Author Archive | Peggy O'Neill
It was with great sadness that I heard Claire Dessaux, Managing Vice President, Research Content and Delivery at Gartner, died recently.
Claire struggled with health issues off and on in recent years, but she was still too young to leave us, and her premature death robs the world of a steadfast friend, reliable co-worker, and cheerful presence for those who knew her.
For the analyst relations community, it’s worth taking a moment to mourn her passing even for those who didn’t know her, as we lost a key advocate in Claire. In her role at Gartner, Claire pushed for more transparency, predictability, and communications with vendors. Longtime, experienced Gartner analysts would grumble about how Gartner management continues to mechanize research, making it increasingly templatized and fungible, but Claire understood the need for consistency, scalability, and getting away from the “prima donna analyst” that plagued Gartner pre-Gene Hall. Continue Reading →
I’m the most hated person at my company today.
Informatica is holding its customer conference in a few weeks and we’re running around like chickens with our heads cut off to prepare for it. I just blasted out the most obnoxious email to colleagues who are preparing speeches for Informatica World, forcefully reminding them that any references to analyst research requires permission. I got a lot of eye rolling in response, but luckily no serious push back. Continue Reading →
Companies that do strategic AR understand how to get the most out of their analyst relationships. They are also confident and can articulate their vision and roadmap, and can plan their analyst interactions accordingly. But they’re not so confident that they think they can’t learn anything from analysts.
A fellow AR manager called recently to weep on my shoulder. She wanted a sanity check about setting internal expectations on what analyst relations could or could not do as her executives were making demands she considered outlandish. She sought my unvarnished opinion about the requests involved in case they were possible and she needed to step up her game.
I listened in disbelief to what her execs were asking for, probed for more details, and I’m sad to report that at the end of the conversation we concluded it was time for her to leave her company as she was working at an outfit where the culture and expectations were antithetical to a successful analyst relations program. Continue Reading →
You would have a chance to be a trusted advisor to senior executives who respect analyst input. You would be taking over an existing successful program but have the opportunity to put your own stamp on it as this group continues to grow.
Our Ideal Candidate
You are a paradox. You can think strategically and execute tactically. You enjoy planning and executing on longer term projects such as product launches, events, and major report evaluations; but also enjoy the short-term and unexpected, such as acquisitions and tactical deal support. You are a compelling communicator, adroit influencer, hard negotiator, and peaceful mediator. You can work with a variety of personalities and enjoy analysts and senior executives with all their idiosyncrasies and foibles. You are a natural leader but can execute on orders swiftly. You are accustomed to running your own program and don’t need much direction or handholding as others naturally look to you for AR expertise. Continue Reading →
I just survived Gartner Symposium in Orlando and as part of my regular post mortem, I analyze what went well and what I can do to improve the experience next year. A critical player for me this week is my Gartner salesperson, which got me thinking about how many AR managers neglect this key participant in their program.
Analyst firm salespeople are unsung heroes in the AR world because AR managers tend to overly focus on our analysts and overlook these useful resources. I remember one year when I was at Oracle OpenWorld, I took out my account execs for dinner one evening – no analysts, only my key salespeople from the major firms to a fun dinner as a thank you and hosted them, as usually it’s the salesperson hosting us. This was years ago so hopefully things have gotten better out there, but I was saddened when one of my account execs said it was the first time he saw an AR manager do something special for sales rather than for an analyst. Continue Reading →
Here’s a little quizz on how mature is your analyst relation practice. Ready to be surprised?
How often are you surprised by an important analyst report impacting your company?
All the time, my life sucks.
Every now and then my morning is ruined.
Not often, sometimes a peripheral analyst will write something unexpected without checking in.
It would be unusual, as my analysts know I’m a maniac about draft review and I’m pestering them all the time about coverage anyway.
Seldom, as I have good visibility into their research agendas, and in fact I suggested the last two report topics for my key analysts. Continue Reading →
It happens to the best of us. Your analyst relations program is humming along nicely – your analysts are behaving, your internal constituents under control – when one day, wham! You get a call from one of your SVPs sharing some exciting news! Joe Analyst, one of your company’s key advocates, has now joined your company.
