Today’s IIAR> Around in 10 questions interview is with Jim Lundy / CEO & Lead Analyst, Aragon Research (@AragonResearch1, LinkedIn, blog) who covers digital workplace technology areas, including digital transaction management, learning, sales enablement, and UCC.
- What are your coverage areas?
We cover a broad range of areas under the Digital Workplace and Digital Business umbrellas.
Digital Workplace: Digital Transaction Management (DTM) and Workflow and Content Automation (WCA), Digital Work Hubs, Learning, UCC, Video Conferencing, Sales Enablement.
Digital Business: Cloud, Content Management and Automation, Conversational AI, Customer Experience/Journeys, Digital Business Platforms, Marketing/CRM
I personally cover DTM, Learning, UCC, and Sales Enablement. Prior to founding Aragon Research, I was the VP/general manager of the collaboration business unit at Saba Software. In my 12 years at Gartner, I formed and led the collaboration and social software research team and also served as a lead analyst for enterprise content management (ECM) and corporate learning. I also spent 15 years at Xerox in a variety of software and hardware sales and marketing positions. So that’s where my background in these areas stems from.
- What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
The challenge for enterprises is understanding what type of industry analyst research firm they’re really dealing with. Some are doing true market analysis and technology provider evaluations. However, a number of markets have become saturated with influencers who have strong opinions but don’t provide a lot of advice to buyers.
AR professionals need to understand that market awareness for their firm is important, and sometimes the best strategy is to separate research firms from influencers and to bucket influencers with the press. For example, social media participation is important for influencers but doesn’t really measure the effectiveness of what a research firm is doing—which should be spending most of its time helping clients and doing inquiry.
- What’s your typical day like?
I wake up a little before six a.m., walk my two labrador retrievers before the sun’s up, make a cup of coffee, and sit down to work on a blog post after I feed the dogs their breakfast. Then it’s off to the office, where I’m jumping on a video call with a client. Aragon has regularly scheduled meetings with our clients, so on many days it’s a pre-scheduled meeting that’s on the same day and time every month. Now that COVID is winding down, we’re starting to do face-to-face client and prospect meetings, too—so I might be heading to an in-person lunch in San Jose or San Francisco. In between my meetings, I’m touching base with my research colleagues and working on our latest notes for publication with our editor or preparing for a strategy day with a client.
- Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
This story is about being an analyst on the road. Less of a horror story and more of a humorous one. After flying on a red-eye from JFK to Nice, France, the only thing I wanted to do was get to my hotel in Cannes, and the only thing stopping me was a ride over the hill in a taxi. I was traveling with two colleagues: one American and one from the UK. The American analyst tries to make conversation with our taxi driver and attempts to speak French. The taxi driver starts smiling. I was in the front seat and started laughing because, well, it was pretty bad French. Our colleague who had grown up in the UK spoke perfect French, and apologized in French on behalf of us. We all had a good laugh. Then the taxi driver responded in English, ‘That’s ok. It happens all the time.” We laughed even harder.
- How do you position your firm? What is your business model? (where are your revenues coming from, mix between users and vendors?)
Aragon is a smaller, more nimble, high-end research firm that is identifying more shifts in markets than the big box research firms. In the last ten years, we’ve identified at least 8 new markets that have taken off. Our vendor/end-user client base is split 65/35.
- What is your research methodology?
Our research methodology consists of lead analysts with deep industry expertise and in-depth market coverage through both regular client discussions as well as technology market surveys that are part of our standard research process.
- Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? Any why?
There are many AR professionals I’ve worked with over the years who’ve been exceptional. Some of the Aragon Research Women In Tech winners for AR over the past few years are stand-outs: Regina Hoshimi of Google, Ginny Davis-Lee of Avaya, Ann Blomquist of Cisco, and Susan de Jong of Atos.
- Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve attended.
One of the best new AR practices is using team collaboration for regular chats between the analyst and the AR professional. I’d also have to say that in terms of AR events, Cisco has continuously delivered great events with lots of executive involvement.
- What are your offerings and key deliverables?
We offer a subscription-model service with different tiers. Provisor clients have access to regular inquiry meetings with their lead analyst, access to our entire research library housed inside of our secure client community (including visual research) and access to exclusive Aragon Live! Podcasts.
Foresight clients get access to everything at the Provisor level, plus exclusive access to toolkits—to conduct critical and repeatable business processes— and visual forecasts—which provide an in-depth six year forecast of a major technology market and analyze the major inhibitors and accelerators for growth in that market.
- Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work you rate highly?
Betsy Burton, who I work with here at Aragon and who was also my colleague back at Gartner, is always doing cutting-edge work. Her research is thorough, actionable, and passionate, and she has years of experience working with users to acquire the right technology for their business.