Today’s star in the IIAR “Around in 10 questions” interview series is Forrester‘s Rachel Dines (@RachelDines, blog) who covers many aspects related to business continuity. She’s also one of the analysts taking the most inquiries I know of!
I’m back from the Forrester IT Forum last week, where I was invited to the AR Council (thank you @liz_pellegrini).
There I stumbled on a nice graph (right) published on John Rymer’s blogs and thought it summarises pretty well why AR should care about SocMed.
Many of my peers see blogs as an output for free research and Twitter as drinking from a chit-chat firehose. My argument there is that they’re missing the point.
Here’s the reasoning:
- Social media is declarative (people say what they want, where they want and choose to participate or not). This means you need to interact with a given audience where they are -on Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn or in the good old fashion way, at the pub. And chose the appropriate topic for the appropriate channel.
- Social media is a conversation -it’s the place to discuss and interact. I take many briefing requests from analysts on Twitter, post some comments on their blogs (if I’ve got something relevant to say and that complies with my employer’s blogging guidelines), all that to say it’s not a one way street.
- DO: use SocMed as a research tool. John is illustrating well how an analyst can test an idea, exchange with other analysts (this point is far tool little documented actually), etc. But it’s also a great research tool for AR pros to see what analysts are thinking about.
- Timing is everything. Research is nothing if not followed up by actions: being better connected with web 2.0 tools allows AR managers to insert the right proofpoint, topic, idea, in a conversation with much better chances of being picked up by analysts because it’s more relevant to their research agenda. The idea is to switch away from being reactive to being more proactive.
Nothing really revolutionary as good AR mangers already do all this by calling regularly their key analysts, but social media is a conversation accelerator, allowing AR pros to follow more analysts and interact with them in a more timely and proactive fashion.
James McGovern (@mcgoverntheory) has posted this on his blog (Enterprise Architecture: From Incite comes Insight) recently: Analyzing the Analysts: Comparison of Gartner and Forrester and I thought it was too good not to cross-post. So here you go, what do you think?
Analyzing the Analysts: Comparison of Gartner and Forrester
I currently follow the likes of Ray Wang of Altimeter, Nick Selby of Trident Risk Management, Brenda Michelson of Elemental Links, James Governor of Redmonk and others who periodically throw daggers. Their comparisons are usually cordial and tend to leave out certain relevant detail for us end-customer types to fully understand the real conversation. The challenge of the outsider looking in.
Industry Analyst Relations professionals such as Barbara French and Carter Lusher provide great insight for vendors on which analyst firms to work with, but otherwise leave a void in that they don’t address end customer considerations. Today’s blog entry starts with me attempting to emulate their style. Imitation is the best form of flattery…
IIAR discussion group with Forrester Research on May 14th – led by Ed Gyurko.
The IIAR is delighted to host a teleconference by Forrester Research to share some results from its recent interview series of AR managers and have an open exchange with the IIAR membership regarding our feedback. The call is scheduled for Friday 14th May 2010 from 1600 BST to 1700 BST / 11:00am EST to 12 noon EST.
The research firm’s VP/Role Manager Eric Lobel will share some of Forrester’s insights as it pertains to the issues central to the IIAR membership. In addition, Eric will allow time for Q & A for members to ask questions about the survey, Forrester’s approach to AR or any other questions, including questions about Forrester’s role-based research model.
For those interested in joining this discussion please email Jcourtenay (at) analystrelations [dot] org.
Josh Bernoff, yes as in Josh Groundswell Bernoff, from Forrester posted recently a great post on what analysts actually do. Now, it’s not a new subject but it’s still pretty difficult to explain to your mother. Joes does it elegantly and kindly accepted my request to reblog it here. Thank you @jbernoff!
PS: another thing about Josh, is that he’s got a really great job title: Senior VP, Idea Development
Forrester Research. That’s quite cool I thought….
