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Around Tom Reuner from HfS Research in 10 questions

Tom Reuner SmallToday we ask our infamous ten probing questions of Tom Reuner (LinkedIn, @tom_reuner) from HfS Research where Tom Reuner is now the Managing Director of IT Outsourcing Research.

 

Questions:

1.    What are your coverage areas?
IT and business services. My remit is to drive the HfS research agenda for the “As-a-Service Economy” across SaaS applications, cloud eco-systems and IT. Together with my HfS colleagues I will continue to develop the research around process automation and cognitive computing in both IT and business processes.

2.    What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
As I am getting old, now and then I indulge in memories of the good old days when I started at Gartner. The industry was in its infancy and even my modest knowledge did go a long way. These days an analyst has to be a segment specialist, being able to consult on very specific problems and be perceived as influencer through social media or more traditional means. The ubiquity of social media has not only changed the channels for research but introduced the notion of immediacy. HfS is at the forefront of reinventing the analyst model and that is part of the reason why I opted to join the folks. However, the downside in the industry is the consolidated nature of the analyst space with clients gravitating toward the big brands largely to mitigate risks and play the brand equity game.

3.    What’s your typical day like?
Luckily there is no such thing as a typical day. Suffice it to say being German I try to be organized but any schedule is constantly being re-written by clients and industry events. Ever since I had my own analyst firm, the boundaries between work and private life are being blurred as the laptop plays a significant part in both spheres. On “quieter” days when I am not travelling even before the first coffee I check the inbox and on industry events. The morning is mostly spend tracking the industry news flow and talk to clients. In the afternoon I will try hard avoid being a master procrastinator as my lovely wife calls it and work on deliverables.

4.    Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
The AR community is doing a terrific job battling with their internal stakeholders while feeding the insatiable appetite of us analysts for information and briefings. As for horror stories what happens in the community stays within the community. However, where I roll my eyes when companies or AR folks do a blind or unsophisticated tiering. I have worked for Gartner and I had my own firm. – which represent the extremes in the analyst food chain. Having seen one vendor having seating arrangements at a briefing where the front row was exclusively reserved for Gartner folks regardless whether they even cover the vendor was such an eyebrow moment.

5.    How do you position your firm? What is your business model?
As a boutique firm you constantly have to differentiate and to stay ahead of the market. At HfS, we’re the leading analyst authority and knowledge community for the global services industry. We also exist outside of the walls of the CIO’s office and cover business operations, such as finance, HR and supply chain, while most of competitors are still firmly stuck only covering IT and technology speeds and feeds.  We actually get deep into the weeds of business processes to understand how they are enabled and optimized by technology. In addition, our knowledge community of more than 100,000 services professionals is a huge differentiator for us as we can constantly test the pulse of our network with our regular surveys (we talk to more than 5,000 buyers of IT and business services a year). Our webcasts get over 1000 people regularly in them and our research and blogs / soundbites are read by thousands of readers everyday. In short we’re as much as media brand these days as we are analyst – service buyers love our insight and networking, while vendors love our strategic guidance, data and influencer over the buyer.

Our revenues come from four channels: 1) Enterprise uses/buyers of IT and Business Services; 2) “Big 4” Management Consulting firms; 3) Investors and PE; 4) Services and Tech vendors. Our mix is: 1) Enterprise uses/buyers of IT and Business Services – 40%; 2) “Big 4” Management Consulting firms – 15%; 3) Investors and PE firms – 10%; 4) Services and Tech vendors – 35%

6.    What is your research methodology?
A unique blend of thought-leadership that is underpinned by primary research and real-time survey data from our network. The thought leadership is enhanced through broad C-level access while the primary research is leveraging HfS’ vast community, I haven’t come across any other firm with a comparable focus on primary research.

