AR debates – Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR) https://analystrelations.org The IIAR is a not-for-profit organisation established to raise awareness of analyst relations and the value of industry analysts, promote best practice amongst analyst relations professionals, enhance communication between analyst firms and vendors, and offer opportunities for AR practitioners to network with their industry peers. Wed, 05 Jun 2019 07:54:54 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 76177372 [GUEST POST] Looking Back at Three Analyst Firms by Barry Rabkin / Market Insight Group https://analystrelations.org/2019/02/05/guest-post-looking-back-at-three-analyst-firms-by-barry-rabkin-market-insight-group/ https://analystrelations.org/2019/02/05/guest-post-looking-back-at-three-analyst-firms-by-barry-rabkin-market-insight-group/#respond Tue, 05 Feb 2019 21:21:31 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=271411 By Barry Rabkin (LinkedIn, @Impactoftech), President & Principal Analyst, Market Insight Group, Ltd.

 

Barry Rabkin / Market Insights GroupI was fortunate to become an insurance industry analyst in 1997.

Before that time, I had worked in the business side of the insurance industry for 17 years (primarily in marketing and/or market research across all major lines of business) and then due to, what was to prove a very lucky event in hindsight, being caught up in a purge from John Hancock, becoming a management consultant. After eight years as a management consultant, I got and grabbed the opportunity to become an insurance industry analyst. I definitely found my true professional love being a part of the analyst community. [One difference between a management consultant and an analyst? Analysts don’t have to be nice!]

My insurance industry analyst experience included leading or launching and leading insurance strategic advisory services in the US and the UK. Looking back at those experiences at META Group, Financial Insights (IDC), and Ovum, these highlights standout to me. BTW Before going into my highlights I want to state that I respected all three firms for not being just vertical (i.e. industry) analyst firms but instead were homes for analysts from a large variety of IT and Telco disciplines as well as having vertical analysts.

I continue to not understand where analysts who work for analyst firms that cover only industries (i.e. only insurance or only insurance, banking, and capital markets) get their IT and/or Telco information. I felt blessed that I could walk over or talk to IT or Telco analysts. Part of my role as an insurance industry analyst was to understand and learn what the IT and/or Telco analysts considered to be trends, issues, challenges, and implications, in their respective fields and then repurpose their ideas, where appropriate, for the insurance segments I was covering.

From 1997 on, I quickly discovered that “the world is not flat” – what may seem to be an important emerging technology (or even a maturing technology) really wouldn’t capture the insurance industry lines of business at anywhere near the pace that the IT or Telco analyst thought it would. I carried a large number of sharp pins to prick their balloons when we discussed the insurance industry – or really, specific insurance lines of business.

The Three Analyst Firms

Returning to the title of my post, here are my key take-aways for each of the three analyst firms:

META Group

  • Very strong analysts – they knew their technology and industry spaces cold.
  • Very opinionated analysts (which I totally loved) – to this day I continue to feel / behave as if I am still a Meta Group analyst.
  • Analysts used sparingly by the consulting area – the philosophy was to use analysts as subject matter experts but don’t take up their time pursuing consulting engagements. (Analysts exist to research, do analysis, write reports, deliver presentations, and be briefed by firms or brief firms.)
  • Analysts ‘took a stand’ but changed their position as they ‘got smarter’ from more research and ‘talking to their market.
  • Short reports (about 1,200 words MAX) but each analyst had to write 6 – 8 reports / month.
  • Coherent themes for the analyst firm and simultaneously for each service area.
  • Had freedom to create an insurance research agenda that aligned with the Meta themes – still left a huge opportunity area.
  • Analysts’ text took priority over the editors – correct the grammar but do not replace the analyst’s text.
  • Quick editorial process – get those reports published !!

Financial Insights, IDC

  • Strong analysts but nice people, really nice people – I once told one of my colleagues that if IDC analysts were any nicer I would need an insulin shot.
  • Quite a few templates to write our reports – quite a few templates. But I didn’t think the templates were ‘over-engineered’ as some of my IDC colleagues.
  • Significantly more than analysts “who count boxes.” Quite a brush-back I almost always heard from Gartner analysts (and only Gartner). Didn’t take me long to realize that IDC analysts are waaaaayyyy more than box-counters.
  • However, IT Spend is a critical component / theme for IDC – ironically, I don’t believe in IT Spend at all. Not even an iota. I care about the ‘why’ and ‘what’ but not the ‘how much’ or ‘how many.’ IDC analysts cover that entire spectrum of those facets.
  • Relatively efficient editorial process – with the right attitude that editors shouldn’t re-write what an analyst has written (except correcting grammaritical mistakes).
  • Still shocked that our reports didn’t have an Executive Summary – but the 3 – 5 bullet points on the first page served that purpose.
  • I was part of a great global team of insurance industry analysts – and it was global: Canada, London, Italy, and Singapore. I always reminded the team that when we crafted our annual research agenda to change it however they felt necessary because they knew their regional significantly better than I ever could.
  • Colleagues from other parts of the world – and other practices – graciously agreeing to participate in the areas around the globe where we didn’t have insurance industry analysts.
  • I did run into some IDC analysts in my first year who told me that they never would have hired me once they found out I came from The META Group. (That gave me a few chuckles ….)
  • Used analysts in consulting engagements, including pursuit teams. Analysts had a consulting component of their compensation. Hated it.

