Archive | IIAR

Around Philipp Bohn from Berlecon in 10 Questions

Philipp Bohn, Berlecon’s Mobile & Telecommunications Analyst in Berlin, has found the time to answer 10 questions. Here is what we have found out – thanks to Philipp Bohn again!

1. What are your coverage areas?
I cover communication and collaboration technologies for enterprises and SMBs, specifically VoIP, Unified Communications, Fixed Mobile Convergence.
2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
Some market trends I observe:

  • International technology vendors increasingly demand local market research.
  • Boutique analyst houses are further developing their profile and footprint.
  • Strong demand for maximum transparency regarding research methodologies and business relationships.

3. What’s your typical day like?
My daily work is modularised, core modules being:

  • Check RSS reader, work on current report/white paper/presentation/etc., get briefed.
  • In between, I started experimenting with Twitter to stay connected with other analysts and AR professionals.

4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
It’s not really a horror story, but in the course of an analyst tele-briefing that I requested the vendor representative confessed to just going through the respective press release.

5. How do you position your firm? What is your business model?
Berlecon Research is an ICT research and consulting boutique primarily (not solely) focused on the German market.
Our two main research topics are IT services and outsourcing as well as mobile and business communication technologies.

6. What is your research methodology, in 255 characters or less?
Our methodology follows high standards regarding scientific research and transparency. We collect information about the German ICT market through qualitative and quantitative research as well as discussions with corporate users and technology vendors.
– For technology assessments, we cooperate with Fraunhofer ESK.

7. Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve attended.
I think a good AR event is primarily about the right people and how you are able to connect personally as well as professionally. It’s important not to feed analysts with marketing messages.
8. What are your offerings and key deliverables?
We sell independent research studies, competitor analyses, customised research as well as strategic consulting for ICT vendors and users. Berlecon also supports ICT vendors with strategy workshops and speaking engagements.

9. Any favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
My current addiction is udon noodle soup from Susuru, a Japanese restaurant here in Berlin.

10. What is your biggest challenge for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
To defend opinion leadership on the unified communications market in Germany.
To increase international footprint without overly increasing my carbon footprint! 😉
Next 30 minutes: surviving Berlin car drivers’ traffic antics on my way home.

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Next IIAR discussion group on Managing the Forrester Wave

Tomorrow, we’ll be holding our regular discussion group call, and this month the topic is ‘Managing the Forrester Wave’. The session will be led by Peggy O’Neill, who recently authored a white paper for the IIAR on this subject. IIAR members who would like to join the discussion, please contact IIAR Secretary, Hannah Kirkman. Details of upcoming events can be found on the events calendar.

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The IIAR annnounces its new Board

London, 24/09/09 – The IIAR is delighted to announce that its new Board for 2009/10 has been elected as follows:

Thank you to David Rossiter and Sally Elliott for their contribution to the last board, as well as to Hannah Kirkman, our secretary.

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An update from Ovum

Since the last post I wrote on Datamonitor/Ovum/Butler after Mark Meek and David Mitchell came to present at the IIAR London Forum, they have been busy streamlining the organisation and bring together their research products.

I’ve had many conversations with them, and as far as I can tell, they seem to be executing well:

– As promised, the IT brands have all been consolidated under Ovum. Datamonitor provides the line-of business/non-IT research and Orbys provides sourcing research. Butler events are to be co-branded, as Ovum Butler.

– Clients should now have a single sales rep, apart from large international clients where it makes sense to have sales representatives in each market e.g. US and EMEA

– The research portfolio is being consolidated, and new research will all be in a consistent format. This process will take place over the next 3 months or so

– There will be a single team of analysts, with topic coverage areas grouped by horizontal technologies and services under Tim Jennings and the verticals under Ian Charlesworth

– The telco is pretty much unchanged, apart from the addition of a new set of contact centre research

Ovum’s running a webinar tomorrow; I’ve pasted the invite below with their permission.

What do you think?

Ovum Ovum
Imagine a technology analyst firm that understands the specific business issues of your industryWelcome to the new world of Collaborative Intelligence

As of today Ovum has integrated it’s IT offering with Datamonitor Technology and Butler Group creating a single, more powerful research partner under the Ovum brand. In addition Ovum’s 150+ ICT analysts will be working side-by-side with the Datamonitor Group’s 350+ business analysts – an approach which we call Collaborative Intelligence.

