[GUEST POST] What do I expect from an analyst firm?

Barry Rabkin / Market Insights Group

I’ve had the good fortune to be an insurance technology / insurance industry analyst since 1997. During that time, I’ve launched and led insurance technology advisory practices at The META Group, Financial Insights (IDC), and Ovum (an Informa Company). I also had the opportunity to work at Advisen doing the Front Page News and writing research reports on a variety of commercial property and casualty / risk management issues.

During the decades of analyst experience, I developed some opinions ( a shock, I realize) about what I expect from an analyst firm (and by extension, what I expect from analysts).

In no specific order, I expect an analyst firm:

  1. To be fiercely independent and objective. Throughout the two decades, I came across only one technology firm that (erroneously and disturbingly) thought it had the right to tell analysts what to write about the firm. Unfortunately, I was faced with this California firm while working at IDC and Ovum.
  2. To realize that the value-add an analyst adds to its clients is “to jump” to what the analyst thinks will happen in the next 3-5+ years. This means that all the data in the world about a specific issue serves as a base, at most, for that “jump.” The analyst’s experience, hopefully in the space the analyst researches and writes about, is equally important, if not more so, that whatever data exists. I believe that clients are asking analysts for their opinion about what could happen in the future, why it could happen, and what the client firm might do to prepare to succeed in that potential future.
  3. To realize it is not a PR or MarCom firm. This is tied quite strongly with (1) above. I don’t think analyst firms should become marketing channels for any firm, whether a technology firm or a vertical firm (if the analyst focuses on a specific non-technology industry and companies in that industry).
  4. Not to be a cheerleader for any firm or for any concept. This is tied to (3) above. Leave the pom-pom’s to the cheerleaders. Analysts should do research, analysis, synthesis of their research with a skeptical perspective. (Definitions from Wordbook: skeptical – denying or questioning the tenets of especially a religion; marked by or given to doubt). My perspective: Don’t question whether the glass is half-full or half-empty … question the drinkable of whatever liquid is in the glass and question the cleanliness of the glass itself.
  5. To realize that whatever “consulting” it does is not the same as the consulting that pure-play management consulting firms provide. Moreover, and intimately related, to not steal time from analysts who should be doing research and writing reports that the analyst firm has contractually sold (and therefore promised) to clients.
  6. To realize it is in the business of providing ideas to serve as a potential foundation for the future.

By Barry Rabkin (LinkedIn, @Impactoftech) Technology-Focused Insurance Industry Analyst Emeritus at Market Insights Group

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