Ovum (an Informa Company)

  • Gave me an opportunity to better understand first-hand the issues and challenges that insurers faced around the world, specifically Europe and Asia-Pacific.
  • Erroneously believed that one insurance industry analyst, or two analysts for that matter, could cover the entire planet. Insurance regulatory differences make that impossible (even if the one analyst or the two analysts are willing to work without any sleep).
  • Strong analysts including extremely strong Telco analysts – it quickly became apparent that Ovum’s roots were in Telco.
  • Editorial process (peer review and editing) that served to slow down the production of analyst reports.
  • Editorial process that erroneously was built to enable the editors to over-ride what the analyst wrote (beyond grammatical errors).
  • Reports that were too long – really too long … and when I first got there were organized as books with chapters. Books !! I continue to believe if an analyst has a lot of material the analyst should write multiple reports.
  • Far too much emphasis on head-to-head (i.e. Decision Matrices) for my taste – yes, they are important but they take way too long and analyst areas with three of fewer analysts shouldn’t be asked to do any H2H reports.
  • Analysts from various services were happy to collaborate – significantly different from IDC where some of the analysts would only collaborate if their service got a % of the subscription price (of the analyst asking for collaboration) or wanted to be shown as a co-author even if the collaboration was a short paragraph.
  • Wonderful approach to help analysts not just understand issues their market faces by sending the analyst to different parts of the world – got me to Australia twice and New Zealand once to visit clients and prospects.
  • However, wouldn’t tackle North American when I was with Ovum. Yes, there is a whole world out there but not being willing to compete with IDC, Gartner, and Forrester in North America is myopic IMO.
  • Used analysts in consulting engagements. Analysts had a consulting component of their compensation. Hated it.

———————-

If I had a magic wand, I’d combine META Group and Financial Insights, IDC into the analyst firm that I’d want to work. (I would eliminate the IT Spend and, of course, any head-to-head reports.)

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IIAR Discussion Group on “The Future of Analyst Relations” on January 30th https://analystrelations.org/2019/01/24/iiar-discussion-group-on-the-future-of-analyst-relations-on-january-30th/ https://analystrelations.org/2019/01/24/iiar-discussion-group-on-the-future-of-analyst-relations-on-january-30th/#respond Thu, 24 Jan 2019 18:18:46 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=269903 Gerry van Zandt and Ludovic Leforestier - IIARWhat is the future of Analyst Relations looking like?  How is our field evolving?

Have you recently thought about:

  • Whether AR is evolving into “Influencer Relations”?
  • How AR is changing to meet the evolving IT industry analyst firm landscape?
  • How AR can adapt to — and adopt — new ways of measuring AR productivity and effectiveness?
  • What the “next chapter” in the AR field will be?

It’s a very current and relevant topic that affects all of us, and should provide some food for thought as you move along in your own AR career. We are interested in getting your perspective, observations, comments and predictions about the current and future state of Analyst Relations.

Join the IIAR for a one-hour Discussion Group, where we’ll ask and debate these topics, and more.  The discussion will be co-hosted by Gerry Van Zandt (LinkedIn@gerryvz) of Oracle and Ludovic Leforestier (@lludovicLinkedIn) at Criteo.

The Discussion Group will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019 at 8:00 AM US Pacific Time / 11:00 AM US Eastern Time / 4:00 PM Greenwich Mean Time / 5:00 PM Central European Time.

It’s free for all IIAR members. Register online here for the Discussion Group https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HffMy0LqTMCqnSPSy0AdAw

We look forward to your participation.

 

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Peter Sondergaard leaves Gartner https://analystrelations.org/2018/08/24/peter-sondergaard-leaves-gartner/ https://analystrelations.org/2018/08/24/peter-sondergaard-leaves-gartner/#respond Fri, 24 Aug 2018 09:35:15 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=244851 Peter Sondergaard at the Gartner IT Symposium (IIAR blog)Several pieces have already been published on the  unceremonious departure of Peter Sondergaard, Gartner EVP of Research (LinkedIn, @petersonderg)already (ZD NetResearch Live, Kea), none adding any facts above and beyond the SEC filing.

We ran a quick poll yesterday and results weren’t conclusive: some will miss Peter who has been one of Gartner’s stars and highest earners over the years, masterminding the Gartner Symposium keynotes and presiding over the research agenda. Others welcome the change.

He is replaced by Mike Harris, formerly head of IT research (GITL). He was himself succeeded by Yvonne Genovese who moved from heading Gartner for Marketing Leaders (GML) where she drove high growth from a small base to a sizeable business.

AR pros should monitor closely research direction, quality and methodologies following this leadership change.

We wish good luck to Mike in his new role and send a heartfelt appreciation to Peter, also wishing him the best for his next steps.

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[GUEST POST] Hsu: AR must bet bigger on fewer analysts https://analystrelations.org/2018/07/19/guest-post-hsu-ar-must-bet-bigger-on-fewer-analysts/ https://analystrelations.org/2018/07/19/guest-post-hsu-ar-must-bet-bigger-on-fewer-analysts/#respond Thu, 19 Jul 2018 13:14:21 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=238976 Andrew Hsu‘s (LinkedIn) views on AR prioritization are handy. In a recent presentation, he stressed the role of prioritisation in helping us to think about AR, be more refined than our instincts can allow and to help us justify the choices we made when we allocated limited Analyst Relations resources.
Andrew’s starting point is the need to make smart, big bets. Rather than randomly allocating effort without focussing on influence, we want to focus our energy on a smaller number of analysts and, I think it’s implied, to boost the impact of the analysts we prioritize.
The common-sense of AR is problematic. We focus on the people we know, the ones who are cynical about our brand and the ones with whom we do the most business. Instead, Andrew says that we need to focus on both our business goals and the attributes of the analysts. He hits the nail on the head when he says that AR people are often ‘doing God’s work’ – merely serving the analysts. Instead, we need to focus on the timely needs of the business.
AR programs often have a handful of different goals, from lead generation and sales support through to shaping opinion and helping the firm to improve its offer. The IIAR has integrated these very powerfully with the IIAR AR Compass, which are outlined in this blog post and a useful SlideShare presentation.