7.    Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? Any why?
There are too many to single anybody out, but representative for the community a few names jump to mind. Veterans (in the best sense of the word) like Clare Loxley at HP or Jacqui McCouat at IBM, though they have moved on to pastures new. People like Ani Mukherjee at HCL who has grown in statue ever since we met and we have become good friends and shared the odd cigar. Representative for the many small vendors in process automation who don’t have dedicated AR functions, Daniela Zuin at IPsoft is the pick of the bunch. What all of these folks have in common is that they understand my requirements, are proactive and just fun to do business with.

 

8.    Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
I wish there would be more time for escapism, but travel and work takes up a lot of my time. The more I treasure the time we can spend with family and friends, often I end up cooking which I really enjoy. At my advanced age these indulgences need to be balanced by as much sport as possible to stay reasonably in shape. Restaurant? The best find for a long time is the The Chancery in Central London. A new up and coming chef who cooks sublime and innovative dishes.

9.    What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 minutes?
One of the reasons for HfS to approach me was to take their coverage into adjacent segments and to broaden the client base. Some of this research will be taking me outside my comfort zone but that is equally exiting as it is challenging. That is the only way you evolve as an analyst. As a company to scale while retaining the high quality of research and maintaining a unique culture is another challenge that we all will be working very hard on.

10.  Is there another analyst whose work  you rate highly?
I had the privilege to work with many outstanding analysts over the years. Many of them have become good friends and there are too many to mention. When I started out as an analyst I learned my trade at Gartner from shadowing Steve Brazier who now heads up Canalys. Without aiming to flatter my boss, Phil Fersht is constantly redefining the boundaries of what it means to be an analyst. And last but by no means least, Ian Brown at Ovum. He is an unsung hero but one of the smartest and nicest guys in the business.

Related Articles …

IIAR Webinar – A Fiery Fireside Chat with R “Ray” Wang of Constellation Research and Phil Fersht of HfS.
Around Phil Fersht from HfS Research in 10 Questions
HfS Research and Sylvan Advisory combine to form HfS Consulting – a service line of HfS Research

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“Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM”

“Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM”  – a widely used cliché (FUD) from the 70s and 80’s. This would not work as a sales line now and perhaps, the days of “No one ever got the sack for using Gartner” and the role of AR professionals are also numbered ?

Disrupting the status quo of the legacy analyst firms with their “Fiery Fireside Chat“, on 26th September, were R “Ray” Wang (@rwang0)of Constellation Research and Phil Fersht (@pfersht) of HfS. This great discussion raised many points of interest for all Analyst Relations professionals; like: Do you have the right boss? Who do the analysts speak to in your company? and Do you spend too much time completing surveys ? Continue Reading →

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IIAR Webinar – A Fiery Fireside Chat with R “Ray” Wang of Constellation Research and Phil Fersht of HfS.

constellationResearch_logo[1]hfsresearch_logo_small.pngA Fiery Fireside Chat with R “Ray” Wang of Constellation Research and Phil Fersht of HfS.

Disrupting the status quo of the legacy analyst firms:

An IIAR Webinar with les enfants terribles of the industry research industry. Speak with two disruptors, they’re both loud, they claim to break away from what they call legacy research but what are they really doing differently? Are they influential other than on Twitter?

Don’t miss the opportunity to join R “Ray” Wang and Phil Fersht in what promises to be a “fiery” discussion.  Continue Reading →

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IIAR London Forum on 7th March 2013 in London

The next IIAR London Forum will be held on March 7th at 1600 GMT in London (near Victoria)!

For this event we have two great topics on the agenda:

  1. Best Practice session on ‘Sponsoring and Exhibiting at Analyst Events’. Which events and sponsorship types work, what are some of the best practices to get the best value from your investment and which specific analyst events work (and which don’t). Led by a panel of expert AR professionals including Caroline Dennington (Symantec) and Julian Dobbins (Micro Focus).
  2. Analyst Roundtable on ‘Hot Buttons for Financial Services’. Where will the analysts be focusing their research in this sector in 2013 and how can you best position your company’s products and services as a result. Confirmed for this panel are Peter Redshaw (Gartner), Daniel Mayo (Ovum), Catherine Stagg-Macey (Celent), Alex Kwiatkowski (IDC Financial Insights) and Ralph Silva (SRN, HfS and often times the BBC) with Sally Yates (Metia) as chair.

