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Has time come for a disruptive analyst firm?

Wine connoisseurs take as much pleasure talking about drink than savouring it…. so let me indulge you into an analogy between research firms and some of my favourites.

As with fine wines and corporate buying trends, so goes analyst firms.  The shift of power from IT to Business signifies a move from Wine to Champagne….

Ray (@rwang0, LinkedIn, blog) writes here about the latest IIAR Forum London and he’s got a few interesting points.

  1. Client base and research approach
    • There’s a wine analogy there: Gartner is like a Bordeaux (predictable blends) and Forrester is more like a Burgundy (more variable but sometimes great).
    • Gartner tends to sell to a mature IT audience, which is where most of the IT budget is. Its research output thus tends to be more conservative, after all most people don’t really want to experiment the at bleeding edge. As a result, it’s unlikely you’ll be surprised by a genial piece of research.
    • Forrester does this as well, but because (or thanks to) its marketing research, also cater for that role and its research style tends to be more adventurous (the Giga legacy probably) even if its coverage quality and quality is less constant.
    • And IDC sells to IT vendors mostly, a little to industry leaders (has to be a Côtes du Rhône, with elements of both depending on the individual analyst for opinion whilst the trackers are more constant –Shiraz is a bit like Marmite, it’s “love it or hate it”).
    • The point there is that your client base is your legacy, and unless you’re Steve Jobs or Henry Ford, most fail to break away from ‘building a faster horse’. In IT research aspects, it translates into “IT must align with business” (yawn). Analysts have been preaching this for the last 15 years, and it seems the issue hasn’t gone away.  Some part of the IT will be run as a utility (a better word than cloud, and in the same bucket than facilities and real estate) whilst the innovative stuff will be done by the business. IT is the business, the rest is a commodity (this doesn’t mean that everyone knows how to provision a commodity efficiently).
    • Another interesting aspect is that because they sell to a mature audience, they will confronted to a bit of an issue when baby-boomers will (finally) retire in the coming 5 years and be replaced by Gen-X and Gen-Y who have no appetite for academic style research. [Note: there’s a discussion here with some fellow IIAR members on whether the Gartner client base is that, er, experienced. What do you think?]
      Indeed Gartner is trying (again) to grow its SMB user base, but unless they radically change the way research is written, they will probably fail again. Constellation has probably a good card to play there by targeting smaller, innovative companies –even though up to 2/3 won’t make it into adult age.
  2. On “design point”, Constellation is pitching itself right in the “future of work” trend.
    • For analysts, time will tell if it’s ensuring, but trying to retain them by force (check this letter from Forrester’s CEO George Colony on non-compete) isn’t going to build a star-stable. Indeed, whilst Gartner seems to be doing a good job at keeping its best analyst, but it’d be curious to see how the average experience of Forrester analysts has evolved over time. There seem to be more researchers who graduated as analysts than analysts who came from a previous career. That in itself isn’t a sole predictor for insight, though it helps, but one would think that there’s a cost aspect (it’s the Forrester vs. the Giga models).
    • For users, I’d venture out to say it’s again like Marmite.  For establish companies, dealing with established brands having real offices offices is probably deemed ‘safer’. For Constellation’s target customers, meeting in a Stabucks probably isn’t a problem. James Governor (@monkchips, blog) seems to have found out that being unconventional actually helps with his specific audience: developpers.
  3. On analyst access
    • In terms of business model, Ray is indeed accessible which is quite refreshing compared to other analysts who for instance reduce briefing slots to 30mn. Whether that can be scaled without administering Modafinil to the rest remains to be seen.
    • For end users, it would be a net-gain if the processes to ensure a constant user experience as Constellation grows in size work effectively.
  4. On research approach
    • Legacy firms underplay the community aspect indeed but let’s not forget that Gartner is quite a large community in itself.
    • From an end-user aspect, one could expect more innovative research.
  5. On sales
    • IMHO it’s where I’ll be watching Constellation as converting from a consulting model to a RAS one isn’t that straightforward. So far they seem to be on the right track though.

