, software and services whilst leaving the number crunching and detailed product analysis and evaluations to my colleagues who specialise in Data Center Infrastructure, Security, Networking, Telecom Infrastructure, IT Services and Verticals.
  2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
    In a way I see it going back to its roots of pre-Gartner times when both Specialist magazines and Analyst houses were both highly influential but could come from the same company, advice and training came from many quarters and an analyst house needed to use various associates and in-house mix to provide the right coverage and depth. I think given the new dynamics in the market place around blogs, free advice and the positioning of the ‘influencer’ the market will once again go through many providers and available avenues for general advice whilst paying big bucks for in-depth knowledge and highly strategic advice involving what actions to take. I believe globalisation will have a major impact and having observed the recent trends from the office we opened in India two years back we can already see that so long as you are experienced and have the knowledge, global brands don’t mean a thing – typically we as a small company still get highly strategic projects both with end-users and vendors in direct competition with some large brands due to the nature and depth of the advice we can provide. I believe this will become more and more true as the emerging markets grow and highly tuned advice comes from smaller analyst groups.
  3. What’s your typical day like?
    Currently most of my mornings go into managing both the Mumbai and London offices and making sure the senior management team and our analysts are all ok and on track. I spend a lot of time on Skype with my Indian office since it has started to grow. Around mid-day I generally have a number of vendor briefings lined up and I spend most of the early part of my afternoons on being productive with client meetings. The evenings are spent on writing or editing our publications.
  4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
    This was some time ago during the time of Compaq having the Alpha platform. I was advising some large financial institutions on the infrastructure landscape and had asked Compaq a number of times on what their intentions were with Alpha. Having spoken to a number of their executives across the board, I was coming to the conclusion that no new money was going into development and soon it would not be strategic for the company. By chance Compaq decided to have a briefing with a few key analysts and when we attended most of us found that no answers were forthcoming and the executive was very ill-advised. Two days later an analyst from IDC and me who were regularly interviewed by the IT magazines were quoted in one magazine under a big front page headline saying ‘Alpha is Dead’. You can imagine the calls that followed. I believe the writer had read between the lines from what both of us were saying and had come to that conclusion. My discussions with the Compaq AR team was to the effect that if you were more straight forward and we were better informed –we could have provided a more informed opinion! The Compaq AR team learned fast and were much better at keeping us informed from there on!
  5. How do you position your firm? What is your business model? (where are your revenues coming from, mix between users and vendors?)
    TekPlus has generally being positioned at the high end of the value stack for an analyst house in terms of us providing mostly in-depth strategy advice to both vendors and end-users around IT in business processes, architectural directions, eco-systems, global delivery models, SMB strategies, management and sales training, sales tools, executive workshops, etc. However recently we have changed direction as our Indian office has started growing and we have introduced a number of services in the lower end of the value stack especially around market forecasts for verticals and emerging markets, product analysis and comparisons, SWOTS and a number of new subscriptions around Security and Verticals. We have around 60% of our revenues coming from vendors – predominantly made up of senior level strategic advice. We see this slowly changing as the subscriptions and publications take hold. Currently around 40% of our revenue comes from end-user consulting from around three major verticals where we have had a presence now for a number of years. We are also bringing out more and more end-user publications so we see the mix here changing over time.
  6. What is your research methodology, in 255 characters or less?  (primary research, F2F or phone, secondary only, etc…)
    We do ‘in-depth bottom up primary research’ mostly via the phone but also F2F for all our publications (forecasts, products and end-user studies). We then analyse the data and findings with a ‘top-down approach’ of senior analysts and consultants sitting and discussing the data and then build up a view of our findings. We always have a detailed methodology published with all our products and clearly state up front how we undertake each project or publication.
  7. Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? Any why?
    Many over the years but a few that stand out – Bill Reed (IBM), Ludovic Leforestier (Oracle), Signe Loenberg (Loenberg-AR), Kim Horner (CustomerClix) and Malee Dharmasena (Cisco). Why? –in one answer they do not bullshit and tell you as it is, appreciate your value and make an effort to put the right calibre of executive in front of you!
  8. Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve attended.
    The good meetings have always been when the executive knows his stuff and is not just marketing a message or telling porkies (some still do!). As an analyst who has been around – sometimes longer than the executive, you know what is in the company, where they are heading and what generally they need to focus on. So please put people who know what they are talking about in front of analysts. The early Cisco WW meetings with around 20-30 analysts and senior executives were very good. Your time was well spent and you got the answers and interaction you wanted. The same could be said of the early HP WW events.
  9. What are your offerings and key deliverables?
    TekPlus offerings are split into three boxes:
    1) High end Consulting
    2) Publications and Subscription Services
    3) Pathways

    High-end consulting is a key part of our business both at the end-users and vendors and we tend to do a number of senior/board level assignments.