Analysts, similarly, have different attributes and goals: they might focus on our audience, they might we well-ranked, be famous, be at an appropriate point in their career cycle, vary significantly in their in-depth knowledge of the market, or very unusual amplification for their views in the market, especially since each firm’s organic distribution is so different. It seems to be that using the AR Compass will greatly help firms to structure their goals in a way that makes them easier to evaluate.

Like-mindedness matters. It makes it enjoyable for speakers, especially for new representatives: that is is important.

Often, in Hsu’s opinion, the top wish of firms is to differentiate itself in the market. Sometimes there are specific challenges where the market is sceptical about your firm. In that case, firms might be looking for prominent opinion-shapers who are highly ranked and whose ideas are well distributed: they might not need to be hugely knowledgeable.
That sort of consideration has to be the starting point: we discover the analysts and our goals, we tier them using our key priorities; then we allocate them to action plans.

The outcome is a strong advocacy of service-level approaches. Top tier analysts have to be the most impactful on our business objective: Hsu suggests that around half of the AR team’s time should go on those people, and both client access and budget can be heavily-weighted. On the other hand, as close to nothing as possible should be spent on the lowest tier. This heavy weighting is, as Hsu admits, a big bet.
Hsu’s application strategy is deeply entwined with its advantages: it forces AR people to elicit goals; it allows people to check their current work; it will enable you to sell the focussed approach.
The advantages of this approach are clear: it gives AR people more job security and produces more business value if we are using analyst insight better, and we are ensuring that buyers are getting the best insight from the crucial analysts we have prioritized.

Of course, there are real challenges: if a tier two analyst has an unreasonably large request, then we have to say no. That is especially tricky, I would say, for those AR people who are ‘going God’s work’. And, of course, this still requires using intelligence from our salespeople and the account director at the analyst firm.

What does money buy? AR has a discretionary budget that is often used too much to purchase services that allow short inquiry calls, however often we need to spend differently to get deep, time. That means not only budgeting for strategic advisory sessions, but planning to make the most of them as a way to shape the analysts’ approaches to markets. Similarly, market intelligence budgets have to be valuable both ways: let’s get the insight, but let’s also allocate that on the insightful analysts who influence our business goals.

 

By Duncan Chapple (@duncanchapple, LinkedIn, blog), Managing Partner at Kea

 

 

IIAR Best Practice Paper on tiering

 

Other AR Best Practice posts

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[GUEST POST] How not to be an analyst? By Jon Collins https://analystrelations.org/2018/05/29/guest-post-how-not-to-be-an-analyst-by-jon-collins/ https://analystrelations.org/2018/05/29/guest-post-how-not-to-be-an-analyst-by-jon-collins/#respond Tue, 29 May 2018 14:38:15 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=235906 Today’s guest post is a long(wish) read by Jon Collins from GigaOm (LinkedIn, @jonno) following our IIAR Webinar on “How not to be an industry analyst?

If you enjoy this, why not check his “How not to write an autobiography?

 

Jon Collins: How not to be an industry analyst (IIAR website)Introduction – a glass of wine…

For a start, a bit of background. I never meant to be an industry analyst, not as such: indeed, having done my time as a programmer, then IT manager and various forms of consultant, I hadn’t a clue what one was. Back in 1998, I was responsible for training and other informational services at a mid-sized consulting firm when a report from a company called “Butler Group” came across my desk. That was my first connection with the world of analysts.

A year or so later, I was looking for something new (a cyclic habit in my career); I was also drinking a rather fine glass or two of red, when I stumbled across an advert from Bloor Research. With my inhibitive defences down, I banged off an email straight away.  I barely had time to regret it, as the following Monday I went for an interview… and the rest is an 18-year career.

These were exciting times. At the turn of the millennium the dot-com was still bubbling up: we launched a couple of web sites and face to face forums at the time (IT-Director and IT-Analysis) and set to making the most of the complexity and uncertainty, charging for clarity and simplicity. I remain proud of my 2001 report about the inevitable move towards universal service provision. We call it the cloud these days.

I paraphrase history, but by and large, analyst firms emerged in the mid-1990’s, as attention moved from bespoke ‘turnkey’ solutions and towards custom-built software. From there, they made sure to cover the space like any good ecosystem. So, has anything changed, over the past two decades?

I have worked for a variety of smaller firms and I have done a short stint at a bigger one —IDC. I’ve spent an awful lot of time hanging out with analysts, AR professionals and the firms they represent. I’ve also spent some time not being analyst, working behind the scenes to help some of the largest vendors tell their stories. And this, to an extent, is mine.

I don’t know if you are familiar with the C.S.Lewis classic, The Screwtape Letters — written from an old devil to a little demon? In a similar vein, I thought I’d capture some of the things I might tell my younger self. As they say, getting it wrong is the best form of experience, and it is good to share.

Analyse, don’t preach (the clue is in the name)

Jon Collins: analyse, don't preach (IIAR website)What’s an analyst, anyway? While this is a very good question, you can vanish up your own rear trying to understand how or why you are trying to understand things. I didn’t have any such challenge: when I started, an empty vessel, I was just pointed in the right direction, wound up and sent off — with some excellent mentors to guide me.

