Today’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.
- 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.
- What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
I think most of us would agree that we are an industry in the midst of change. Some of that change is being driven by vendors and end users, but more of it is really the result of the impact of the social web and the changing definitions of influence. Traditional business models are being challenged by newer approaches and many analysts and firms are experimenting with new social publishing outlets, models, and ways of creating value for clients. In many ways today it’s easier to establish expertise and build a following thereby creating a strong personal brand. The firms benefit from the strength of the personal analyst brand and of course the analyst gets benefit from the firm brand in return. Some firms are having a harder time with this new paradigm of influence but I’m lucky enough to be associated with a firm that understands and chooses to leverage the mutual benefit of strong personal and firm brand.
- What’s your typical day like?
“Typical”, well most of my days are not typical, which is one of the things I love about this job. In general I spend time everyday balancing research, which includes vendor briefings, web based research (I follow and scan / read a few hundred blogs every day), end user conversations, etc.; writing (I try to publish 2-3 blog posts a week plus several research reports a quarter); handling client inquiries (vendors, financial clients and end users organizations); engaging on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn; and working on consulting deliverables (which range from primary research projects / surveys, presentations, webinars, videos, sponsored research reports, to strategy sessions with a range of clients including executive staffs, product marketing staff, board of directors and end user IT management). Of course there are also “typical” days that are built around vendor events like user conferences (my favorite because I get to spend so much time with end users in a contained environment) and analysts summits that change the routine up quite a bit. I attend quite a few events each year, not only vendor sponsored but also other events like Enterprise 2.0 conferences, CRM evolution conference, etc. and often speak at these events as well.
- How do you position your firm? What is your business model?
Our business, as with most of the larger firms, is a mix of subscription revenue and consulting. Each of the practice areas and programs vary a bit in the distribution of that mix but my group tends to be about 50/50 between the two. As far as clients in my business those include software vendors, end user organizations and a broad range of financial institutions.
- What is your research methodology?
You can probably get a good feel from what I’ve written on the other questions but I try to balance primary data sources with secondary research. We conduct quite a few surveys, I talk to a lot of vendors, end users / CIO’s / executives / managers, financial portfolio managers and analysts, etc., read constantly from blogs, reports, news sources, etc. and engage in conversations on several social sites. Because I focus on emerging trends it’s critical for me to get exposure to a broad range of data sources.
- Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? Any why?
Now that’s not a fair question, I work with lots of great AR professionals on a daily basis. I will tell you some of the traits that help me do my job more effectively though:
- Focus – understand mine and help me get to what I need without shotgun blasting me with irrelevant information (I get hundreds of emails a day, you have to help me filter the noise or I wont get the message you are trying to deliver)
- Ask me what I’m working on and then listen.
- Make briefings two way – Some companies use briefings very effectively to generate two way conversations but unfortunately some vendors are so focused on controlling the message (I can tell, really) that they broadcast only. You might be surprised what you would get from a conversation.
- Alternate communication channels work very effectively with me, particularly Twitter and Facebook. Voice is also fine, but my days are often scripted for 7-10 hours so finding time to talk can be difficult. Email is the least effective by far, there’s just too much noise, it takes too along to get to anything useful and I can only spend a short amount of time each day on it. My favorite AR pros have learned that about me and use other channels when appropriate.
- The best indicator of what I’m working on, thinking about and interested in is my blog.
- Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve attended.
One of my favorite events is an applications analyst summit that Oracle holds a few weeks before its OpenWorld Event. The concept, which they started a few years ago, is to preview and test the apps messaging from key Oracle executives for a group of the most engaged apps analysts. The event is very interactive and provides a good framework for research during the actual customer event.
- Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
I have several hobbies, although technology is very high on that list. I’m very interested in photography, music (I have performed off and on for most of my life), writing, Porsche and fast cars in general, wine, cooking (and eating, I’m a foodie), boats (of every type, I’m an ex-Naval officer but my love of water and boats goes back to childhood), reading, history and tech gadgets…I love gadgets!
- What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
I said earlier that we’re in a time of change in the analyst business so for me I’m constantly trying to re-invent my business and figure out ways to be more effective, grow the influence of the analysts in my group and offer more compelling research in new and innovative ways to my clients. Over the next six months I have a new analysts to bring up to speed, a few key program changes to roll out and a new group blog to launch… For the next 30 minutes I need to finish this interview and work on a blog post on TCO and ROI in the cloud, all while flying back from NYC to San Francisco after a very good few days at the CRM evolution 2010 conference where I presented on socialytics and had the chance to catch up with a bunch of my peers.
- Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work you rate highly?
Without a doubt that would be Paul Greenberg. I had the pleasure of working with Paul as a partner and co-authoring a book with him in the 90’s while I was at PeopleSoft. We have been friends ever since. His groundbreaking work on CRM and social CRM has inspired a whole group of analysts, who he mentors and challenges on a regular basis. Not only is his work outstanding but on a personal level he is a gentleman who unselfishly gives of himself to the analysts community. He helps make all of our work better.
See also the latest interviews in the Around in 10 Questions series.