  10. Our subscription services on the vendor side are split into two – customised strategic intelligence programmes (SIPS) ( currently on SME, Services, IT Enterprise, Next Generation Networks and The Channel) where we give regular monthly guidance, messaging as well as sit in quarterly meetings and Market Intelligence services (MIS) which consist of both market data and strategic guidance. We have just launched in the last two weeks new MIS subscriptions in security and health verticals. We also have a service directed to the end-user whereby our corporate advisories, SWOTS, Product evaluations, etc are given out free to them. We also produce a number of general publication reports around forecasts, end-user studies and guidance reports.
    In pathways we generally train executives and IT managers to new technology implications, vertical guidance, technology directions, sales training etc. They are generally delivered via workshops.
  11. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
    Making sure our new subscription specializations get established. Grow our services in Asia and make sure the Indian office continues to grow at a high rate. Make sure the projects are still coming in despite the slow-down. In the next 30mins – making sure I am ready for my client meeting.
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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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IIAR Best Practice Teleconference: How to measure and evaluate your analyst relations activity

The IIAR will be holding a best practice teleconference on the topic of “How to measure and evaluate your analyst relations activity” on Tuesday June 17th at 4:00 p.m. BST/5:00 p.m. CET/11:00 a.m. ET.

The teleconference is free to attend for IIAR members. Non-members who are AR professionals can attend for a fee of £50. For further details and to register, please contact IIAR Secretary Hannah Kirkman.

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Dealing with AR

Alan Pelz-Sharpe In this article, Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Principal with CMS Watch and former VP North America for Ovum, shares some very interesting insights on AR from the analyst’s perspective.

Some tips on how not to deal with a critical ‘independent’ analyst

I have been an analyst and commentator for 10 years now – for most of that time I have written or contributed to detailed and critical evaluations of software technologies. My topic areas are the Content Technologies ranging from ECM and Document Management to e-mail Archiving – my audience is almost exclusively buyers and implementers of these technologies – and a typical deal size is in the high hundreds of thousands to the multiple millions. People read my research to create shortlist’s, and typically to ensure they have a better chance of selecting the right product. It’s a simple model really – much like a ‘Consumer Reports’ or ‘Which Guide’.

I play with the technologies, I see them in action, I talk to many users, I talk to channel partners, resellers and also consultants and integrators. I also talk to the vendors – but my use of vendors is more for fact checking, product demo’s and gaining insights on nit picky elements than anything else. I appreciate the help of vendors, but ultimately my research focuses on how products work and are sold in the real world, and the world of vendor marketing and sales is of peripheral interest. Granted that is an unusual research model, having been in the ‘industry’ for 10 years and having run research practices and undertaken extensive competitive intelligence, I am well aware that typically ‘research’ by analysts is heavily dependent, and in many cases almost entirely dependent on, ‘vendor briefings’. I am also aware that the vast majority of analyst firms are dependent on vendor funding of one form or another to pay the bills. Hence I go to great length with all those I write about to try and inform them of my requirements – and my methodology.

So to be clear, I am a realist – I know that most analysts make their money by selling ‘independent’ analysis to the very people they claim to be ‘independent’ of. It’s the way it is – whether I like it or not. I also understand that AR professionals have a very tough job to do. Frankly I do not envy your role – you have to try to keep everyone happy all the time, and that is an impossibility. I have deep admiration for many AR professionals, some of whom I am proud to call friends rather than contacts. I also have deep admiration for any vendor who stays in business more than six months, life is tough out there. Running a business or simply having responsibility for a P&L is always a challenge. At the same time, my job is to provide my customers with honest and critical evaluations of products. That means highlighting all the warts, along with spotlighting all the shiny positives. If anything my job is to focus on finding the warts. Because lets be honest, it is not hard for a buyer to find the positives. As they will be deluged by ‘White Papers’, Marketing Collateral and Sales Spin. Finding where the products sweet spot is or it’s drawbacks, is much harder. It’s my job to help them in that process, and by definition that is not going to make me popular at times.

It seems clear to me that some AR professionals simply don’t know how to deal with analysts like CMS Watch – and rather than continually lock horns, I thought I would jot down some thoughts to help the process – I am doing this as I am just about to publish a major report (major in the sense that it runs to over 300 pages) technical evaluation of 14 vendors. The frustrations and wounds of dealing with AR are very fresh! So here goes:-

1: Don’t assume the analyst is out to get you

You are not as important as you may think. The analyst is writing about many vendors, you are just one in a long list. You almost certainly have no context to judge their review of your product, in light of what they have said about your competitors – you may wish to consider slowing down before jumping to bias conclusions. In my most recent report, the AR group that had the biggest and nastiest hissy fit, ironically is the vendor that has received the best review of all in the report. They are also the vendor that had the biggest hissy fit last time they were reviewed (different product, different report, different analyst – again a great review). They are also the vendor that analysts from rival firms share AR horror stories about…. The firm has good technology, but a terrible reputation for bullying or attempting to ‘coerce’ analysts.

2: Do make an effort to understand the analysts research methodology

If the methodology is focused on talking to customers and partners and you have been asked to supply customer references. Respond in one of two ways – politely but immediately decline, or do your best to provide references. Ignoring the request for weeks or months is not a good policy. By that time customers and partners have been found by the analyst and interviewed. When critical views are captured from such interviews you cannot at the last minute claim “our customers love x or y or z” – we know they don’t and frankly you haven’t been able to supply any that do. Harsh as it sounds, we are not just going to take your word for it.

