Today we as our infamous ten probing questions to Leslie Ament (@Hypatia_LeslieA, LinkedIn) from Hypatia Research Group.
What are your coverage areas?
Our team covers enabling technologies and services that empower organizations to capture, manage, analyze and apply customer and market intelligence to accelerate performance and to enhance profitability. These include: Information Management, Data Integration, Governance, Risk and Compliance ; Customer Intelligence such as CRM, Social Intelligence, Customer Service & Support and Digital Marketing ;Business Analytics inclusive of: Business Intelligence (Operational Reporting), Advanced/Predictive Analytics, Text/Contextual Analytics, and Big Data Analytics ; Service Providers such as Management Consultancies, Marketing Services Providers and Agencies.
What’s your typical day like?
Answering end-user inquiries on vendor selection criteria, our research findings, best practice processes and workflows, the right performance metrics to use and how to justify value to one’s organization typically comprises one third of our day. The other two thirds are spent interviewing end user customers, briefing vendors, analyzing data and writing research.
Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
Occasionally a vendor will get hold of our research and use it for commercial gain without properly licensing the rights to do so. Some of the worst cases involve a Voice of the Customer and a GRC vendor (seriously, one that is supposed to support GRC regulations for customers) who announced either online or in a press release that we had evaluated them quite favorably as a leader in our Hypatia GalaxyTM rankings. Because of a few bad apples in the cart, we were driven to have our lawyer change the language in our licensing agreements. Other horror stories include certain other industry analyst firms or media/journalists “lifting” or “repurposing” our research under their own brand. Nuff said.
How do you position your firm? What is your business model?
Hypatia takes an end-user approach to customer intelligence research. Similar to Consumer Reports, our industry experts are objective in providing end-user organizations with independent primary research assessments as decision-support in evaluating various enabling technologies, service providers and consulting firms. To maintain its independence and impartiality, Hypatia Research does not engage in syndicated research sponsorships, accepts no outside advertising, provides no free samples, and utilizes proprietary research techniques to evaluate vendors. End-user subscribers comprise ~70% of our revenues. Vendor syndication of research and advisory services comprise ~30%.
Along with our trademarked Hypatia’s GalaxyTM evaluation rankings of software vendors and service providers, our studies provide end-user organizations with an analysis of why companies invest in technology, what tangible benefits are possible with this particular technology and what metrics can be used to measure the ROI of an initiative. In short, our research provides actionable insight that companies may use in compiling a vendor short list, request for qualifications, and best practice terms of engagement with software vendors and service providers.
Why this focus on actionable insight? Knowledge for the sake of knowledge without a purpose is outside our mission. Since 2001, Hypatia’s tagline has been calculating results. Our research methodology, a hybrid approach that combines qualitative and quantitative input from end-users, benchmarks the business return on investment realized by organizations of all sizes.
Include emerging businesses and billion dollar multi-national enterprises. In “calculating results” we deliver data-driven insights, market analysis, vendor evaluations, and customer intelligence that is designed to support our clients’ business decisions.
Business leaders turn to us for information on vendors, service providers and best practices that will accelerate their growth.
Vendors and service providers value our research-driven thought leadership, independent analysis and business case return on investment assessments.
Clients turn to us for market intelligence and consulting services that reduce cycle-time and influence customer management, product strategy, channel development and market adoption strategies.]
What is your research methodology?
We use a hybrid methodology of quantitative end user survey data combined with qualitative end-user interviews, vendor briefings and product demonstration.
Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve attended.
IBM once separated us analysts into “teams” of eight groups with each of us taking on cross functional roles such as CFO, Director of IT, VP Mkt. or Sales, HR etc…and had us compete in creating a business plan using BI software. Loved that we were able to “play with the actual product” as well as having been assigned a real world goal. Coming from 15+ years on the end-user side, it was fun to have a software vendor turn the tables on industry analysts that may never had the experience of actually needing to use the product in their professional life before! Great experience! Whenever someone says “do we really have to take a demo to write about a vendor” I share this story with them. In my mind, it is absolutely crucial to take a demo in order to maintain credibility by evaluating vendors fairly.
What are your offerings and key deliverables?
We offer everything that the larger industry analyst firms provide in terms of vendor evaluation studies, benchmark reports, case studies, webinars, strategy sessions, industry/sector studies, geo-specific studies and/or reports by role and function. However, because our team is virtual, our deliverables are easy on vendor budgets.
For example, since we write for end-users, we cover vendors and service providers without requiring that they pay a premium fee to subscribe to our research. Our research deliverables are a la cart for vendors and service providers.
As a thank you to vendors for their time in briefing and providing a demo, we share research highlights from our survey with them after the report is drafted. Everyone wins from this sharing of information.
Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
I have a passion for international travel, food, jazz and classical music. Ask me about cruise ships and destinations sometime!]
What are your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
Finding exceptional people to join our team. All of our analysts need to be triple threats with:
Extensive domain expertise
Excellent writing skills
Be deadly with data; have the ability to analyze, slice and dice data…and to use it to educate end-users, to advise vendors and to write amazing research.
Is there another analyst whose work you rate highly?
I have great respect for the research output of both Sue Feldman (formerly IDC) and Fern Halpern (now at TDWI).
Read the other ‘Around in 10 questions’ interviews.
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