This Collaborative Intelligence approach will produce research and analysis that tackles the problem of the business value of IT.

Collaborative Intelligence

Attend our online launch webinar
Dial in and find out why SageCircle – Analysts of Analysts – say “The reorganization shows real promise to shake up the analyst market”.

Join David Mitchell, Ian Charlesworth and Tim Jennings, Directors of technology research who will introduce the new research agenda, Collaborative Intelligence philosophy and how it will benefit your company.

Wednesday 23rd September – 2.30pm GMT, Daylight Time (GMT +1, London)/8.30am EST – Book now >>

http://www.uptilt.com/images/mlopen_post.html?rtr=on&siteid=13120&mid=2098119&mlid=61772&uid=6123813127

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Jeff Mann on Symposium

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

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

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Ray Wang named IIAR Analyst of the Year 2009

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

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

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

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IIAR Analyst of the Year 2009 (Part 2)

IIAR Analyst of the Year logo

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

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

At a time when vendors are having to evaluate carefully where they should invest their limited funds, it is refreshing to see best-of-class analysts receiving recognition for the value they deliver. Now, more than ever before, analysts have to prove their tangible worth and those that provide independence, integrity, flexibility and deep industry knowledge of their specific areas are being recognised as true partners for vendors and IT buyers.

Without further ado, here are the results:

 

Global Analyst of the Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Global Analyst House of the Year

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

EMEA Analyst of the Year

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

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

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

 

EMEA Analyst House of the Year

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

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

 

Comparing important analysts and ‘analyst of the year’

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

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

 

Final thoughts

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

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

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

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

 

Methodology

1) Entrants:

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

2) Questions:

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

3) Segmentation:

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

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

 

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What makes a good analyst event?

The IIAR’s teleconference in July focused on vendor analyst days. One point everyone on the call agreed to was that the most influential analysts go to vendor events for face-to-face meet ups (one-to-one sessions) with a vendor’s top execs who are impossible to get time with at any other point during the year. If this is the case, why is it that the internal management at many vendors prioritise the big sessions at an analyst event instead of making more time for one-on-one sessions and for networking?

Yes, one-to-ones are the most valued by analysts but not always practical; in the worst case, they should be reserved for analysts that fit into an AR programme’s top priority list or specifically address a knowledge gap for an executive.

At a recent analyst event that I attended, a senior analyst at a global research firm said he “can always tell the junior analysts because they ask questions during a Q&A that give insights into their research agenda. If you notice, it’s rare that a senior analyst will ask questions in a group setting.” It could be that senior analysts get more time with vendors which results in other ‘junior’ analysts having to ask more questions.

For some vendors, the one-on-one issue is addressed by encouraging an open analyst discussion with senior executives. However, US and APAC analysts or a vendor’s management team may not be comfortable with the European-style of analyst debate.

Another technique that some vendors are resorting to is announcing major news at analyst events. Sometimes analysts won’t travel to events simply for one-on-ones if they have already been talking to executives on a regular basis. [For tier-one vendors, analysts never seem to have enough time to pose questions to C-level execs.] Announcing news at an event can result in greater analyst attendance and generate more interaction with the analysts. However, this PR-driven strategy has pros and cons. With regards to the latter, treating analysts like journalists can be a risky proposition for AR managers trying to manage the expectations of internal management.

With analysts less willing to travel and seeking ROI for being out of the office, addressing the balance of content and interactive sessions can make the difference between a passable event or a really great one.

For the analysts who read the IIAR’s blog, here’s your chance to let AR managers know about the do’s and don’t’s for vendor AR events. With more virtual analyst events happening (i.e., webinars and Telepresence), is the dominant model for an analyst event changing? Please share your thoughts on analyst event format/agenda, logistics, location, content and duration.