Bottom line:

  • Gaining enough scale to gain a sufficient end-user base is challenging for mid-sized firms but Constellation seem to be making all the right noises.
  • Establish firms need to break away from their traditional user base to reinvent themselves before baby-boomers retire.

Ludovic Leforestier (LinkedIn, @lludovic)

See also Duncan’s post on the IIAR Forum with Constellation:

And Ray Wang’s own post:

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Cloud Set to Dominate 2012

The UK’s recent IIAR Forum saw both IDC and Ovum present their predictions for the IT industry in 2012.

Cloud came through as the area of focus for 2012 and will be the dominant platform. While SaaS spend will be more discretionary, PaaS will be the fastest growing platform accounting for 80% of the volume of new applications distributed by the cloud, according to IDC. Ovum also put cloud as one of their key 2012 Super Themes saying there will be an evolution in the cloud with a focus on how to build the private cloud. Their feeling was, as with IDC, was that PaaS would be the fastest growing cloud segment and that enterprise adoption of the public cloud would significantly increase over the year.

Jane Doorly, VP of IDC discussed the industry’s shift to the “third platform” built on mobile, cloud, social, and Big Data technologies which will accelerate in 2012 forcing the industry’s leaders to make bold investments and fateful decisions. Continue Reading →

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IIAR UK Gets Festive!

Sponsors of the IIAR Christmas Event, UK

IIAR FORUM and CHRISTMAS NETWORKING WITH THE ANALYSTS 

Thursday 8th  December, 3pm onwards

 

What better way to end the year with than to hear about analyst predictions for 2012 and then meet with your analyst buddies and AR colleagues at an informal networking event over a celebratory glass. It’s an action-packed afternoon with two analyst presentations plus a formal introduction to the new IIAR Board.

The event will be held on Thursday 8th December in central London with the networking celebrations taking place immediately after. It’s a great opportunity to wish your analyst friends and AR colleagues a Happy Christmas while meeting some new faces too.

This event is very kindly being sponsored by Metia – a global digital marketing agency with vertical experts in PR, AR, partner marketing and customer advocacy.

Speakers:

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Gartner Wields the Most Influential Influencers, Peers, Not Analysts

A Glimpse into Peer Connect

Every AR person knows that many of the most influential analysts in the information technology industry work at Gartner.  But analysts are not the most influential influencers out there, peers are – IT buyerPicture showing ranking of influencerss and practitioners most trust the insights of other IT buyers and practitioners who have been through similar buying and implementation processes. The historical blockades to peer-to-peer exchange, however, have been (a) finding qualified peers and (b) providing a safe harbor for peers that prefer to remain anonymous in order
to participate. Continue Reading →

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The IIAR at IDC Directions, Boston and San Jose

At IDC Directions on March 9th in Boston and on March 15th in San Jose, approximately 80 AR professionals attended the IDC-IIAR luncheon program – in fact the San Jose program was packed and IDC had to turn away walk-ins due to a lack of seats.  The program at both venues included speeches by Crawford Del Prete / Executive Vice President of IDC’s worldwide research (bio, @craw), Barbara French / Senior Director of Analyst Relations,  Juniper Networks (blog, @bfr3nch) and founder of Tekrati (now discontinued due to Barbara’s role at Juniper) and USA chapter heads from the IIAR. Continue Reading →

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IDC-IIAR Luncheons at IDC Directions: March 9th Boston, March 15th San Jose

Presentations by Crawford Del Prete, Barbara French and the IIAR

Going to IDC Directions in Boston or San Jose in March, or thinking about it? You are invited to attend a special luncheon co-hosted by the IIAR at IDC’s U.S. Directions for analyst relations professionals. Besides networking with fellow AR people, there will be presentations by IDC EVP Crawford DelPrete and Barbara French, founder of Tekrati and Sway (see www.barbarafrench.net). Continue Reading →

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Jan 12th IIAR Discussion Group for Mobile World Congress

Yesterday’s Teleconference on best practice AR for GSM featured Liz Pellegrino, Program Director for GSM, Elizabeth Rainge, IDC analyst, and Jon Peet, Head of Industry Analyst Relations, Nokia Siemens Networks. The panelists shared their expertise and recommendations for getting the most out of Mobile World Congress taking place in Barcelona in February. They also discussed some of the challenges involved in managing executive interviews with the large number of analysts who turn out for this event.