Had I not had such guidance, I would advise myself, simply, to start analysing. Luckily enough, I’d always done that, both as a consultant and beforehand (as one client said, “Of course, I knew all of that, but it’s nice to see it all in one place.”). The job is to make sense of all this complexity — you can prioritise areas that are less well understood, or you can keep a count of what’s being sold, or any other area you fancy.

Simply doing research makes you an analyst, for better or worse. Back to my client’s glib remark, analysts are service providers first and foremost, outsourced intellectual services to help all kinds of powerdecision makers with over-stocked brains. Consulting firms, publications such as HBR, journalists and indeed vendors do pretty good analysis: I often think we stand on the shoulders of giants, but in doing so we can sometimes see that little bit further.

As a result, a certain kudos surrounds being an analyst: indeed, the more analysts are seen as high priests of insight, the more true it becomes. A few grey hairs can be an advantage, as these add to that all-important gravitas (a word I learned early on, hat-tip to James Cooper). But, I would advise my younger self against prima-donna-ish behaviour, or seeing this privileged position as a soap-box to preach from.

 

Don’t get distracted by influenceJon Collins: don't get distracted by influence (IIAR website)

Being an analyst also means you are not an artist. The latter group struggle with the dilemma of the purity of creative thought, versus the dingy world of commerciality (though everyone has to eat). As analysts an insight service, it is wise to make this what people are prepared to pay for. Which generally means ‘business and IT decision makers’ alongside other stakeholder groups — investors as well as the broader technology community.

This opens the door to a wide variety of business models, touching many points in a complex web of decision making cycles. No restrictions exist on analyst business models: vendors may be prepared to pay for certain things, as may end-user businesses, government institutions and so on. A pan-governmental grant to research the current thinking and practice of AI may result in the same outputs as a vendor-financed, or a subscription-based report.

Of course, some will look to put categories on all this. There’s a school of thought which says that analysts only matter if they influence the moment of hard-nosed purchasing, within the enterprise buying cycle. While it’s true that contract negotiations are very important (and those who can impact it will be pretty powerful), it makes for a pretty myopic view. Wherever people are looking for insight to help their decisions, if you can reduce costs and increase benefits, you are worth having around.

Debates around the nature of influence ultimately boil down to this, but the truth is that just as technology is becoming increasingly fragmented, dynamic and complex, so are the decisions and insights around it. Developers and engineers, outsourcing managers, and indeed lines of business are all players in the game; meanwhile, vendors want to be around for the longer term, even as they focus on shorter-term revenues.

Influence is a two-edged sword. It is thought analysts can have an opinion on anything, particularly by journalists approaching a deadline (“We need an analyst comment!” “Who’s available?”). This can be flattering (as well as offering the oxygen of publicity) but it is shallow. Equally, keynote speaking and writing branded marketing materials are fine if the research exists to back them up, but presenting opinion as fact or worse, endorsing a vendor’s position for money, creates a steep and slippery slope.

I would argue you should be insightful first, influential second. Celebrities can impact stock markets, but for all the wrong reasons. So, find a research-based model that works for a decision making audience you consider worth targeting.

 

Jon Collins: Beware of silo-ed thinking (IIAR website)Beware of silo-ed thinking

The above kind of assumes you have any say in business models, which the majority of analysts do not, as they work for bigger firms. The point still stands however, that the analyst’s job is to offer insight-driven guidance to decision makers. One challenge faced by bigger firms more than smaller firms is that of inertia, and therefore thinking, so models and practices can become out of date.

For example, ‘consumerisation’ is still sometimes seen as a bad thing, and for sure, if you are a vendor used to selling to the IT department, you won’t want to see their power undermined. But it’s equally important to understand how lines of business are increasingly empowered — the flip-side of consumerisation. You won’t find a quadrant for that; indeed, recent research I was involved in showed that technology-related information wasn’t really reaching business decision makers.

Examples are frequent, and indeed, undermine the credibility of the entire industry which is still largely oriented around product selection criteria and models, even if it makes role-based tweaks or puts out thought leadership papers. “Market sizing the cloud/GDPR/IoT/Hadoop etc” statements are reflections of multiple worlds colliding. Meanwhile, while scope is important, it can lead to silos of thought: cf “That’s a layer 7 problem,” “It’s all about management,” “Nobody cares about security,” and “that’s not an enterprise procurement decision.”

On the upside, as well as offering a better service to end-user-business-decision-maker and other clients, there can be career and commercial advantage in being able to change or broaden your thinking. As well as, simply, knowing that your views are congruent with what’s actually going on. I know, working for a big firm can feel like you are spending more time engaging in internal battles and getting views heard than actually doing the job, but it is still highly advisable to start from the perspective of what’s real

The trick is to be able to change your thinking. This is different from changing your mind: the latter assumes it was just an opinion anyway, whereas the former implies that you are working on the level of how the world is changing, rather than a more superficial view. This does come back to the power of research, as then an analyst is learning, and talking from a position of genuine, defensible authority. Research should guide both the current thinking and how it is framed.

 

Jon Collins: There's no "I" in analyst (IIAR website)There’s no ‘I’ in analyst

In being an Industry Analyst, you are analysing an industry. I know that’s obvious but the truth lies behind these two innocuous words. I’ve covered analysis above; meanwhile, the tech industry is an increasingly complex and distributed, dynamic and amorphous. It’s also, as I have learned over the past three decades, about people. People doing clever things; people brokering relationships; people making mistakes and adopting coping strategies. It’s an ecosystem of folks interacting with tech.