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Analyst of the year 2009 (part 1)

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

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

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

 

Results (part 1)

Most Important Analyst House

image

 

Most Important Analysts

image

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

 

Opinion on Firm Importance

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

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

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

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

 

Opinion on Analyst Importance

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

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

David Mitchell, commenting on the results said:

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

 

European excellence

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

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

As to why the Europeans tend to so well…

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

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

 

What factors make someone pick a firm or individual as important

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

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

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

 

 

Methodology

1) Entrants:

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

2) Questions:

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

3) Segmentation:

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

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

 

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Brief summary of the last IIAR Forum presentation by Datamonitor

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

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

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

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

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

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The growth of twitter (with analysts)

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

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

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

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

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

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

image

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

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

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

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

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AR professionals should canvass inside firms

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

Don’t…

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

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

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

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IIAR breakfast meeting at Forrester IT Forum

If you are planning to be at the Forrester IT Forum EMEA in Berlin next week, and are interested in finding out more about the IIAR and networking with your peers, we will be holding an informal breakfast meeting from 08:00 a.m. CET on Wednesday June 3rd at the Maritim Hotel.

If you would like to join us, please drop me a line to let me know at hkirkman (at) analystrelations (dot) org.

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AR in a credit crunch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note: Originally posted on Technobabble 2.0

 

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Around Roger Kay from Endpoint Technologies Associates in 10 questions

Roger_L__Kay-189x244In our continuing series of analyst interviews, we are delighted to welcome Roger  Kay, Founder and President of Endpoint Technologies Associates, Inc.

 

1. What are your coverage areas?
Endpoints, those things at the end of the wire, e.g., PCs, phones, GPS, MIDs, UMPCs, blades, POS machines, ATMs, and the Hoover Dam (which does meet the criteria: has IP address, single user, and some sort of human interface).

2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
For now, the public needs people to interpret technology’s impact and meaning. This may not always be the case.

3. What’s your typical day like?
Starts with reading the daily traffic, sometimes writing a bit, briefings, phone calls with clients and journalists, sometimes radio or TV appearances

4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
Finding out that some guy who was your rival at a big analyst firm has taken a position as head of AR at your largest client.

5. How do you position your firm? What is your business model? (where are your revenues coming from, mix between users and vendors?)
Mostly the vendor side; some financial community. We profess expertise in outbound communications.

6. What is your research methodology, in 255 characters or less?  (primary research, F2F or phone, secondary only, etc…)
Analysis of publically available information, correlated with proprietary information base, and primary sources.

7. Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? Any why?
My all time favorite AR guy was Bill Gesick at IBM, now retired. Bill was old school; elegant, courtly, thoughtful, and he promoted the interests of both IBM and the analyst.

8. Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve attended.
AR can maximize its messaging impact by working closely with analysts in the days and hours before releasing the news. Some of it is crafting the message, and some of it is delivering it at the right time to the right people in the media.

9. What are your offerings and key deliverables?
Our model is retainer for inquiry. We do write in specific deliverables to contracts, but there is no fixed format for that. The writing Endpoint does is not sold, but given away as marketing and advertising for the firm. What’s sold is the relationship.

10. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
I’ve recently taken up stone masonry, using native stone, which, around here, is glacial till. The stones are generally round, and so can be rocked out of the ground. Although they have been turned in the glacier, many have flat faces where they have been broken or just worn. These I use like cobbles to create walkways, stairs, and water run-offs, using slates and river stone to square things off and finish them up. Manual labor done mostly by looking and feeling is a good antidote to the abstraction of the analytical world. Planning is done over a period of months, and the product will likely be the longest-lasting work I ever do.

11. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
Half-year challenge is rebuilding the business after some washout from economic distress. Half-hour challenge is getting the kids into bed, not helped by filling this survey out.

12. Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work  you rate highly?
Tim Bajarin is one of the longest-serving analysts in the industry and is as hardworking and honest as the day is long.

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The IIAR Analyst of the Year 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Methodology

1) Entrants:

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

2) Questions:

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

3) Segmentation:

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

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

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

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IIAR publishes Best Practice Paper on Managing the Gartner MQ

Today the IIAR published my Best Practice Paper titled: “Managing the Gartner Magic Quadrant: a tool for analyst relations managers.”  The paper is free for all IIAR members and can be found in the Library section of the IIAR extranet.  In it, I discuss and give recommendations on the key stages of the Magic Quadrant and how to ensure you and your team are as prepared as you can be when the process begins; how to build internal support and manage expectations with your stakeholders; building the relationship with the relevant Gartner analyst; and providing customer references.