3: Don’t threaten analysts

If you don’t like what an analyst has written – try at least to be respectful and polite. You are far more likely to enter a dialogue that way. Provide facts to counter their critical assertions, if you cannot provide facts and instead rely on bluster you will only dig a deeper hole for yourself. Also remember that analysts are human, threats via nasty e-mails (the cowards way) or phone calls, hurt (no matter how long you have been in the industry) and they don’t get forgotten quickly. Using such a confrontational approach does not make the AR person look important or even imperious, it makes you look unprofessional.

4: Don’t quote your own press releases or other analysts reports as evidence

There is frankly nothing more silly than to tell an analyst that they must be wrong about your firm/product because “Forrester/Gartner/IDC…ranks us as a ‘leader’ etc”. The only thing that rivals this is to quote from your own press releases – trust me this has been done. Most of the time, this kind of response will simply result in an internal e-mail chain that shares the joke with other analysts. Bottom line, that kind of supporting evidence, looks desperate, patronizes the analyst, and suggests you have simply drunk too much of your own kool aid.

5: Never say “we provided an x% ROI…….to our client over six months etc etc.”

Its a silly thing to say, period – and its a daft thing to say to most buyers. It’s a little like Home Depot claiming that they dug my vegetable garden for me, when all they did was sell me a spade. You provide tools – people use the tools, the use of those tools provides business benefits (or doesn’t). And just like the spade I bought from Home Depot, most software likewise goes unused.

7: Understand the difference between a fact and an opinion

For every 10 vendors I evaluate there will be one or two that freak out – most work well with me and we agree to disagree, and where there are errors (I make many, and do my best to fix them) we work together to get them corrected. I never want my reports to contain factual errors, presumably nor do you. But my opinions are my opinions, I am paid to have opinions. To change my opinion requires a very different approach from AR. To change my opinion you need to understand why I have formed that opinion (see below) before attempting to ‘re-educate’ me. In addition, when you claim a report is full of factual inaccuracies, and then send an annotated Word document listing differences of opinions – and can quote no factual errors at all – expect your response to be ignored, and my respect for you to slip.

9: Understand that those that use and/or implement your systems have a very different perspective to share

Just as I will see your product or service differently to you – recognize that a sales person, a channel partner, a user, an implementer or a consultant will all have differing perspectives. When a report does not reflect your personal or corporately mandated vision, that does not mean it is wrong. Some vendors use my reviews of their products to change perceptions, in some ways they see my reports as free consulting – a fresh pair of eyes if you like. They recognize that the information and insights that I get are not usually available to them – they see criticism as potentially constructive. Some find out there are strengths to their product, that I have noted, that they had previously underestimated. Remember, if the only research you have read is from people you directly or indirectly pay – then it won’t be surprising if you find some kind of uniformity with your own viewpoint. True outside opinions will by definition differ from your own.

10: Don’t believe your own hype

We know it’s your job to be passionate about your company, about its product and its services. We understand it is your job to help sell this vision and to educate us all. But make the effort to really understand your competitors and your competitive landscape too. Work out who really influences your deals and those of your competitors – understand your competitors strengths in terms of product, sales focus, corporate culture etc – don’t live in a vacuum, analysts don’t. I applaud your enthusiasm, and I wish you and your colleagues the best of luck, I really do. But I wish all your competitors the same too. I am not passionate about your company, I am passionate about ensuring that buyers and users avoid costly and sometimes disastrous mistakes. That they pick the right product each time, and that they use it to its best advantage. We have different agendas, but they don’t need to be agendas in conflict.

Disclaimer: Alan is not a member of the IIAR and this post reproduce his own opinions, not those of the IIAR or its members.

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Last chance to vote for your analyst of the year!

The Institute of Industry Analyst Relations closes the Analyst of the Year survey at 10:00 p.m. BST on Wednesday April 30. To vote, go to http://snipurl.com/23gv1. In exchange for sharing your opinion, you’ll get a summary of the results next month.

The IIAR is a not-for-profit organization established to raise industry awareness of the value of analyst relations, promote and share best practice in AR, and give opportunities for AR professionals to meet and network with their industry peers. Members can participate in regular events and teleconferences, gain access to a growing online library of AR tools and resources, and contribute and share experiences with other AR professionals through working parties.

To find out more, visit the IIAR website at www.analystrelations.org.

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Around Josh Krischer from Josh Krischer & Associates in 12 questions

Josh KrischerThis week, in our continuing series of analyst interviews, Josh Krischer, founder and principal analyst with Josh Krischer & Associates, shares his insight on the IT analysis market.

  1. What are your coverage areas?
    I cover Mainframes, high-end computing, storage, disaster recovery techniques and data center consolidation.