Members can find the notes from this call here.

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Gartner details the MQ process

Magic Quadrant ChartFollowing some debate on Quora ( How much does it cost to be included in Gartner Magic Quadrant?,  do make sure you check Nancy Erskine’s answer), Lydia Leong from Gartner did publish a very useful blog post on The process of a Magic Quadrant.

Gartner’s MQ continues to be the source of much debate, mostly since it pits vendors against each others some are bound to be disappointed (a MQ with all vendors in the leaders quadrant won’t probably be of much use to IT buyers).
Gartner has overhauled the process in the last 5 years and made it quite robust now, though the weightings and ratings are still not publicised (a key difference with Forrester’s wave and IDC’s Decision matrixShort List).

No one asked for my opinions, so here they are:

  • it’s better to be in than not, even if in the niche quadrant
  • an MQ is better than a Marketscope (I don’t like rating vendors against a linear scale because it implies you should choose the one to the right)
  • an MQ is still only 2 dimensions (hear below Gideon Gartner on this point)
  • allocate enough time, about 100-120 man hours per MQ on the vendor side
  • make sure you manage your constituents expectations and get their support
  • IIAR members should read @edgyurko’s Best Practice Paper (link below)

Does this help? What is your experience? Do you have any tips?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7zzl1RM02U]

Related posts:

 

13/1/11 edit: corrected the “IDC MQ” name after Vuk’s comment (below).

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Join the IIAR for AR Best Practice Teleconference at Mobile World Congress

As a result of several requests, for the second year the IIAR will host a best practice AR teleconference focused on the Mobile World Congress (MWC), which takes place in Barcelona this February. The event is now less than two months away and the clock is ticking. In past years up to 50,000 attendees showed up in Barcelona, all hoping to make the most out of the event. What’s the best strategy for successful AR in this kind of environment? Continue Reading →

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The IIAR Analyst of the Year 2010

This year the IIAR conducted the largest survey yet to identify who AR pro’s believe are the best firms and analysts in the market. These awards, summarising the votes of over 150 participants, reflect a significant change from previous winners and demonstrate that in a year of monetary uncertainty more focus has been spent geared towards the large international houses as oppose to the regional boutiques.

Continue Reading →

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Around Douglas Hayward from IDC in 10 questions

Today’s star analyst in our reasonably priced Around in 10 Questions series is Douglas Hayward from at IDC. You can find Douglas at Twitter under @douglashayward.

1. What are your coverage areas?

From October 2010 (earlier in reality), I’ll be co-ordinating IDC’s Western European IT services and business services forecasts (business services basically means business consulting services and BPO). I’ll also be running the European Services: Markets and Competitive Insights subscription research program, an overview program that tracks the dynamics and fortunes of the European services market, and those of the key vendors.

I’m also launching a very exciting new IDC service that I can’t talk about yet.  As well as all that, I’ll continue tracking the business consulting market in Western Europe – but note that from October onwards, I’m no longer officially tracking BPO in Western Europe. I reckon I’ve got enough to keep me busy without BPO. Continue Reading →

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Around Mike Fauscette from IDC in 10 questions

Michael Fauscette from IDCToday’s star analyst in our Around in 10 Questions series is Michael Fauscette who heads up IDC‘s enterprise software team. You can find Mike on Twitter under @mfauscette and on his blog www.mfauscette.com.

  1. What are your coverage areas?
    I run the Software Business Solutions Group at IDC which includes coverage on enterprise software: ERP, CRM, PLM, PPM, SCM, Collaboration and Social Software plus SaaS, Cloud, Open Source Software, Software pricing and licensing and software partners, channels and alliances. My personal research is mostly focused on emerging trends and hot topics in enterprise software which includes things like social business, the mobile enterprise, usability and cloud. Continue Reading →
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IDC Reveals its Global Strategy and Research Agendas at July IIAR London Forum

Martin Canning and Philippe de Marcillac, IDC 

The July IIAR London Forum, hosted by Waggoner-Edstrom in Covent Garden,  was well attended by IIAR members.  IDC analyst Martin Canning was joined by Philippe de Marcillac, Executive Vice President, International Business Units and provided valuable insight into IDCs global operations and coverage.