After I agreed to write an IIAR whitepaper about managing the Gartner MQ process I soon discovered that everyone has an opinion, in many cases an emotional one. In addition, I realised that the paper needed a focus or otherwise it could have easily been turned into a book. I will admit that I was selfish, that what guided me through the research and writing process was the question: what would have helped me in past situations working with the senior management at vendors? In the end, I aimed to create a pragmatic and useable document with sections that can be cut and pasted.

There’s so many people to thank for providing their insights and time. Moving forward I would like to keep writing about topics related to the MQs. I would welcome your comments, suggestions and stories (even under NDA).

IIAR members can read the full paper here > http://my.hdle.it/7601816

Related post: Gartner engages in debates on their blog

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MQs, accreditation and a debate on IT services – all in the same evening

Those of us fortunate enough to be able to attend* yesterday’s IIAR Forum enjoyed a treat.

Ed Gyurko presented the latest IIAR whitepaper on Magic Quadrant submissions (available from Monday, free of charge to members).  It will prove immensely useful to those who have to work on the seminal Gartner reports.

Following Ed was David Taylor who spoke about the IIAR’s plans for AR accreditation. These are really starting to take shape. David and the group he’s been working with deserve a lot of thanks for their hard work to date.   There’s more that still needs to be done – but it’s definitely getting there and that’s very exciting.

And then we had the third highlight of the meeting – a spirited and informative debate with analysts from three firms that are focused on the IT services market:  Kate Hanaghan of Bathwick, John Willmott from NelsonHall and Puni Rajah of TechMarketView (who was joined by her colleague Anthony Miller).

There are some clear differences between the three firms but all three are in agreement: relationships with clients are the key for success in the next 12 months.  There was also consensus that good analyst firms would survive but there would be casualties among those unable to demonstrate the value they deliver.

While all three acknowledged the difficulties of doing business in the current market, TechMarketView was very upbeat about the future.  Puni and Anthony are predicting that the overall analyst market will grow in size over the next year (and as a result, there will be more demand for AR people).  It will be nice if those predictions come true.

There was plenty more discussion and our hour was quickly over. If you couldn’t make it, then I’m sorry. You did miss a really good meeting.

Finally, thanks to our analyst speakers for coming along and taking part in an absolutely fascinating debate.

Also a big thank you to Robert De Souza who chaired the analyst discussion, Laura Woodward who hosted the meeting and Hannah Kirkman, the IIAR secretary for bring it all together.

* Attendees came from a wide range of companies including Accenture, BT, Capgemini, Cisco, CSC, CustomerClix, Edelman, HCL, Hill & Knowlton, Logicalis, Nortel, Oracle, Prasada, Richmond Green, Sunesis, Weber Shandwick and Zeus.

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Around Richard Mahony from Ovum in 10 questions

Richard Mahony

Today, in our continuing series of analyst interviews, we have the pleasure of welcoming Richard Mahony, Enterprise practice leader with Ovum.

1. What are your coverage areas?
I manage Ovum’s enterprise communications services practice. We focus on the fixed and mobile managed services market for enterprises and SMEs. We also provide sourcing and commercial mediation services to MNCs.

2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
The industry will need to continue moving beyond compiling market information and selling it on at premium price. The days of attending a supplier briefing and simply writing it up are over for Ovum. Carter’s point (http://iiar.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/dont-forget-analysts-have-a-unique-vantage-point/) about the analyst vantage point is on the mark for me – analyst houses that successfully combine their supplier and end user perspectives will be successful.

3. What’s your typical day like?
I
reply to the overnight e-mails first thing , respond to a handful of client enquiries in the early morning and typically have some content-related management to do such as planning or review reports with the team. We’ve normally got a project on the go so the remaining 50% of the day or so will be either working on fee earning assignments or writing content for the service. I look to limit my briefings to one or two a week – we increasingly have to be smarter about which briefings to attend.

4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
A few years back I attended a briefing where the supplier AR team guiding us through an open plan office on our way to the meeting room unintentionally walked us past marketing collateral mock ups for a new business which had not been announced. Personally, I once duly complied with an invitation to attend an analyst event in ‘business casual attire’ in my freshly pressed Chinos and my preppy shirt and jumper, only to find when I got to the event that everyone else had turned up in suits and ties. There’s a very funny photo of me in the auditorium with a back-drop of be-suited professionals behind me.