  2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
    Vendors, in particular large companies, tend to devote too much attention to analyst firms rather than to individual analysts. Much bigger spending with the large companies and not enough support for the small, independent shops.IBM EMEA, for example range the analysts according to their influence and reputation and not for which company they work. For example, despite being a “small shop” I evaluated last year several RFPs among them most likely the largest storage RFP in EMEA (two digit million EUR)
    Some time ago, giving interview to a German journalist I was asked what is the difference between the services which a small company (like mine) can give in comparison to the large players. My answer was that in analogy it is like the differences between a department store and a boutique. I can tailor my services better to customers’ needs.
  3. What’s your typical day like?
    Every day is different; emails, projects, meetings, admin , marketing, vendor briefings, writing, etc. Storage is very dynamic industry, with constant flow of news on announcements, acquisitions and new innovations therefore I spent a lot of time on self-study and research.
    For example an excerpt from a proposal for RFP evaluation:

    Scope of the Work
    To fulfil the above obligation, the Service Provider will provide the Client with the Service provider who shall perform the following tasks:

    1. Prepare validity proof of the vendors’ claims.

    2. Set decision criteria matrix and assign weights for each proposal according to this matrix.

    3. Verification of the assessment prepared by the procurement team.

    4. Prepare numerical and graphical presentation of each vendor proposal.

    5. Prepare price comparisons (against the prices obtained in other, especially European, countries) and suggestions for the negotiations with the vendors.

    6. Deliver arguments for negotiations and support during the negotiations with the vendors

    7. Comparisons of the proposals from the strategic point of view and according to bank requirements

    8. Prepare management summary and recommendations.

    9. PowerPoint presentation of points 1-7

    10. Two days discussions with technical and management staff in xxxx .

    Depends on the RFP size such evaluation will take from 3 to 10 days to complete. In my previous life, working for a large analyst company the output was usually 30 minutes conference call sometimes followed by an email.

  4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
    Too many; all the vendors which „danced around me“ when I was VP research in Gartner but disappeared since I left.
    A funny AR story (not bizarre) on NDA and confidential information:
    Being a new analyst I called Steve Bardige (AR manager EMC) and ask him about a project with code name „calypso“. After asking the question I could hear Steve fainting on the other side of the Atlantic. After few second he answered; „Josh, you are not supposed to know about this project and not to mention even this code name, how did you find about it?“ I answered, „it was easy, one of EMC marketing guys in Germany made a presentation about Calypso on GUIDE/SHARE (IBM users forum) meeting in Hamburg.
    The morals of the story are: 1) that in some companies the AR are too paranoid in relation to secrecy 2) Giving information to customers before telling it to analysts may put analysts ( who the users expect to know everything) in inconvenient situations 3) sometimes an analyst may know more than you may expect.
  5. How do you position your firm? What is your business model? (where are your revenues coming from, mix between users and vendors?)
    In 2007, about 60% of my turnover came from IT end users: I work with them on various projects, including RFP evaluations. With vendors, I author positioning papers, technical white-papers and carry-out sales training.

  6. What is your research methodology, in 255 characters or less? (primary research, F2F or phone, secondary only, etc…)
    Trying to attend any vendor briefing which I can (and trying to stay awake), speaking with customers and trying to learn from their experience. Trying to listen and to ask as many questions as possible. Searching daily for new information and evaluating it. Usually have more value speaking with CTOs or product managers than with CEOs.
  7. Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? And why?
    Hans-Jürgen Rehm IBM Germany, Bill Reed of IBM EMEA, Ludovic Leforestier of Oracle (ex-IBM EMEA), Steven Zivanic of DataDirect (ex-HDS US) – always very helpful in good times and bad times.]
  8. Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve attended.
    Never lie to analyst and try not to waste his time
  9. What are your offerings and key deliverables?
    RFP evaluations, Assistance with RFP preparations, Pricing evaluations & negotiations with vendors, Strategy development, Proofs of concept, Refresh of knowledge.
    Competitive analysis, SWOT analysis,Operations management & engineering
    Presentation preparation & delivery, Market analysis & business development

    Pre-sales consulting, Authoring & education, Keynote speeches, Revitalizing and motivating sales organizations, Sales training, New product opportunity – research and introduction ,Major account development and management, Marketing communications planning
  10. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?Gardening, carpentry. Any food ( with the exception of English) which is “dead” in particular Thai, Lebanese and Italian]
  11. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
    To be the best analyst in the areas which I cover
  12. Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work you rate highly?
    Dave Russell, Gartner – professional, fair and modest
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Around Ray Wang from Forrester in 10 questions

Ray WangThis week we have the pleasure of interviewing R “Ray” Wang from Forrester Research. In his spare time, he also contributes to the insightful Software Insiders blog. Thanks to Ray for his insights on the Software industry and also some thought provoking views on the IT Analysis industry too.