None of us are acting in isolation: when an analyst puts out unsubstantiated opinion which unfairly criticises a vendor, that reflects as much if not more on the analyst. Even more innocuously, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle comes into play: by measuring things, you can affect their behaviour. Whatever we think about quadrants or waves, they provide a great service in creating market spaces which then help technology decision makers understand what is going on.

As a result, it is incumbent on the analyst to recognise their own role in the ecosystem. An analyst can never be truly, 100% independent of the industry. The notion of an independent analyst is as flawed as it is misused: some see it to mean vendor-independent, while others see it as big-firm-independent; neither will be true if pushed to its logical conclusion, not only because there are no luddite analysts, but also because no analyst operates in isolation of the ecosystem he or she represents.

It’s a reason why the pay-per-play question — “If I spend money on Gartner, will I be more talked about?” will never fully go away. If vendors are not investing in analyst conversations, then they may not be heard so well. Of course there is room for abuse, but even without such a possibility, all stakeholders stand to gain from investing in the relationship.

These truths also play out in terms of the day to day. I remember long ago, seeing a post-it on an AR person’s computer. It listed seven analyst firms: The two ‘majors’, two mid-sized and three smaller firms (including my own at the time). The goal, as I saw it, was to get onto that post-it: we all have limited space in our heads, so we have to prioritise. This links to a whole seres of do’s and don’ts, above and beyond ‘simply’ doing world-class research analysis.

 

Jon Collins: Avoid the basic gotchas (IIAR website)Avoid the basic gotchas

Building on this, perhaps what I have learned most of all is that the industry analyst business is an ecosystem all of itself, built on people. This means that as well as understanding the table stakes — research and output, transparency of model and so on — analysts can also avoid some basic gotchas, and do their bit to deliver on the expectations of the role.

From an industry perspective, the most critical quality for an analyst is to be open and fair, or openly fair. This means being accessible before, during and post-research, for example to give a vendor the opportunity to contribute, to enable review of materials where applicable, or to offer a right to reply if not. If you don’t have a research agenda, it might be a good idea to have one for a slew of reasons, not least (for smaller firms) it minimises the risk of becoming the cart, not the horse.

Analyst briefings are an extremely useful tool: while analysts are right to be focused on the immutable stars, briefings help reset the theodolite on an ever-shifting sea. Or something. So, being open to briefings is a straightforward hygiene factor — note that it doesn’t mean you have to travel abroad, which can be very time consuming. Do your homework before briefings, and reflect the information in your outputs wherever possible.

Above all, look to add value — don’t assume that because you are an analyst you somehow deserve to be paid a premium for turning up. A briefing quid pro quo in my experience is to offer feedback, even if you will not be writing about the vendor in the short term. You have to earn the right to be seen as influential: this means being consistent, fair, rational and honest, respecting NDAs and delivering transparency and pragmatism.

In summary this is about no surprises — being clear about what you bring to the party, then bringing it as expected. In this complex world of no absolutes, analysts will continue to have a great deal to offer, as advisors, curators and guides. While nobody can second-guess what the industry will look like in 10 years time, we can say that analysts who align to their context will be in a better position to help. Perhaps the final advice I would offer is not to lose your sense of objectivity: in a changing world, clarity of thought is worth hanging on to.

 

Read also

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Le CXP Group moves to consulting – CEO Yannick Carriou interviewed https://analystrelations.org/2018/05/25/le-cxp-group-moves-to-consulting-ceo-yannick-carriou-interviewed/ https://analystrelations.org/2018/05/25/le-cxp-group-moves-to-consulting-ceo-yannick-carriou-interviewed/#comments Thu, 24 May 2018 23:53:50 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=235517 CXP Group logo (IIAR website)Le CXP is one of the oldest IT analysis firms around. It was created in 1973, six years before Gartner, under the auspices of the French Ministry of Industry by some of the largest French companies at the time: Air France, Anotec, Bred, BSN (now Danone), EDF, RATP and the Société Générale. Its remit was to provide expertise on packaged software -hence the name in French, the deliciously quaint Centre d’Expertise des Progiciels. It’s been doing just this plus some consulting for IT users, gently and in French (Americans would call this in “local language”) until it bought PAC, a rival but vendor-focussed French firm, in 2014. At last I should say, and after PAC’s founder, Pierre Audoin, passed away.

Before this, Le CXP bought German BI specialist BARC in 2011 and PAC snapped German firm Berlecon on the same year. As a result, we’ve got a Paris based firm doing more business in Germany than France. They must like it there.

Are you still following me?

On May 15th, its new CEO, Yannick Carriou (LinkedIn, @YCarriouex. Ipsos and TNS) announced Le CXP was buying Ardour, a business consulting firm. Here’s his exclusive interview.

 

Ludovic Leforestier – I expected a move by Le CXP but expanding in consulting surprised me. 

Yannick Carriou @YCarriou, CEO CXP Group interviewed for the IIAR blog - Ludovic Leforestier @lludovic

Yannick Carriou @YCarriou, CEO CXP Group

Yannick Carriou – This acquisition is absolutely in line with our long-term plans.

In the future, all organisations will have to navigate the exponential complexity of technologies that drive digital transformation. They will need inspiration and confidence to make multiple, critical and interconnected choices to grow, perform and thrive. We have been there to that end for decades already and will keep our strategy to talk to both end-users and vendors.

We see a lot of vendors developing plans and strategies to get closer to clients’ businesses, as opposed to the sole discussions with IT departments. They develop specific verticals, or consutlting activities to fill the gap. We have always been at a sweet spot to gain that intimacy and no one could blame us for biaised views. Chinese walls are a reality to us, but we share to understand the market dynamics and get more contextualized views on markets. When working with us, vendors know we have an intimate knowledge of their clients. And that is a precious asset. Nothing new from that end. As a reminder, we are invited to both Analysts and Advisors events. So our clients seem to understand that.