As you think about the debate about Forrester’s blogging policy, I’d like to share a little more about how the opinions you read from Forrester analysts come about. With 15 years experience in this business, I know it’s a collaboration. The analyst needs data and support from the company, and the company needs the analyst’s brain and benefits from the reputation that analysts build up. A lot of time, resources, and quality standards go into what we do. I’d like to take you inside the relationship between analysts and Forrester. This is a long post, because there’s a lot that goes into what we do. Continue Reading →
Late last week I resurrected a common meme around Hitler’s downfall video but this time applied it to analyst relations.
In the original post, I simply let the parody of the video speak for itself but after reviewing the many comments on the blog and on twitter, I have noticed that quite a few people are commenting about what they can learn from this.
Needless to say, when AR is done well the scenario that this video portrays should never happen. Here are some of the key points:
There is some argument as to whether we need to do any EMEA outreach or whether it is sufficient to just speak to those in the US
Being an EMEA AR pro, this one really irks me. Even though the US analysts may sometimes be the lead for a specific topic area, this is not always the case. What’s more when end users wish to buy a solution they often ask the local analysts in their region for guidance. If you haven’t spoken to them, how can you hope for positive commentary. Finally the EMEA analysts can often give valuable advice regarding how to refine the messaging to make it more relevant for their geography as well as give advice on local issues that may not be important in other regions.
We are only positioned as a challenger. They scored us down because we didn’t provide enough customer evidence
There should never be any surprises when it comes to the MQ being published. Make sure you run plenty of inquiries and SAS days to fully understand where the analysts are positioning you and why and what you need to do to change their perception. Do the process and document everything and obviously you should make sure that your executive team are prepared for the eventual placement and understand why you are positioned where you are.
We were positioned well in the Forrester Wave… a well-respected alternative
Always investigate alternatives. Despite many execs and sales people often being incapably of looking beyond the MQ, there are many tools and analysts out there. It all depends on your objectives and defining which solution is right for you.
There are many more things you can take from this video as I have tried to include as many clichés as possible. Most importantly remember that this is created in jest as a parody for our wonderful AR industry. I hope you like it.
While Gartner (NYSE:IT) decided to buy out AMR and fill a coverage gap in SCM, with hindsight a strategy hinted in Cannes (well maybe?). The Gartner-AMR deal certainly has caused a bit of a stir, with over 6000 hits in the blogosphere! While I’m on that news item, I must add thatGartner will hosting tomorrow a special AR Webinar on AMR Research acquisition and that in addition of the blogs I list below (read those first: Carter’s, Bob’s and Tony’s entries before) there was a very relevant comment thread started by Merv Adrian and answered by Kate on inquiries.
Most of the respondents of our poll cited Forrester as the best “Second opinion” following this acquisition, so it’s interesting to note that while Gartner kept on its strategy to leverage its research through a deep sales coverage by investing in a key coverage area, Forrester on the other hand decided to expand its role-based research capabilities with capabilities to help IT vendors marketing more efficiently their products via buyers research, analytics, media planning, etc…
Impact for AR:
- While Forrester do have credibility and interesting offerings for marketing professionals and other roles, their product and especially industry coverage remains inconsistent.
- In particular, there have been some questions about replacing the recently departed (not litterally thank god) high-profile analysts such as Ray Wang (blog, Twitter) and Jeremiah Owyang (blog, Twitter).
- However, there are some signs that Forrester analysts may have more flexibility to resume limited coverage of industries.
- AR professionals need to clearly identify the roles analysts write for before engaging with them, as briefing a Forrester analyst does not necessarily align with their goals if they are coverage and end user impact.
Wrap-up of the posts on the Gartner-AMR deal:
- IIAR Blog: Gartner buys AMR -what’s the impact for AR Managers and competitors?
- Analyst Insight: Gartner buys AMR
- Analyst Equity: Gartner & AMR, but in the end its still organic growth vs. the Analyst Cycle
- Sage Circle: Gartner Acquiries AMR Research for $64m
- Technobabble: Gartner buys AMR
- Spend Matters: Gartner to Acquire AMR Research: Supply Chain and Procurement Analyst Game Over?
