Around Kevin Bailey from Synergy Six Degrees in 10 questions

Kevin Bailey portrait

Today’s IIAR> Around in 10 questions interview is with Kevin Bailey / Principal Analyst, Synergy Six Degrees (@BaileyK62, LinkedIn, Blog) who covers cybersecurity, GTM, blockchain, distributed ledger, information security and protecting all data.

  1. What are your coverage areas?

SynergySix (how we refer to ourselves) purpose is to provide clarity and strengthen our vendor clients go-to-market efficiency to grow their relevance and revenue in cybersecurity and adjacent markets. We know that our clients have a belief about their business, so it’s about working with them and highlighting areas that can be improved or planned for so they maintain an understanding of the wider landscape and not from just an internal perspective.

  1. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?

I’ve always focused on being factual and acknowledge that the client drives the vendor, so we always need to be helping the vendors meet the client need.

I believe that an analysts’ role is to be a guide for their audiences’ benefit, challenge where it’s appropriate and deliver client output that both the analyst and client agree will help them advance against their objectives.

I think that a lot of the output delivered from analysts is either overhyped (too far in the future or unrealistic to use) or created in isolation, where it is disconnected from a vendors go-to-market activities and diluting the real value that the analyst could apply. 

The days where decisions were made purely based on where a vendor is positioned in the market is fallacy. I know from talking to CISO’s, when it comes down to brass tacks, they make choices based on how the product or service meets their direct needs, combined with the trusted advice they obtain from their network. If you want to challenge this process it just minimises the analysts’ authenticity, purpose and opinion.

We need to provide greater (client) quality and not just quantity as many tell me that the assets they receive are hard to digest and don’t always translate into tangible value for the different roles who are responsible to find the salient points that make a difference with their clients. 

Technology and everything it impact’s is only going to gain in importance. So, the analysis marketplace needs to maintain strict alignment of ‘analyst to subject matter expertise’. I believe this will open the opportunity for the more focused smaller analyst organisations that are not solely driven by increasing the coverage areas they undertake, compared to the larger organisations who will increase the workload on analysts, believing that ‘coverage=revenue’.

  1. What’s your typical day like?

Lost inside my Mac. Once I turn it on, it normally takes something dramatic to pull me away. My office is a cabin at the bottom of my garden, so I can separate home life from work, although my cats and my wife do make the odd appearance on Zoom. I try to be flexible and have to be disciplined or I’ll end up doing all the enjoyable stuff and none of the admin. So, I attempt to break my day in 2-hour segments. Ideally, I try to spend equal amounts on either outreach (blogs, social media, networking), client engagement (current projects and prospecting), learning (vendor briefings, CISO news, regulations) and admin (the essential but boring stuff), but most days it’s the first two and then weave the other two on alternate days. Whatever the task, I have a bar in my cabin and Sky, so never a dull moment.

  1. How do you position your firm? What is your business model? (where are your revenues coming from, mix between users and vendors?)

We remain focused and deliver against the skills built up over 20 years in the industry. Even with my own (believed) levels of proficiency, I (rightly) have to continually prove my capabilities and build an honest 1-1 relationship with clients, so they are confident I will [over] deliver on my word. All with a smile and lots of banter. What you see is what you get with me and SynergySix, as we focus on delivering factual opinion and deliverables. We strive to ensure every engagement will allow our clients to improve the execution across their markets. 

SynergySix is about go-to-market delivery, specifically for cybersecurity vendors and their adjacent markets. We continue to bust the myth that GTM (Go-To-Market) is just a marketing or sales function. The SynergySix Flow Chains framework we developed proves that GTM is dependent on all disciplines in a business; sales, marketing, product, HR, operations, finance and their leadership that all have a critical part to play for success. This opens up the different roles that we engage with. It may be old school but it’s always about building a relationship with clients based on what I can do for them with my skills and never about me being the one who knows better. 

We have a strong network of end-user cybersecurity leaders, interacting with them regularly to increase our knowledge of their issues, whilst also being able to call upon them when necessary for our client base of cybersecurity vendors. CISO and other security leaders don’t have time to waste so we engage when there is a value to them as well as ourselves.

  1. What is your research methodology, in 255 characters or less? 

Our research is qualitatively led, providing context of the respondent’s answers, supplemented with quantitative data points. Then we can apply secondary research with context. Using Zoom, etc means I get to see the respondent, build a rapport, understanding their gestures and tone of responses. 

  1. Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? Any why?

I am in contact with a number of AR professionals, but the most trusted AR individual has to be Caroline Dennington at Dennington AR. Caroline and I have known each other for over 15 year’s, and I trust her judgement and opinion more than anyone else in the industry. Caroline knows everyone who is relevant for a vendor or analyst organisation to establish credibility in the market. Anyone that has worked with Caroline knows that her work ethic and engagement process is excellent and should be written into a dummy’s guide for AR.

  1. What are your offerings and key deliverables? 

Our services are always focused on understanding our clients’ beliefs and what they believe would improve their objectives and only then, validating and proposing what we believe are the real benefits as they relate to the clients target audience. 

  • Organisation-wide Go-To-Marketing Planning
  • Primary Research
  • Data Analysis and Analytics
  • Industry Reports and Assets
  • Product Positioning and Market Analysis
  • Marketing Planning and Execution
  • Routes to Market Execution
  • Adoption Curve Rationalisation
  • Collaboration Engagements
  • Operational Assistance 
  1. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?

I love a bit of wood ☺. I’m a very enthusiastic DIYer having built my cabin that I work from and hate the idea of ever having to “get a man in” to do work (something my wife seems to enjoy). For wellness I’m an eternal runner and have been since I was small. I’m a regular Parkrun attendee (or was until the lockdown) and will regularly challenge myself with ultra-challenges like Jurassic Coast run. Other than that, the rest of the time is spent looking out for the family and our 5 grown up children, making sure they don’t visit too regularly and eat my chocolate.

  1. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?

The next 30 mins is thinking about how I can help my graphic designer make a bar chart look sexy and not overlooked as part of a report we are working on. The next 6 months has to be broken into two. 1) Increasing the reach and value of SynergySix to our audience, using more online/digital engagements that are being consumed in greater quantities. 2) Maintaining my focus around User Isolation Protection and convincing businesses to update their access systems and browser engagements so they don’t rely on passwords and pins, but use better authenticators like biometrics, location, behaviour etc, as these will help to reduce the number of breaches and incidents that effect everyone.

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

We all know each other in this business, some longer than others, but I do value the work and conversations I have with Jonathan Care at Gartner. It’s not the firm it’s the person. I’ve only starting to engage with Jonathan about 4 years ago, but his approach and knowledge around his area of expertise has always been very well reasoned. And he’s a nice bloke as well.

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