AR managers will inevitably grapple with this scenario as analysts migrate to vendors often. Informatica took out two high profile analysts last year and I’ve experienced this at previous employers too. AR managers can expect certain behaviors when an analyst who used to cover your company comes inside, so your best bet is to prepare for when that day hits and take full advantage of the opportunity. Continue Reading →
IDC is hosting the next IIAR Silicon Valley meeting at its popular IDC Directions conference on March 10. For details or to RSVP contact me directly at email@example.com
IIAR is hosting a Silicon Valley meeting on January 21 at Cisco’s headquarters in San Jose.
Sage Circle’s Carter Lusher will kick off the meeting with a presentation that reviews 2009 trends in the analyst ecosystem and a look ahead for 2010. Following Carter’s presentation, I will provide a brief update on IIAR initiatives. Cisco has kindly agreed to host cocktails at the end of gathering.
If you plan to be in the area and would like to attend, please RSVP directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org by January 15.
The latest IIAR Best Practices paper is out – “Best Practices for Escalating Research Disagreements” reviews techniques and tips for avoiding and escalating disagreements over research. It includes interviews with AR practitioners and briefly outlines the escalation processes for Gartner, Forrester, IDC and Ovum.
The paper is available to IIAR members to download free-of-charge from the IIAR website at www.analystrelations.org. To view and download, go to Library -> IIAR Best Practice Library -> Dealing with Analyst Issues (here).
What are your views on escalating research? Do most AR managers have experience in this area? Or is it something you learn on the job, trial by fire?
The IIAR has just published a summary of best practices papers and added a new editorial calendar detailing papers that we plan to publish in coming months. Papers are free of charge to all IIAR members – to access them, just go to Library – > Best Practice White Papers and Teleconferences -> White Papers.
Feedback and contributions from IIAR members and non-IIAR members are welcome! If you are interested in contributing a paper, or have ideas for topics that you would like to see included, please contact me directly at email@example.com.
At Gartner’s AR Forum in Orlando last week, guest speaker Joshua Reynolds from Hill & Knowlton gave a presentation about social media trends and analyst relations, and provided some up to date statistics on how AR impacts sales. For those AR managers who didn’t make it to Orlando, Gartner just posted Josh’s presentation at its AR Community page today. Do take a look at Josh’s presentation and take note of the survey of tech buyers and how they use analysts. AR managers will be able to use these statistics with their internal audiences to make the case for analyst relations. http://www.gartner.com/technology/about/ar_community.jsp
Last week IIAR hosted a call with AR professionals about sharing best practices for managing the Forrester Wave. The IIAR last month published a paper about the Wave, which outlined common best practices in dealing with this high profile research report. Forrester is also in the middle of reviewing changes to the methodology, although it has signaled it doesn’t expect major changes this go around.
Curious to get other AR managers’ thoughts on the Wave. What has been your experience, and do you have any best practices you want to share?
For IIAR members, the IIAR Best Practice Paper is available on our extranet > Managing the Forrester Wave
Have you ever been embarrassed by a fellow AR manager? Some clueless person who purports to represent our profession and has not the slightest idea about the difference between an inquiry and a briefing? Or thinks the more you pay an analyst, the better the coverage will be?
Not much you can do about it, as anyone can hang out a shingle and call themselves an analyst relations manager. But at least those of us who take our profession seriously can push for high standards and look for ways to separate the amateurs from the pros.
The basic certification test that IIAR is launching today (read the official press release) will hopefully enjoy widespread adoption and become a way for hiring managers to differentiate between the poseurs and the pros. The IIAR is also looking at advanced certification requirements and will roll that out at a later date.
It’s the first time we are trying to answer the question, “What are the basics that an AR manager should know?” The exam covers topics such as citation policies, market share methodology, analyst etiquette, and event best practices. Regional knowledge, business model basics, and pricing and licensing fundamentals are also in there.
Not sure if you’re ready? Sample questions and a quiz are available here.
Candidates interested in taking the exam should make arrangements by contacting me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org as passwords are distributed individually.
What do you think? Is certification helpful in promoting higher standards in our profession? Should it be mandatory instead of voluntary?