- ARcade: Gartner Buys AMR: A Tasty Post-Thanksgiving Meal
- Supply Chain Matters: AMR Research Acquired- Will This be a Void in Supply Chain Advisory Coverage?
- ITasITis: AMR clients: action needed!
- MGI Research: Gartner Acquires AMR – A Comment on IT Spending?
Here’s the agenda for today’s Forum –action packed as usual… and with the proverbial curry at the end!
1500-1530 Social media tutorial
1600-1605 Introductions and welcome
1605-1620 Report back from Gartner Symposium
1620-1655 Discussion groups:
– AR and social media
– Planning for 2010
– Gaining and maintaining executive support for AR
1655-1715 Discussion groups report back
1730-1830 Guest speaker: Brad Holmes, VP Technology Research at Forrester Research
1830 p.m. Close of meeting and informal dinner
Last week IIAR hosted a call with AR professionals about sharing best practices for managing the Forrester Wave. The IIAR last month published a paper about the Wave, which outlined common best practices in dealing with this high profile research report. Forrester is also in the middle of reviewing changes to the methodology, although it has signaled it doesn’t expect major changes this go around.
Curious to get other AR managers’ thoughts on the Wave. What has been your experience, and do you have any best practices you want to share?
For IIAR members, the paper is available on our extranet > Managing the Forrester Wave
DARA Event on 20.1.2009 / Podcast about the IIAR
As the year has started with some of the most negative predictions we have heard for the past years, it becomes obvious that close collaboration between AR professionals of different companies and among AR and IT research professionals will become even more important than before.
One little step towards this objective are the local events organized by the IIAR and its associated organizations and chapters. In Germany, a few volunteers and I have also worked to bring AR and IT research together.
Next week, we want to strike a balance and look ahead:
For the 20th of January this year, the German Analyst Relations Working Group, which is closely working together with the IIAR, is organizing a fireside chat and networking dinner in the city center of Frankfurt / Main. The official title is: “IT industry and the IT research industry in times of economic slowdown”
We are enabling networking and discussions between important analyst relations professionals on the one side and important analyst houses on the other side. We have seen extremely positive reactions to our plans from both, the IT industry and the analyst houses.
Our guests are:
- Wafa Moussavi-Amin, General Manager Germany & Switzerland, IDC
- Jeff Golterman, Group Vice President and Analyst Relations Community Leader, Gartner
- Peter O’Neill, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
- Stephan Kaiser, Senior Consultant, Pierre Audoin Consultants
We want to discuss the reactions of IT user organizations and IT vendors to a beginning worldwide recession. However, the perspective of the IT research industry is also important: How do they change, and how do they react / adapt to the new situation? This evening will be a possibility for all participants to share their thoughts, experiences and views on the market.
The event will be a wonderful opportunity to again raise the topic of officially opening a German Chapter of the IIAR in Germany. The German Analyst Relations Working Group (DARA) has developed a lot of momentum by today. The history of the DARA and the IIAR is a history of collaboration and mutual support. I personally hope that both organizations can push their level of integration even further.
The DARA will also elect a new board early this year. As a board member, I have led the organization of all its events until today. I would like to announce that this event will be the last I will have developed and organized: We are looking for someone who is dedicated to take on this responsibility in the future.
If you would like to hear the voices of some people involved in the IIAR (and DARA), you can listen to the latest podcast that I have just finished today. I recorded it end of last year with an IIAR Board member:
The topic is: “The Institute of Industry Analyst Relations – An interveiw with Peggy O’Neill” In this cast, we are talking to Peggy O’Neill about the IIAR and trends in the industry. Peggy startet her career as a journalist. Today, she is heading Hill & Knowlton‘s North American AR practice.
Listen to the podcast (direct link) – Part one of two (mp3, 8 min.)
If you like this cast, you can subscribe to it here.
