Today we ask our infamous ten probing questions to Cindy Jutras (LinkedIn, Twitter) from Mint Jutras. Cindy published hundreds of research papers whilst at the Aberdeen Group and now offers a number of services independently, through Mint Jutras.
1. What are your coverage areas?
Enterprise Applications with ERP at the core. But it is getting harder and harder to tell where ERP ends and other applications begin, so you will see me expand into performance management, HCM and others. And of course cloud and SaaS are key.
2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
I see it diversifying. Different analyst firms have very different business models and quite frankly, some of them aren’t nearly as profitable as they used to be. I see a lot less focus on primary research and many resorting only to opinion-based analysis.
There is a lot of talk and dissension today about “pay for play” and “white paper for hire.” Of course, we all want to get paid for our work. And of course we need to write about the vendors and their products. So there is a fine line of professionalism that you need to walk. You can’t compromise your own integrity and you need to draw your own conclusions to maintain your respectability and credibility. I personally like to combine primary research with experience but I am not afraid to write about vendors and draw conclusions from my analysis.
3. What’s your typical day like?
Of course it depends on the day, but my days in general combine survey-based research (crafting questions, launching studies, collecting and analysing data, presenting and writing about it) with vendor briefings. In the end, I produce content and deliver it through a variety of media: reports, papers, eBooks, slide decks, speaking engagements and advisory services.
4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
I actually experienced this when I was on the “other side of the fence.” I spent 30+ years in software companies before becoming an industry analyst. I have done more than my share of “analyst tours” through the Boston area. There was one analyst firm we used to visit where we never brought our own news or materials to share. We just listened. The founder of that company would spend the entire briefing telling us all sorts of proprietary details about other software companies that I am sure was under non-disclosure – or should have been. I refused to offer anything to him that I didn’t want my competition to hear.
5. How do you position your firm? What is your business model?
My business model is all about delivering that content. I pride myself in combining my (almost) 40 years of experience in this business with data from primary research. Probably about 20% of my revenue is in advisory services and the remaining 80% in licensing content that can be used by vendors in building awareness and creating demand for their products. I occasionally do some high level consulting with end users (the vendors’ customers and prospects) but 90% of my revenue comes from the vendors themselves. (where are your revenues coming from, mix between users and vendors?
6. What is your research methodology?
Most of my research is conducted by electronic survey but occasionally I will supplement with phone interviews. (e.g. primary research, F2F or phone, secondary only, etc… in 255 characters or less)
7. Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? Any why?
George Teixeira from SAP. Communication and professionalism. He not only manages the analysts well but the SAP folks as well.
8. What are your offerings and key deliverables?
I offer content (papers, reports, charts and data, speaking engagements, etc.) and advisory services based on primary research and my own experience. I write exclusively for the business user, often translating the language of technology into business language… and benefits. A lot of what I write and speak is educational and also includes a “call to action.” I limit what I offer to the general public for free to my blog. I do not offer all my research up for free because much of what I write is licensed by vendors to use in marketing campaigns. I will help a vendor drive traffic to their own sites (often requiring registration) but will not compete for the readers’ attention by letting them download it directly from me.
9. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
I am a black belt (3 styles of martial arts) with a green thumb and I have won blue ribbons for my cooking. I am also a professional sumi-e artist (Japanese black ink painting)
10. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
Like any small business, the challenge is to grow my business in a way that is scale-able. While ERP is an expansive topic, the number of real players in the market has been shrinking over the past few years and that limits the demand for ERP-specific services and content. Other analyst firms brag about covering hundreds of ERP vendors. That makes me wonder how they define ERP. So I will likely push the boundaries of my coverage area, just as ERP vendors have expanded their own footprints. HCM will likely be my next focus for “expansion.”
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