  1. What are your coverage areas?
    Research agendas for the business process and applications role focus on sustainable enterprise application strategies that include areas such as organizational readiness, vendor selection, software licensing and pricing, contract negotiations, instance consolidation, and SOA strategies for packaged apps such as ERP, Order Hubs, and Project Based Solutions. In addition, research focuses on business processes such as the order management cycle and continuous customer management, and I look at functional areas such as customer data integration and the impact of service-oriented architecture (SOA) on packaged applications. From a technology strategy perspective, I spend time evaluating the the emerging area of software ecosystems for SI’s and ISV’s.

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Around Rüdiger Spies from IDC in 9 Questions

R SpiesThe IIAR has started a series of email interviews, where analysts from around the world are presented. We have talked to Rüdiger Spies from IDC . Thanks again fo him for the time he spent to give us some insight about IDC and the industry.

 

 

1. What are your coverage areas?

A) It’s pretty broad – basically Enterprise Applications (ERP, CRM, SCM, DW / BI, etc.) combined with architectures (SOA), integration technologies and related applications (i.e., BPM, workflow, mashups, social computing). As enterprises tend more and more to establish a common platform as their backbone system, integration among the different pieces becomes more weight than pure point to point approaches technologies. Seamless integration and cross system, cross dependent and cross enterprise workflows become paramount to success in multi-enterprise business networks.

B) A second focus area is intellectual property (i.e. patents, trademarks, IP portfolios, licensing). I am working with the patent law firm DHS in Munich, Germany and focus on the high-tech industry.

 

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

The market has matured and will continue to do so. A number of niche and boutique firms have grown under the price umbrella of the three big players. Computer technologies will continue to need advice at management level, however required skill levels and visible engagement of solid analysts will continue to increase. Lightweight analysis is in many instances already available on the internet. I think also the
requirement to think across technologies, across vendors and across subject area will increase.

 

3. What’s your typical day like?

Well, in the morning I get up, have my tea and start to work. That might be in Munich, Paris, London or in Boston or wherever our services are required.

 

4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?

The day before the official analyst conference started the vendor had organized some outdoor activities. Unfortunately, two of my colleagues got seriously hurt during the outdoor activities. That was not a good
start to the conference.

 

5. How do you position your firm? What is your business model?

We are global IT and related industries market and trend watchers with the longest successful track record in the IT analyst market.

 

6. What is your research methodology, in 255 characters or less?

The research is going into many dimensions. There are ongoing market development studies that are based on a globally integrated model.
There are region or country specific studies and there are studies that are developed as part of special interest groups. All quantitative results and qualitative trends are based on primary industry research. In the vertical industries we rely on a team of experienced industry professionals. Overall the approach is structured and consistent – the best results combining a top down and a bottom up approach.

 

7. Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve attended.

Good events respect the time constraints of analysts and care about travel convenience. Don’t choose strange locations. And the best AR people should work in a similar manner as analyst do. This way vendors are able to coordinate AR work on a global level.

8. What are your offerings and key deliverables?

 

In a nutshell – on one hand everything vendors need to know to make future oriented strategy decisions … and on the other hand everything required to tactically address specific markets. End users get the best insight into trends and mid to longer term developments in the industry that is influencing their ability to operate

9. Do you have any hobbies or favourite restaurants / food that you’d like to share with us?

 

Analysts are in many instances social people, however they still care about their privacy.

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Blog readership continues to double

IIAR blog readership continues to rise Readership of the IIAR’s blog has continued to rise over the last few months. In fact, the number of visitors doubled in February, March and April.

David’s post on Ethics and Independence Among Industry Analysts has caught huge attention, as has Jonny’s Analyst of the year survey.

The next most-read article was about our 2007 survey which showed that IIAR members felt Forrester rose in influence. Ludovic’s post our dream for a collaborative AR platform was also popular.

Of course the readership of the blog also reflects the IIAR’s growing audience. 150 people have joined us on Yahoo, 33 on LinkedIn, and even 32 hipsters on Facebook. There are also 18 on the German-language list. To find our more, visit us at analystrelations.org.

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Analyst of the year

IIAR Analyst of the Year

Do you want your favourite analyst to be recognised?

Do you feel that enough recognition is given to your preferred analyst house?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions – please fill in the analyst of the year survey now. This survey is open to everyone who works in AR. Send the link to your colleagues in the industry and make sure your voice counts.

… don’t delay though as the deadline for the survey is rapidly approaching (end of April 2008).

To take part in the survey please click here.

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Around Ben Wood from CCS Insight in 11 Questions

ben Wood matrix Today we hear from Ben Wood who is a director at CCS Insight and one of the best known analysts in the mobile world. He and others in the CCS Insight team can be found blogging here.

1. What are your coverage areas?
CCS Insight specialises in research about the mobile and wireless industry — but we have a diverse range of customers from all sectors, because mobile is on the agenda of almost every company these days. Personally, I’m best known for my knowledge of mobile devices and everything that is associated with them — applications, services and so on. Continue Reading →

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Around R. David Hofferberth of Service Performance Insight in 12 questions

R. David HofferberthContinuing our series of analyst interviews, next into the hotseat is David Hofferberth, from Service Performance Insights, one of the few analysts covering the Professional Services market -a huge but little spoken about industry.