If you would like to attend the fireside chat and networking dinner, there is a fee of 49 EUR per person to cover the cost for the dinner. This is the data you need: Date: 20 January 2009, Location: Frankfurt am Main, Germany – Kaminzimmer des “Tower – Bar & Restaurant”
Eschenheimer Turm, 60318 Frankfurt/Main – (Tower – Bar & Restaurant: Tel: 0 69 – 29 22 44)
See the agenda and get the latest news about the event here: http://www.dara-online.de
To reserve, please contact: Sebastian Grimm – E-Mail: Sebastian.Grimm@icido.de
Great post from Jeremiah Owyang from Forrester on the The 7 Tenets of the Connected Analyst.
My question to him is: how do you devise a research agenda and how maintain the right distance to separate reporting/blogging from analysis when your online life is connected, virtual and immediate?
This 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.
- 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.
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.
A recent piece by Lighthouse Analyst Relations on “bloggers vs. analysts” raises some interesting questions about whether and how firms should target their limited AR resources.
One argument says that AR professionals should focus their efforts only on those analysts who have the most direct influence on sales by advising end users, and that because of the demands that they make, it is hard to maintain meaningful relationships with a broad constituency of analysts.
A counter argument is that there are some very smart and influential analysts working within the vendor-facing analyst firms and smaller, more specialised consultancies and an AR programme will be the poorer for ignoring them. Proponents of the latter approach also point to the indirect influence that analysts can have on a firm’s brand awareness and sales, for example through quotes in the media and blog posts.
At the core of this discussion is the understanding of analyst influence. Why are industry analysts such an important audience?
Let’s be clear. In our view, there’s no doubt about the influence of the industry analyst community as a whole on purchasing decisions by technology buyers. In a report by a team of analysts (including Ellen Carney and Kevin Lucas), Forrester Research recently published the results of a survey of 1,143 IT decision makers in North America and Europe which showed that independent IT research firms came a close fourth in a list of information sources relied upon when researching and comparing IT products and services (see Figure 1).*
Knowledge Capital Group, Lighthouse AR, Hill & Knowlton and Freeform Dynamics (to name a few) have all done something similar so this Forrester study is just the latest piece of research that shows the direct importance of the analyst to the technology buyer.
It also shows that the media is an important source of information to the buyer. So should we target analysts that get themselves quoted in the business media? Vendor web sites come top so perhaps we also need to talk analysts who can provide us a quote for the website – or will write a report that we can then post up as marketing collaterial?
The way that analyst influence works is complex and multi-facted. It changes depending upon where a buyer is in the sales cycle. It varies depending on the buyer’s industry and country.
The bottom-line is that, as AR professionals, we all know analysts are important to our business and influential on our buyers. The bigger question is how that influence works and how we can best tap into it.
We’d love to hear your views.
* Source: Mastering the First Analyst Briefing Tour by Forrester Research, Inc., February 26, 2008. Reprinted with Forrester’s kind authorisation.
At Thursday’s IIAR forum in London I presented results from a recent survey of vendor-side Analyst Relations managers. It asked how influential they rated certain analyst firms as being, and then whether they are rising of falling in influence.
Credit for the survey belongs to Jonny Bentwood and the others on the IIAR’s survey working party, who selected the firms listed.
The chart above shows the results, after the ‘falling’ percentage’ (for each analyst firm, the percentage of IIAR members surveyed who felt that its influence had fallen) has been subtracted from the rising percentage (thanks to Ludovic for working out how to embed the chart in this post).
For those in the know, the results are not too surprising: Forrester is the big riser, with IDC, Ovum and Yankee all doing well. The big losers are no surprise either: Bloor, Frost and Butler.
But what interests me is the trend line: generally, AR managers fell that the smaller and less influential firms are falling in influence, while the larger firms are generally rising in influence.
This really reinforces my opinion about the smaller analyst firms that trade on free research and internet profile. While their research is certainly worth reading, some vendors’ inflated expectations of 2006 now seem to be turning into sober judgement about where the real influence is building up.