Two years ago, in 2015, we produced the first IIAR Tragic Quadrant. It was met with much enthusiasm and comment, thus we have decided to repeat the exercise once again this year. Below we present the Tragic Quadrant for 2017. The Tragic Quadrant is compiled from data collected as part of the 2016 IIAR Analyst of the Year Survey, where, annually, we invite analyst relations professionals to rate individual industry analyst and the firms they work for. This year more than 100 different individual organisations responded to our survey. We were interested to see if we could do further analysis on the data that was collected.
In producing the Tragic Quadrant what we sought to do was to rank analyst firms according to three criteria. We chose these criteria because this is what the IIAR survey asks respondents to assess:
- Impact: The Y axis depicts the ‘Impact’ of the industry analyst firm on the purchase decision. This also relates to their perceived credibility and capability to provide an objective opinion.
- Relevance: The X axis marks their ‘Relevance’ for the purchase decision. This means their capability to cover the market and their specific geographical allocation. It also includes public recognition of their presence in the market (e.g. as an expert).
- Interaction: The size of the bubble is ‘Interaction’. This relates to issues of communication (e.g. how easy is it to get to them and to talk to them).
We are able to represent the top 10 industry analyst firms according to this new analysis. Gartner is “up and to the right”, which means that it leads in terms of impacting purchase decisions and relevance (e.g. their analysts know their stuff).
However, the small size of its bubble indicates that analyst relations professionals think Gartner is amongst the hardest of analyst firms to do business with out of all the analyst firms represented. Close behind is Forrester and IDC. The size of IDC’s bubble merits attention, as it was reported to be “one of the most flexible firms” to deal with, to use the words of one of our respondents. All three firms more or less maintain the same ordinal position in the top right quadrant as last time (see the Tragic Quadrant for 2015 below).
Other notable developments is HfS which has improved its ‘relevance from the previous Tragic Quadrant but it is perceived to be slightly less impactful by analyst professionals. Ovum and 451 Research maintain more or less the same position with regard to the ‘Big 3’, but 451 has overtaken Ovum in terms of relevance, whilst Ovum has made a dramatic improvement in terms of ease of interaction. Constellation remains more or less in the same position as last time. New entrants this year into the Tragic Quadrant include Machina and Crisp Research, with the former, by some degree, perceived as the most flexible of analyst firms to work with by analyst relations professionals.
IIAR Tragic Quadrant for 2015
For those who have not come across the Tragic Quadrant before, it gets its name from the infamous Gartner ‘Magic Quadrant’ of course. We see it as a kind of ‘Magic Quadrant of Magic Quadrant’. We are not claiming that it is the results of an exhaustive study. Nor do we pretend that the Tragic Quadrant is a completely serious piece of research. (There is a clue in the title “Tragic”). Nonetheless, we do think the data collected – and note, that we now have Analyst of the Year surveys stretching back several years – throw some interesting light both (a) onto the changing nature of the industry analyst landscape and (b) how analyst relations professionals view the analyst ecology. It is demonstrating that in engaging with analyst firms IT vendors are balancing the requirements for these firms to have ‘impact’, ‘relevance’ and to be ‘easy to work with’.
Analyst relations professionals could therefore use a tool like this to look at their target audience engagement strategies. It would encourage them to balance ‘ease to do business with’ against ‘relevance’ and ‘impact’. To say the same thing in different words, they shouldn’t brief analysts just because they’re easy to deal with. Or, conversely, they should approach those analysts which are less of a pain depending on the type of impact the AR professional is looking to achieve (see the AR SOSM model).
Analyst firms might also use this tool to monitor the ‘transactional tax’ that they impose on analyst relations professionals. If they raise the ‘interaction barrier’ too high (e.g. make it too difficult for analyst relations professionals to interact with them) while not providing sufficient coverage and showing impact, this could affect their vendor information source. They may be left with only a partial view of the market (raising exhaustivity and fairness issues). Finally, their vendor revenues might suffer too.
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