  1. What are your coverage areas?
    I cover business applications that are used in the professional services sector. Traditionally, these have boiled down to include Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Professional Services Automation (PSA). However, now I am also beginning to review other applications that include Human Capital Management (HCM), Procurement and Business Intelligence (BI) The lines have begun to blur as more product-driven organizations realize services will become one of their core differentiators going forward, I am now actually spending more time now talking to the professional services divisions of these companies.
  2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
    There are obviously fewer major analyst firms than there were a decade ago, similar to what I have seen in the business application market. I would expect there will always be three to five large IT analyst firms to keep the market competitive and provide different points of view. However, I have seen a number of analysts, including myself, who have ventured out on their own. This independence has allowed us to focus on specific areas of interest, without the need to change our area focus every time some new supposed “breakthrough technology” comes along.
  3. What’s your typical day like?
    I have a long but enjoyable day typically. My commute is very short, as I only have to walk up one floor to my office. That is when I am not traveling. I begin each morning scanning the e-mail I received overnight as well as the headlines from the various technology and business-related periodicals. In the morning I normally interact with people over in Europe, while later in the day I speak with people on the West Coast and Far East when necessary. I try to deliver any information that is asked of me in the morning, as I prefer to spend my afternoons conducting research and writing.

  4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
    I have only had two AR interactions that went a poorly in my ten years of being an analyst. The sessions were argumentative and not very productive for either me or the company I interviewed. Ironically, neither of these two organizations lasted six months after my meeting with them. It probably came down to their ego in trying to tell me how the world has changed, and my disagreement that what they were doing was really world-changing.
  5. How do you position your firm? What is your business model? (where are your revenues coming from, mix between users and vendors?)
    I established my firm so that I could continue my research into workforce productivity through the use of information technology. Ideally, I conduct research in the professional services sector and how they use technology, then publish the research and sell it on my website. From time to time I do consulting with end-user organizations when they have a specific need such as an independent opinion of their application infrastructure and where they should go ahead going forward. I also give speeches at a number of software conferences as well as other independent conferences focused on specific topics that interest me. These conferences generally bring leads for additional work, as well as provide me contact information on organizations that I eventually survey. Currently my revenue is approximately 75% from end-user organizations and 25% from independent software vendors.
  6. What is your research methodology, in 255 characters or less? (primary research, F2F or phone, secondary only, etc…)
    I conduct primary research via surveys, by phone, or in person. I believe that primary research is fundamental to my ongoing success.
  7. Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? And why?
    I will say a Ludovic Leforestier of Oracle because he is the one who introduced me to this Blog. Most of the AR staffs that I have met with keep me informed on a regular basis. However, Ludovic does a better job than most of keeping the current with Oracle’s activities.
  8. Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve attended.
    The larger software firms typically have the most seasoned and polished AR practices. They understand the importance of keeping analysts informed in a timely manner. Analysts don’t like to be caught off guard when announcements are made. I especially like it when they provide me with concise information on current announcements in a book or PDF format, so that I can keep it and review as needed. I also like when these organizations provide me with a CD or thumb-drive with all of the relevant presentations on them that I can use as needed.
  9. What are your offerings and key deliverables?
    My firm has a number of offerings: from marketing strategy, to solution development, to presentations to reports. Each of the offerings have key deliverables that range from a one page a write up of the meeting that I attended to more customized research and analysis, which ultimately leads to presentation slides.
  10. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
    One of the great things about being an analyst is that during your travels you have the opportunity to eat at many great restaurants. Currently, my favorite restaurant is Boulevard in San Francisco. However, it is always nice to stop at a Wolfgang Puck restaurant during my travels. In London, my favorite restaurant is the Bleeding Heart, which combines excellent food and an intriguing atmosphere.
  11. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
    When I became an analyst again two years ago I thought that I would be spending a majority of my time covering the PSA market, as that is where I gained market credibility a decade ago. However the ERP solution market has begun to make significant inroads in the professional services sector. I must continue to research the ERP solutions, as they are much more complex than the PSA solutions I spent most of the last decade covering. It is important for me to understand each of the vendors’ integration strategy, and how that will improve performance going forward. I suppose for the next 30 minutes I must work hard to get this document completed, as well as handle a number of phone calls that continue to interrupt me.
  12. Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work you rate highly?
    There aren’t many analysts who cover business solutions for the services. I would suppose that I always had a lot of respect for Matt Light at Gartner Group who occasionally ventures into this area.
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Analyst of the year – submit your answers today

IIAR Analyst of the YearQuis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Or more to the point, who analyses the analysts? In this case it is the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR).

In a marketing world that is dominated by PR, the creation of a dedicated body to promote AR best practice and stand as a forum on issues has been warmly welcomed by the community.

One of my responsibilities in the IIAR is running a task force which in this instance has focused on compiling the ‘analyst of the year’ survey. This survey aims to answer questions such as:

  • Which analysts deserve the title ‘analyst of the year’
  • Which analyst companies deserve the title ‘analyst firm of the year’
  • Which firms have most increased / decreased their relevance in 2007

The survey is open to in-house and agency AR professionals, and a summary of the results will be sent to all respondents. Please note that anonymous responses and those from analyst firms will be discarded. Individual responses will be kept strictly confidential and only aggregated results will be shared.