The addition of Ardour was a good option for us. They bring a tremendous knowledge on user IT strategy formalization and IT governance organization. These are increasingly demanded topics as IT Users need not only the best choices but to up their game in our they orchestrate all their investment, short term and long term. And Ardour is also an IP company : they have developed an incredible amount of IP in the domain that will immediately benefit our clients.

LL – What do you envision your business model to be?

We are and will remain a IP/Content based company. We don’t want to go with any of our client just because we have (actually excellent) reputation. Our difference comes from data, models and assets. You’ll see even more of that in the future. I also think that being a content company is a permanent effort which allow us to be highly regarded for our second-to-none knowledge of many markets, in Europe, including Eastern Europe.

LL – What will be the revenues  share of research and advisory, events and consulting in your business?

Events are a small part of our business, at around 15%. The rest is balanced between consulting and content. Sometimes the line between both is a bit blurred. Working intensively with clients on market data and their integration in the 3 years strategic agenda for the Board, that’s both data and consulting at the same time.

LL – What share of revenues from end-users for the CXP Group and your different entities?

50/50 sounds like a diplomatic answer but that’s not far from what we are doing.

LL – What is your competitive positioning?

We are the largest independent company in Europe. Ardour reinforces us further.

LL – The press release states BARC and PAC, is Le CXP not planning to unify its brands?

All our brands have a strong legacy and heritage. We do not plan to drop them. But you’re right that an history of growth has created a fragmented brand portfolio. We’ll remedy to that.

LL – How should AR position your group and different brands with their stakeholders?

PAC has always been a long-standing partner of Vendors to understand and measure markets, and provide consulting services to optimize strategy and acquisition roadmap. We have outstanding capacities in Europe and know the markets from a thorough bottom-up approach which is also largely fueled by the intimate knowledge of end-users. We are recognized areas of expertise (see Kea Ranking : we are always in the Top tier for IT Services, Iot, analytics and big data, strategy,..). We also try to keep the inherent qualities of mid-size organizations : reactive, agile and engaged. For AR, this is the front desk of our group. Behind, BARC is a world-class leader in analyzing technologies and players in the booming field of  BI and analytics. Le CXP and Ardour provide also intimate knowledge of users in many other areas.

LL – This changes the power balance further to Germany, how will this impact Le CXP Group?

We are getting obviously stronger in Germany, with a prestigious list of heavy-weight clients there coming with Ardour. But as Ardour is also an IP company, this will also immediately benefit the enire company and our future developments.

LL – Any  comments on your observations on the industry? What surprised you coming from TNS?

I ran global businesses at TNS, then Ipsos. Thousands and employees and clients, lately in Marketing, Media and Tech areas. Comparatively , I was surprised by the siloes your questions are just illustrating. There is a non-written principle that some company are talking to end-users, others to Vendors. Most of the time, when companies say they do both, the ratio is totally skewed towards one activity against the other. In “general” market research, we work with all the chain links of an industry ecosystem, without any issue, to cumulate knowledge and info and help everybody do better. I joined and invested in CXP for that many reasons. Maybe it needs reassurance and explanations to some of our clients. But the changes ahead are so deep  and fast that we all need to really maximise our chance to succeed by providing the best intelligence this industry has probably ever delivered.

 

Bottom line

At a time where IIAR member worry about the growing dominance of the research firm, Gartner, Le CXP can’t be ignored for local knowledge and influence. Their coverage in Germany and France on software and services is excellent and they have a number of excellent analysts. Yet, they remain a fragmented brand and their move into consulting could prove unsettling for European services providers which are long-term PAC clients.

 

Update

Le CXP is organising a webinar for AR pros on Wednesday 13th June 2018 at 1000-1100 EDT / 1600-1700 BST 1700-1800 CEST > register here.

 

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Common Misconceptions and 4 Key Areas Tech Start-ups Can Benefit from Industry Analyst Relations https://analystrelations.org/2018/04/30/common-misconceptions-and-4-key-areas-tech-start-ups-can-benefit-from-industry-analyst-relations/ https://analystrelations.org/2018/04/30/common-misconceptions-and-4-key-areas-tech-start-ups-can-benefit-from-industry-analyst-relations/#comments Mon, 30 Apr 2018 15:16:48 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=232924  Photo: business man writing business strategy concept by Phenom Apps

Photo: business man writing business strategy concept by Phenom Apps

Industry Analyst Relations is often characterized as a “Pay to Play” endeavor with little opportunity for the bootstrapped tech venture; this is not the case. I would argue that there are opportunities for a dedicated Tech Startup to benefit from pursuing Industry Analyst Relations (IAR) even without a large budget to spend. Keep in mind Industry Analysts are knowledge focused experts and there can be equitable and beneficial exchanges of information for those who have put forth the effort to develop their Analyst Relations program and build the necessary relationships in the community. For those new to Industry Analyst Relations and who are considering the reasons to perform IAR, below are some common misconceptions, followed by four compelling reasons to develop an Industry Analyst Relations mission early in a Tech Startup.

Common Misconceptions about Industry Analyst Relations:

Need to wait for the Product Launch, Funding Round or Revenue Size:

  • After the fact can be more harmful to building analyst relations as being in the know is more valuable to an analyst than finding out with the press.
  • Analysts often see themselves as advisors and can be used as sounding boards for product development and investment groups, so including them before a product launch or funding round can benefit a Tech Startup.
  • It is not necessary to be a paid member or hit a milestone to be a compelling enough reason to engage with Industry Analysts.