    Continue Reading →

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Around Phil Fersht from HfS Research in 10 Questions

Today we learn more about Phil Fersht, CEO at HfS Research. Phil has become a household name in the BPO business with a long track record of analysing this technology sector. Having worked as a Director at IDC for five years and then as VP at Yankee, Phil went on to work for Deloitte Consulting and AMR Research before joining HfS Research in 2009. You can follow Phil’s updates via twitter and LinkedIn or hear more from him and his team via the HfS blog.

  1. What are your coverage areas?
    Business and IT Services:  Business Process Outsourcing, ERP implementation strategies, Shared Services and Outsourcing, CFO and Business Operations strategies
  2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
    It’s struggling to change the status quo of the last 15+ years. The traditional analyst firms are still making money so they have no burning platform for change. All their research is firewalled and very slow to market and their analyst blogs are rarely read and clearly regulated. Too many of the analysts, especially in services, are not from real industry/practitioner backgrounds, which frustrates clients because they want to talk to analysts who’ve done more than pontificate from an ivory tower. At the same time, I do not see many analyst firms challenging their dominant position, so do not expect to see much change anytime soon. Continue Reading →
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[Guest Post] Does the consulting approach beat published research?

By: Simon Levin, The Skills Connection / IIAR UK Co-Chapter Lead

We saw an interesting blogging spat last week between Stanton Jones of ISG and Lydia Leong at Gartner, with the flames fanned by tweeted comments from Phil Fersht of HfS. The row was centred on some research published recently by Lydia on managed hosting providers, but its ramifications are much wider.

For those who haven’t yet followed the Twitter feeds and blog links, let me try to summarise what’s going on.

Stanton’s charge is that Magic Quadrants serve a purpose by offering insight into vendors and products, but that the high-level nature of the analysis means they are poor primary tools for making choices. He emphasises the lack of nuance possible in a written article, compared with the detailed, customised insight that can be provided via a consulting engagement. And, of course, he is right. Continue Reading →

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HfS Research and Sylvan Advisory combine to form HfS Consulting – a service line of HfS Research

HfS Research announces revolutionary new on-demand service division to support enterprises with complex decision-making around outsourcing and business operations strategy

New York, New York, November 29th, 2011HfS Research, the leading global analyst advisory firm covering outsourcing and shared services strategies, today announced it has joined forces with Sylvan Advisory to form HfS Consulting.  This revolutionary new service offering of the HfS Research organization is geared to support global enterprises’ complex decision making around outsourcing, shared services and global business operations.

HfS Consulting is a unique coming together of acclaimed research, benchmarking analytics, market insight and strategic consulting expertise.  It is revolutionary in the fact that enterprise clients can access ongoing analysis, data and expert advice via an annual, affordable and on-demand subscription relationship model, as opposed to solely buying costly “hourly billable” consulting services.  Moreover, HfS Research and Sylvan Advisory have developed a reputation over the years for delivering unbiased, practical, clear-sighted insight and advice for enterprises.  Continue Reading →

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IIAR USA Virtual Forum: 2012 Predictions

A distinguished panel of US analyst experts will be discussing hot trends for 2012 in the world of IT services and software for 1-hour on Wednesday 30th November at 11am ET / 8am PT / 4pm GMT.

Guest speakers:

Phil Fersht, Founder & CEO, HfS Research

Mark Smith, CEO & Chief Research Officer, Ventana Research

Moderator: Gerry Van Zandt, HP

We are delighted to have such a distinguished line up of panellists. Both Mark and Phil are IIAR Analyst of the Year award winners having been voted by you as the most respected analysts in the business.

If you would like to take part in this call please email me to confirm your place and receive dial-in details. This call is for IIAR members only.

 

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