Around Virginie O’Shea from Firebrand Research in 10 questions

Virginie O'Shea / Firebrand Research founder and CEO

Today’s IIAR> Around in 10 questions interview is with Virginie O’Shea (@virginieoshea, LinkedIn), founder of Firebrand Research, which provides digital research on capital markets technology and trends.

1. What are your coverage areas?
I have spent the last 20 years writing about capital markets technology and trends, with a particular focus on all the areas that no one else focuses on – namely the plumbing! I spend a lot of my time digging into regulatory change and its operational impacts for firms, as well as the technology out there to meet those requirements.


2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
I think the industry analyst space has been incredibly slow to change and evolve. We all write about digital transformation in financial services and then don’t follow our own advice. That’s why I set up Firebrand – to address that disconnect.

3. What’s your typical day like?
I spend a lot of time talking to people across the industry – that used to be at in person events, but obviously over the last 12 months, it has been a lot of webconferencing. In order to stay close to the industry, you need to speak to the people doing the jobs that we’re writing about, including those just starting their careers. The other parts of my day involve producing my research and supporting clients in all their requests, but the most important part of my day is always to talk to contacts and clients across the industry.

4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
I think the worst AR experiences I’ve had are when people fail to understand your coverage area and how you work as an analyst. Some ARs have treated the job in the same manner as PR and it is a very different cadence and focus of work.

5. How do you position your firm?
We provide digitally-consumable and user-friendly capital markets technology and trends research. We’re all about making the user experience as pleasant as possible – just because we research and write about serious subjects, does not mean it needs to be presented in a dry, academic manner!  

6. What is your research methodology?
Primary research is the most important component of our work as analysts – just because you did a job a decade ago, doesn’t mean you know everything about the industry today! If we don’t keep up to date with how individuals and firms are using technology, we lose relevance completely.

7. Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? Any why?
There are a lot of great AR professionals out there – some of whom I have known for well over a decade or so. I’d say what makes a great AR professional is all about understanding how each analyst works and keeping an eye on how their month-to-month activities change

8. What are your offerings and key deliverables? 
We provide digitally-friendly research clusters on key topics, including multimedia and interactive content. Project-wise, we also help support firms in a whole host of different activities from vendor selection to M&A support.

9. Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work  you rate highly?
I have worked with a lot of wonderful analyst colleagues over the years and learned a lot from all of them – it would be very difficult to select just one!

10. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
I’d say keeping up with the pace of change in the industry is always the greatest challenge – there are so many regulatory developments and technology changes to focus on.

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