Pay to Play:

  • Any analyst and analyst organization with worthwhile exposure and influence would not jeopardize their credibility. Pay to Play is an unrealistic assertion and would be race to the bottom.
  • Pay for access that can be leveraged to gain market insights and influence is possible, however this will not substitute for an inferior market offering.

Why Startup’s should do Industry Analyst Relations

The IIAR AR Compass is a good way to think about the impact of industry analyst relations. In my view, startups should aim for the following objectives.

#1 Grow Sales

All Startup’s need to grow revenues, scale, and demonstrate market validity, however; very often medium to large B2b enterprise sales can be challenging as start-ups must overcome the preconceived risk rating buyers give small young start-ups. Through an IAR strategy, greater sales can be achieved as well as procurement objections overcome through the influence analysts have on the buyers of vendor solutions, thus effecting sales cycles and win ratios, keep in mind Industry Analysts have customer insights that organizational sales functions do not because of the access their profession has with buyers.

#2 Strategic Business Intelligence

Actionable good Business Intelligence is expensive and often time consuming to digest. Industry analysts can provide insights beyond reports on prospects and the market in general. This is available as Industry Analysts have clients that are both vendors and buyers of tech providing an overall market view of different trends in tech markets and their verticals. Industry Analysts often have market knowledge beyond the reports and conferences they participate in, additional insights can be gained through the relationships built with analysts covering a given tech market.

#3 Market Exposure

Industry Analyst Relations can support the marketing function through greater effective exposure such as in Media Quotes, Speaker Events, Research Reports and White Papers. Industry Analysts have greater influence on medium to large enterprises than growth hacking and content marketing as they provide third party validation that can be used for demand generation as well as influence on different channels of stakeholders in the purchasing decision. Industry Analysts provide an opportunity for greater visibility and a feedback loop in the communication messaging to the marketed audiences. This provides for effective messaging through message testing as well as education from the Industry Analysts of the prospective buyers.

#4 Product Strategies

Industry Analysts can also be used to test and validate product strategies as they have an overall view of what key players are building in each market and what minimal requirements are needed to be considered a viable option in the market. They can also shed light on what is not being developed and why, which for innovators like Tech Startup’s is quite valuable for MVP development and product differentiation strategies.

This post has briefly outlined some misconceptions of Industry Analyst Relations and some key areas where IAR can be of value specifically to Start-ups. There are a plethora of areas IAR can be of value to companies and the use -cases will be company specific. The information in this article is intended to be informative and introductory for Startup’s and those new to Industry Analysts Relations.

 

Josh Seerattan (@JoshSeerattanLinkedIn) is the IIAR Canada Chapter Lead.

 

Your next steps

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IIAR Discussion Group: negotiating with Forrester. Are you getting the best value from your contract? https://analystrelations.org/2018/04/04/iiar-discussion-group-negotiating-with-forrester-are-you-getting-the-best-value-from-your-contract/ https://analystrelations.org/2018/04/04/iiar-discussion-group-negotiating-with-forrester-are-you-getting-the-best-value-from-your-contract/#comments Wed, 04 Apr 2018 18:02:30 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=227785 Feeling the pinch in your negotiation with Forrester on your subscription contract?Do you feel comfortable in buying the multiple seats being pushed your way? Is Forrester covering the technology and business areas that are important for you?  You’re not alone – many of your peers and IIAR members have commented (see the IIAR Tragic Quadrant 2017)

IIAR negotiating with forrester. aniruddho Mukherjee, ludovic leforestier

Forrester seems to force sell multiple seats, TEIs etc during renewals. Forrester analysts may be amongst the top IIAR Analyst of the Year 2017 but is Forrester seeing an exodus of top talent? As per the IIAR Analyst Firm of the Year 2017 survey, AR professionals mentioned that they felt a flip flop in Forrester’s focus on various key topics and verticals. Also the research subscription costs seem to be increasing at 10-20% yoy. They also felt that while Forrester had some great visualisation of data BUT insights were focused on niche topics like Customer Experience, Business Technology, Software and Marketing. Many Wave’s have not been renewed while others are renewed in an irregular cycle.

In past 2 years, Forrester has invested in its Consulting Practice and has been advising many end users on sourcing and business strategy. As per the IIAR Analyst Firm of the Year 2017 survey, AR professionals mentioned a lack of transparency with vendor firms on the ways of working between Forrester analysts and Forrester Consulting.

Building on our previous conversations (see links below), the IIAR will host an in-depth discussion with IIAR members, looking at Forrester’s commercial practices and explore potential solutions.

Date: 26th April 2018

Location: Webinar > REGISTER here

London based member can attend in person > pls fill in form below (Holborn).
Time: 1600pm GMT / 1700pm CET / 0700 PDT / 1000 EDT

Held under Chatham House Rule the discussion will be chaired by Aniruddho Mukherjee (@aniruddho, LinkedIn), IIAR UK Co-Lead and Head of AR and Branding, Europe for HCL Technologies) and Ludovic Leforestier (@lludovic, LinkedIn, IIAR co-founder and Director Influencer Relations at Criteo).

Of course, by attending you will not only have the opportunity to give your knowledge and opinions but also gain from that of others and have the advantage to submit questions directly. Let us have a lively discussion, the more of you that join in the better, so please don’t forget to REGISTER. Attending IIAR Events is free and restricted to AR professionals active members of the IIAR. So if you work at an analyst firm, we request you save yourself some time, have a beer and chill.

