Today’s IIAR> Around in 10 questions interview is with Alan Pelz-Sharpe / Founder, Deep Analysis (@4deepanalysis, LinkedIn, blog) who covers Innovation in Information and Automation Management.
- What are your coverage areas?
Quite broad as we don’t take a siloed approach to technology – instead we focus on looking for innovative new approaches in the world of Information & Enterprise Automation. It’s changing fast so a lot of what we cover relates to AI & enterprise blockchain these days.
- What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
The big guys are here to stay – but there is more flexibility in working with a small and highly focused firm – so I think there are opportunities for more analyst firms. Plus we hear a lot from organizations and vendors who struggle to manage the cost and restrictions of larger analyst firms – so again opportunities.
- What’s your typical day like?
I start pretty early – around 6.30am to check and clear overnight emails – and don’t typically finish up till 6pm – every day is different – but every week there are multiple briefings – client work to do – advisory calls – chat with Victoria Kyle on the commercial side of things, and check-in with our editors and analysts.
- Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
I’ve been around this industry a long time – and I can say the AR world has become much more professional than it was back in the day – but I have on various occasions had vendors AR’s screaming at me to change a critical report, contacting my then bosses to have me fired and telling me I will never work in the industry again. Fortunately not too often, and of course unfairly in my opinion!
- How do you position your firm? What is your business model?
Most of our revenue today comes from technology vendors commissioning customer research or strategy sessions – but we plan for that to change significantly through 2022 as we roll out masterclasses and more offerings for buyers and end-users. The pandemic slowed that work down, but we are scheduling our first masterclasses for early 2022 and they will become a core part of our business. In terms of positioning though we are focused on uncovering innovation – be that from early-stage start-ups or long-established major vendors. But, it turns out the key elements people latch on to that differentiate Deep Analysis are the fact that we don’t rank or silo vendors – we are interested in what value they bring rather than arbitrarily comparing them with one another. And secondly, we have an open-door policy, end users can schedule a free counseling session online and we give them some guidance and advice – vendors who want to brief us can do the same. We are also very chatty and ask a lot of questions and give feedback in briefings – no stonewalling for us!
- What is your research methodology, in 255 characters or less?
Though a lot of firms ask us for briefings – we actively look for innovation and reach out to offer briefings to startups. To balance that it has always been important to ground research in reality – that has been tougher to do in the pandemic – hence we set up our open door end-user counseling sessions – they are an incredibly rich (and confidential) source of insight. Today much of these conversations is Zoom or Google Meet – but F2F has always been my preferred way of working – I trained as an analytical psychotherapist so love spending time with buyers and end-users and taking lots of notes. We do some quantitative research into emerging or changing markets and will be doing more in 2022.
- Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? Any why?
Joely Urton has been a near-constant for me from her days at Oracle, Box, and now Splunk – she is the consummate professional and one of the few that can push the AR boundaries and take on the might of the big analyst firms.
- What are your offerings and key deliverables?
We do a lot of commissioned thought leadership work- including surveys – but we keep our reports free and independent. We write a lot of Vendor Vignettes – a short analysis of new and innovative products – and longer format market analysis reports. Not sure if they are really deliverables but we also do a lot of webinars and public speaking plus we run our Innovation Index Awards each year to recognize – guess what innovation.
- Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
I love good food and love to cook – recently I was in the Italian Market in Philadelphia and walked into Alma Del Mar (featured on Queer Eye) hands-down best meal (swordfish dish) I have had in years.
- Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work you rate highly?
Dan Lucarini joined us this past year after a long career in software product management – love his writing and insights. But special shout out has to go to Phillip Carnelly (ex Ovum now IDC) he gave me my break when he hired me at Ovum, and though a lovely man was an incredibly tough editor and supervisor of my work – I owe him a lot.
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