To take part in the survey please click here.

Preliminary results will be shared at the IIAR forum meeting at Lighthouse on 3rd April where Chris Lewis and David Mitchell from Ovum will be the guest speakers.

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Around Robin Bloor from Hurwitz & Associates in 12 questions

robinbloorhimself.jpgIn the second of our series of ‘email interviews’, we open up the IIAR blog to Robin Bloor (@robinbloor) of Hurwitz & Associates (and yes, the founder of Bloor Research) to share his views on the industry.

1.What are your coverage areas?
All technology except business applications such as SAP ERP or Oracle’s PeopleSoft.

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Ethics and Independence Among Industry Analysts

There’s been a bit of a discussion going around lately on ethics in the industry analyst sector.

I understand why the ‘pay for play’ model can seem an attractive option for smaller companies looking to generate business but firms that go down this route always tend to get found out. Their credibility is eroded, they cannot attract quality analysts and their business slowly disappears.

Any analyst firm which values its long-term reputation in the market has to ensure that its research is independent (and also seen to be independent: for instance, I’d argue that there’s a greater need for analyst firms which produce sponsored research to be very open about their methodologies so they avoid any suggestion of conflict of interest).

However we do need to be realistic about the economics of the analyst business. Most analyst firms couldn’t exist without vendor cash – be it via sponsored research, consulting projects or speaking engagements.

And so long as analyst firms clearly communicate who is sponsoring their work, I’m fine with that. After all, the old principle of “caveat emptor” must always apply.

But what about:

  • the UK company that publishes a company profile – but gives no indication that the piece was commissioned by the vendor (and for which the vendor was effectively given copy approval)
  • the analyst that writes blog posts promoting a project that his consultancy is involved in – without disclosing his connection
  • the division of a large group that prioritises briefings based on the likelihood of selling reprints of the resulting company profile
  • the analysts that use a briefing as an opportunity to pitch their own services
  • the global company that says its analysts are more likely to recommend vendor clients to prospective buyers (because the analysts know clients better than those that are non-clients)
  • the vertical firm that refuses to take briefings with non-clients because it’s so busy doing consulting work it can only handle briefing requests from clients
  • and what about this experience highlighted by the corporate AR team at HP?

Thankfully these kinds of behaviour are limited and the examples are few and far between. But it does still happen.

As analyst relations professionals, we face a challenge. What responsibility do we have for ensuring these practices are stamped out? Are we proactive or do we just refuse to support them? Do we have a ‘quiet word’ in the right ear? Do we out the bad apples in public?

Or do we turn a blind eye – because actually it’s good to know that you can sometimes bung a few quid to an analyst and get something positive written-up about the company we work for?

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Gartner improves the vendor briefing process

In the most recent Gartner Analyst Relations Newsletter, Peter Kalinowski explains how the Vendor
Briefings
process has been simplified based on feedback received from AR professionals.

Amongst other things, all analysts now have access to the materials and the scheduling is easier. Also, vendors are getting a single point of contact -a welcome return to the client relationship model that META Group used.

This is a great improvement however some other questions like materials under NDA and access by Gartner’s consultants have been raised at the last IIAR Forum and would merit being clarified.

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Building the future of DARA and IIAR

Today, the German Analyst Relations Working Group, (Deutscher Analyst Relations Arbeitskreis, DARA) will meet for the first time this year (and for the 9th time since it was founded) at Fujitsu Siemens Computers‘ offices in Munich. It is interesting to see that more German-speaking professionals from technology companies are becoming interested in being a part in an organization that helps AR professionals network. One point we look forward to discuss will be the collaboration between DARA and the IIAR. Both organizations have made tremendous progress in the last few months:

  • Not only has the IIAR won new members, it has also helped to raise the profile of Analyst Relations as a profession and communications activity within the IT and telco sector. The IIAR has moved into the league of internationally recognized organizations which add value for analyst relations experts.
  • The DARA is just about to publish its book, “Industry Analyst Relations in Deutschland” and has produced a paper on ethical behavior in IAR. It has further developed its membership base and has become the most recognized German network for analyst relations professionals in
    the area.

What will be the role of DARA in the future? While the IIAR is an international organization, hosting guest speakers such as Gartner’s Aaron Yaverski, GVP High Tech Product Management and Andrew Rosenblatt, Product Development, the DARA could regularly contribute new pieces of
“local knowledge” to the AR community. For example, one guest speaker at the next DARA forum will be the Managing Director of Business Application Research Center, BARC, a growing Germany-based research house, mainly focussing on BI. Many DARA members are interested in learning more about this research firm and look forward to the session.

Simultaneously, the German forums will also transfer international knowledge to German AR professionals. The DARA will increasingly seek to host analysts from abroad, in person or via web conference: For example, Redmonk‘s James Governor will also present as a guest speaker at the forum.Of course, there is also the possibility to bring members from both locations together to organize an exchange of ideas and best practices. Such a forum would make a wide range of opportunities available and I think many of us believe something like this would be well worth a try.