A full recap of the Forum is available to members here.  A special thanks goes Annemiek Hammelink, Waggener-Edstrom, for hosting the Forum, and to Charmain Chan (@CharmainChan) of Edelman for providing the minutes.

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July IIAR London Forum Features IDC Speaker

Our next IIAR London Forum is set for Tuesday, July 27th.  We are delighted to welcome guest analyst Martin Canning, Vice President  of IDC EMEA who will provide an update on strategy, research agendas, and how to best work with IDC. The Forum kicks off at 3:45 p.m. with a limited number of guest places  available for those who have not previously been to an IIAR event.

Members can register with the IIAR secretary jcourtenay (at) analystrelations . (org) and email questions to lleforestier at the same email domain.

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Downfall: Gartner MQ and learnings

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjG8KivYFZ0]

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.

 

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[GUEST POST] Briefing tips and best practices from Lisa Rowan / IDC

Analyst PhotoOur guest post today is from Lisa Rowan (Twitter handle: @lisarowan), IDC’s Program Director for HR, Learning and Talent Strategies.  Read on for Lisa’s tips for briefing analysts from the analyst perspective.

There are excellent resources available to assist the AR profession including IIAR but on this side of the briefing table, it seems like that advice is not universally followed. As analysts we get a steady stream of requests for our time and often for a first introduction. I’d say that for the most part this goes well but there are some tips I thought might be worth underscoring to make the briefings effective for you and the analyst. For a lot of you, these might seem obvious but trust me that I wouldn’t write these tips if there weren’t situations where these things occur.

Meeting an analyst for the first time.- give them the details at a glance

If an analyst hasn’t met you before, it’s wise to put all of your company’s essential details on one slide of your briefing deck as the first thing you cover. Include number of employees, headquarters location, when you were founded, who were the founders, your revenue (say it’s NDA but provide it anyway), and the names of a few of your marquis accounts. If you don’t do this, the analyst will ask anyway or sit there waiting for you to tell them.

Whether the first time or an update briefing – send your deck early

Send your briefing deck (and by all means have one, not doing so is awkward for all) at a minimum the day prior to the briefing. Often sadly, decks come in an hour or so before the call and then once on the call the company representatives ask the analyst if they’ve had a chance to review it. The answer is usually ‘no’ as there just hasn’t been time. Sending it a day prior ups the probability of them actually getting to know your company a bit before the call which is a great thing.

The one hour rule and being on time

Most briefings are one hour in length and analysts often book back-to-back so there will be a hard stop. You should verify this and honor it and make sure you aren’t breathlessly wrapping up with no time for feedback at xx:59. You generally want feedback or you should so leave time for it. One way to ensure you get the most time and make a good impression is to be on time and that means for everyone that is joining the call. Nothing is worse than in the first few minutes the teleconference bridge service keeps beeping with people late to join. As a corollary, try not to have folks on the call that are not introduced, lurking is just kind of unsettling.

Try to know something about the analyst ahead of time

Do some homework and make sure everyone that is going to be on your end is at least passably familiar with the analyst’s bio, coverage area, and body of work. Most analysts have an on-line bio and list of research so this shouldn’t be tough. You wouldn’t make a client call without doing some background and so the same holds true with analysts. It doesn’t hurt to interject something about the analyst into conversation — something you read about them, or a thought around a piece of their recent research. It’s all about relationship.

Tread carefully on the competition

Unfortunately, analysts occasionally hear vendors slamming the competition. I can’t speak for every analyst but this is not music to my ears. I have competition myself but I think of other analysts in a similar coverage area as colleagues, we see each other and greet each other warmly at events where we are together. Yes, it’s important to differentiate but do so on strengths and not on demeaning the rest of the market.

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