5. How do you position your firm? What is your business model? (where are your revenues coming from, mix between users and vendors?)
We are increasingly working with enterprise users – for the practice, this is the fastest growing area of our business. We position the firm as having great depth in data, combined with leading market research methodologies and practical advisory experience with end users which provides us with a real-world perspective. Since the acquisition of Ovum by Datamonitor, the depth of Ovum’s data has further improved and having access to industry experts in financial services, automotive, retail and healthcare has helped the whole enterprise services team. Reading some of the blogs, AR firms seem to have the notion that DM has somehow diminished the Ovum value. This is the polar opposite to my experience – we are in my view a stronger organization as a result of the acquisition… I’ve also had my research budget doubled, so my job is easier too!

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

Wherever possible we look to experience what we write about. It’s far easier to write incisively about an industry issue or supplier strategic intent having practical insight to share. However, we also turn to the usual research tools, including face to face briefings, telephone and online qualitative and quantitative research methods. I heavily rely on face to face meetings as I am all about personal contact and developing trusting two-way relationships between supplier and analyst. Such relationships are beneficial for both parties and the AR community is central in brokering this kind of interaction.

7. Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? Any why?
I would highlight Sally Elliott of BT Global Services who provides Ovum with excellent support and finds the time to connect us with the right people in her organization. She also has a firm grasp of BT’s business and positions her business heroically well. I am always impressed by the Cisco AR programme and would highlight David Taylor’s team at Cisco – I always come out of Cisco events with a new idea which I can build on and will therefore seek out their briefings. I am also seeing good things from the growing Telefonica team.

8. Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve atttended.
The best event I’ve been to recently was the Cable and Wireless AR day run by David Thain. The format was relatively simple (but difficult to achieve) – which was a positioning of the business by CEO and key executives followed by open discussion with some of their largest enterprise customers. The frankness of the customer interaction was refreshing and as a result it is the stand-out event for me.

9. What are your offerings and key deliverables?
For Enterprise research we have a schedule of reports lined up this year on fixed and mobile global managed services providers and their markets; major new reports on unified communications offerings from telecoms service providers and systems integrators; surveys on multinational end-users and their global service requirements through an exclusive deal with the EVUA. We’re also expanding our annual survey of SMEs worldwide, taking in more countries. And because this market is changing and getting ever more demanding, we’ve got some new products in the pipeline—like our managed scorecard for service providers- that will tie all of our analysis together. We’ve got a pipeline of consulting engagement with enterprise clients and telecoms operators that is growing and we like to think that is a response to our research outputs last year on how to manage network services and budgets through the current economic conditions. These projects also help inform our understanding of today’s market conditions.

10. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
I enjoy running and garner the strength to do a half marathon once a year. I also suffer the joys of being a Bristol City football supporter.

11. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
My biggest challenge is to continue to differentiate what we do in the practice – there’s plenty of choice in the market and some good competition. Standing out from the crowd and articulating the team’s difference and value to our clients is therefore key. Any ideas how we can improve here from what you’ve seen from Ovum, give me a call. In the next 30 minutes, I will be defining some inter-company peering SLAs for a UC managed service. A very dry topic for most I am sure, but in my view will be increasingly important to many suppliers and enterprises as they deploy integrated communications.

12. Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work  you rate highly?
Chris Lewis of IDC – although I am not really entering into the spirit of the question, as he’s my former boss and showed me the ropes of the analyst business. Chris has a great way of reaching the crux of the issue quickly and succinctly articulating his thoughts. Within Ovum, I think you will be hard pushed to find an analyst from any house more in touch with the UC market than Peter Hall. Eammon Kennedy has also done great things to improve our IT services business.

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IIAR launches on Plaxo Groups

There’s a new resource for IIAR members only: http://iiar.plaxogroups.com. Ludovic Leforestier and Hannah Kirkman are running the new group, which brings together analyst relations professionals on one of the most widely used online networking site.

The Plaxo group has three main advantages. First, it’s an easy way to stay in touch with this blog: postings here also appear on your Plaxo Pulse. Second, the group allows moderated discussion: unlike some LinkedIn groups, you’ll know that items posted to members of the IIAR group will always be relevant and on-point. Third, because Plaxo has the most up-to-date contact details for most professonals, it’s the best way to stay in touch with people in a fast-changing market.

IIAR members are encouraged to come over and join us; non-members should sign up not to share the fun.

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