In my opinion, one of the most important questions is where the AR community will see the most significant synergies between DARA and IIAR and how we can bridge any geographical distances better. A first step is already made: Two of the IIAR board members are German analyst relations professionals. Reflecting on the feedback from many IIAR members, I get the impression that these board members will have the remarkable opportunity to help connect both organizations better. They could facilitate further progress on the road to a global AR community.

I am interested in other views on this matter -please feel free to comment on this post.

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this blog post are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of HFN Analyst Relations or other members of the IIAR. We can’t be held liable for any unintentional misrepresentation on this post but are happy to correct any mistakes or nonconformities.

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A dream for a collaborative AR platform

Gartner Inc. (NYSE:IT) came around yesterday for the IIAR forum at CA’s offices (thanks to Geoff Dorrington for hosting). So, thank you Aaron Yaverski (GVP High Tech Provider Product Management) and Andrew Rosenblatt (from Product Development). They presented some of the roadmap for the “Gartner for AR” offering and this got me thinking…The first thing they spoke about was the progress they made on the granularity and refresh cycle of the inquiry mining service. This is great news for vendors as it means they can now have an idea of what sort of things IT users are asking Gartner analysts. Of course, for confidentiality reasons we can’t access the details but it’s fantastic to have some insights on the conversations Gartner analysts are having with their end-user clients. IMHO, this is really the value of Gartner, not the actual research notes they produce.And as David Taylor commented, having a deeper understanding of how Gartner’s Influences the sales cycle, could a great step forward in solving the “Holy Grail” of measurement.

About that research, another point of importance is that the five star rankings are now available to IT vendors, but we can’t rank them let alone comment on them – like we can do on Forrester’s. While I understand there may be some sensitivities around this, it would be great to see Gartner opening the kimono and harness the community around itself.

Then we went in to “pie in the sky mode” as Gartner asked what we’d like. It was very encouraging to see Aaron and Andrew proactively soliciting views and opinions from the European AR community on what we would like to see in the future.

For me, we need a paradigm shift: Gartner needs to move from being a super Google, from presenting us information in the best way they can (and they’re doing a good job at that) towards a partnership approach. I’d like Gartner.com to be more like Facebook and less like my online banking site: of course it’s great to be able to check which bank transactions I’ve made but it would be way better if I could use the site to work with the analyst.

My Gartner-Facebook site would look like this:

  • I could check the analysts availability and that would help solving one of the biggest headache AR people have: scheduling briefings for busy execs and busy analysts who have more chance to meet in the airport lounge than in my customer visit centre. Oh, and by the way, if that Australian analyst that I deal with all the time is planning to visit London, I’d like to know please. It would be both a best use of analysts time as their travels would be optimised and save vendors money collectively.
  • Andrew showed us a “my activity” box which displayed the latest searches any given user has made. But hang on, that’s NOT my activity with Gartner. What I’d like is a report of all my inquiries, all my briefings and all my SAS days, etc.. This would help solving my second problem: reporting back to my boss my interactions with Gartner.
  • Next is the collaborative aspect. We spend a lot of time PDF’ing, zipping and sending Powerpoints (because we like our 50+ slides decks with lots of customer logo pages and our email systems don’t like anything over 10MB), receiving draft research notes and sending them back with our comments. I’d like to be able to post them on the “analyst wall”, check she/he’s got access to the latest version of our deck because otherwise he’ll be advising customers using old information. And also, make it available to his/her colleagues –or not if it’s under NDA.
  • For SAS days, the GartnerFacebook site would have a project page with a checklist and attachments: first scoping call, presentation abstract and title if it’s a speaking gig (that’s important for our marketing teams to send invites), briefing material, agenda of the day, logistics, etc…
  • The list could go on and on, but I guess by now you understand what I’m up to: I’d like a workflow extranet to interact with analysts. Some of the pieces are there already: at the IIAR we use Google Docs to share and peer review documents, I use Google Calendar to discover that I can’t attend the Forrester drinks because it clashes with the School Bingo Night, we have an extranet to post content, etc…

So, in short, what I’d like is a tool that reflects what we do together with the analysts, rather than something were I can just consume research. Gartner for AR is going in the right direction with providing us better insight into our clients and prospects’ mind, but it’s still a one-way street.

PS: From what Aaron and Andrew said, there are going to be many more discussions in the next few weeks and months. I’d encourage you to share your views and thoughts with Gartner – either by commenting on this blog or talking to Gartner directly. It looks like there are going to be some good and interesting developments happening later in the year. Now is our chance to make sure our voices are being heard.

PPS: thanks to Hannah Kirkmann, Marius Jost, David Taylor and David Rossiter for their input and for reviewing this post.

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this blog post are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle or other members of the IIAR. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and compliance with copyright laws, we can’t be held liable for any unintentional misrepresentation on this post but are happy to correct any wrongs quickly.

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