Around Ralph Silva in 10 questions

Ralph Silva of  Silva Research Network was featured  in the Vertical Analysts panel at the IIAR London Forum on May 27th. Ralph graciously accepted our invitation to answer our infamous “Around in 10 questions” interview – many thanks to Ralph for sharing his insights!

what is your area of coverage

The firm covers all industries but I’m personally responsible for the financial services practice.

What are your opinions on the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going

It’s a 1950’s business trying to serve a 2010 world……The business is a shadow of itself, too slow for a 24/7 world, so expensive that its audience is limited to less than 1% of any firm, in an attempt to satisfy everyone, they end up satisfying no one and lastly its supporting the operational needs of the back office ignoring the fundamentals, that is to help companies develop products that customers are actually willing to buy. The business will always exist, it serves a critical need, however, just like buggy whips, fewer companies serving very specialized needs.

What is your typical day like

My day starts at 4am with a review of the day’s most important news stories, by 0530, I’m typically at a broadcaster (BBC, CNBC, Bloomberg or CNN) and on air analysing the ramifications of a particular story. Once my broadcasting commitments are over, I focus on production (we deliver all our content through video) and I end the day spending a few hours keeping up to date with trends.

How do you position your firm? what is your business model

We don’t use paper…..We believe that video is the next delivery method, all our research is developed in support of the strengths of PC and Mobile phone video distribution. We also don’t believe in limiting the number of people that can view output, we provide a licence that is limited in time only, the customer can distribute as widely as they wish, including the use of the content as a sales tool. Lastly, we develop content based on customer needs, we are given our subjects by our customers and we produce content to address the very specific needs of individual customers, we avoid generalizations whenever possible.

What is your research methodology?

Our target is the business side decision makers for IT intensive areas, therefore, our analysis is geared towards the business rational for investments. We focus on current events as a foundation for our video’s as most managers have to address change immediately. We also strive for the highlights. We believe that the traditional 10+ page report is only appealing to a couple of people in any customer, therefore, we target the 99% of the company that need the highlights, for this reason our video’s are typically in the 3 to 5 minute range.

Any favourite AR professional you would like to mention? and why?

I have a soft spot for the Metia team, I have to admit that many years back whenever I saw a Metia member I would hide, but over the past few years I’ve come to appreciate the way they work and the way they respect analyst time.

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

I’m not a big fan of the one day briefing, although it’s nice to meet colleagues from other firms I just don’t feel like I get enough out of what is a fairly large investment in time. What I like is the dedicated briefing at the all day sessions. What this means is that you join up for an initial group session and then you break out into specific one on one meetings.

What are your offering and key deliverables?

We have two types of deliverables, core and specialized. Our core offering is called SRN Currents, the best way to describe it is to image CNBC was producing a news cast for a single brand. We summarize the current events that are relevant to our customer and its customers. This product is delivered on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Secondly, we have our bespoke specialized products. SRN Visions is a 3 minute highlight video that can be used as a sales support tool. SRN Reports is a 20 minute video that is equivalent to a written research report but written for video distribution. SRN Education is intended for internal use only and helps sales people position products. We also have event support products and produce product specific videos.

Any hobbies or favourite restaurant/Food that you’d like to share?

My favourite restaurant is my own kitchen! and when I’m not working I’m typically behind a camera working on my photographic art business.

Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work you rate highly?

I’ve always been impressed by Peter Redshaw at Gartner, I’ve never known an analyst that can produce so much and so quickly.

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