IIAR will act as channel for anonymised and aggregated IIAR Member feedback to Industry Analyst firms. This is to provide an opportunity for Industry Analyst firms to present their responses to ensure balanced view of the topic being discussed and help the industry effectively address the issues raised.

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Wrap-up: IIAR Germany 2018 kick-off https://analystrelations.org/2018/02/12/wrap-up-iiar-germany-2018-kick-off/ https://analystrelations.org/2018/02/12/wrap-up-iiar-germany-2018-kick-off/#respond Mon, 12 Feb 2018 09:09:32 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=223256 IIAR German Chapter meeting at Restaurant Ella, MunichA few inches of snow in the deep midwinter in Munich didn’t stop the 2018 IIAR German chapter kick-off from going ahead, with six intrepid AR professionals getting together to exchange news, views and the occasional snippet of gossip – under Chatham House rules, of course.

Hosted by IIAR Germany chapter leads Yvonne Kaupp (@YveKauppLinkedIn) and Simon Jones (@simondestrierLinkedIn), the networking event was focused on the topic of “how to run an effective inquiry”, with IIAR members and guests (our “prospective members”) sharing best practice and experiences. One point which came through loud and clear is that everyone is nervous about running their first analyst inquiry calls – usually related to having enough questions to ask in a 30-minute call.

Expert opinion from the other side of the table was on hand, with Munich-based Gartner analyst Fabio Di Capua (@fabiodik, LinkedIn) joining the networking evening. The simple answer is: Don’t worry – you don’t necessarily need to use the whole 30 minutes – and if you run out of time, you can always book another one. One key tip for AR professionals: Always be generous in providing stars for your analyst inquiries, because your analyst contacts will appreciate it!

The get-together kicked off a busy year ahead for the IIAR in Germany – watch this space for details of a networking event in Berlin, and save the date for the IIAR Germany beer garden get-together in Munich on June 7, from 1700 CET.

New sign-ups for the growing IIAR Germany membership are welcome – or contact us for details using the form below. You can even join the IIAR via credit card.

 

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[GUEST POST] Moving AR into IR….. https://analystrelations.org/2018/02/08/guest-post-moving-ar-into-ir/ https://analystrelations.org/2018/02/08/guest-post-moving-ar-into-ir/#comments Thu, 08 Feb 2018 15:06:49 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=223221 Duncan Chapple / Kea - For the IIAR blogInvestor relations just took over Analyst Relations at Tata Consultancy Services, an IT Services giant. Is IR about to eat AR for lunch? TCS has decided on the reorganisation after a year that included significant leadership changes in the firm’s analyst relations team.
In most tech organizations, AR sits within corporate marketing. This has been a natural home for AR though, as we know, not always appreciated but seen as a necessary function that is needed as part of a wider marketing organization. Most sensible senior executives know how important the analysts are in the overall ecosystem.

Context

Holmes Report has announced it as part of a substantial reorganisation of TCS’ marketing communications. The investor relations leadership will manage both AR and IR functions. The teams remain separate, with AR being part of the CMO’s organization and IR remaining part of the CFO’s organization. The head of investor relations will thus report to the CFO for IR and to the CMO for AR.
AR and IR have differences and similarities. Analyst relations uses candor to build rapport with crucial influencers. Investor relations is regulated to provide fair disclosure to the whole market. There is certainly a substantial overlap: candor (while staying in the confines of fair disclosure) works just as well with investors and equity analysts. However, Fair Disclosure rules are about making all material information available equally so that no investors suffer from information asymmetry.

 

Our take

Many companies tell themselves a comforting lie: as long as AR does not disclose financial metrics that are not already in the public domain, then Fair Disclosure rules do not apply to AR since the information given to industry analysts has no impact on investment outcomes. If that were the case, services like Gartner Invest and the Analyst Value Survey would not be purchased by investment professionals.
In reality, the information asymmetry that industry analysts thrive on, is both qualitative (relative capabilities, customer references, case studies, strategy) and quantitative (off-the-record guidance on market shares, customer numbers, deal values and pricing). As clients of analyst firms, AR spokespeople and managers disclose revenue breakdowns, pricing data and many other operating metrics that are not a part of the company’s public disclosures. Because they are under the non-disclosure terms of contracts, they are less likely to violate the rules against selective disclosure. However, not every US court would accept the prior existence of an NDA as a defense against charges of selective disclosure: almost every organisation has an NDA with every other. When the AR team plays the game of ‘hotter’ and ‘colder’ with analysts wondering if their market estimates are too low or too high, few judges will feel that this is not selective disclosure of financial performance. That is not even the biggest danger of selective disclosure.
The only experience many AR people have of investor relations is dealing with executives who want to brief both investor analysts and industry analysts at the same Analyst Day.  Generally, these two groups have completely different areas of interest. Communications professionals have often found there’s little information that they can both share with both communities and also really meet the information needs of these different analysts.

Bottom Line

This is not necessarily a bad move as long as the two constituents are addressed by people with different skill sets who understand how they work. The AR team also needs to be aligned with the other functions in corporate marketing so they understand what the overall strategy is for the company and the key messages that are coming out of corporate marketing. The proof in the pudding will be how the analysts react to this and whether they see any change in the overall relationship.
By Duncan Chapple (@duncanchapple, LinkedIn, blog), Managing Partner at KeaThanks to Robert De Souza (@robert_desouza, LinkedIn) for his contribution.

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IIAR Roundtable Findings: How similar are the Sourcing Advisor Relations and Analyst Relations roles in the US? . . . https://analystrelations.org/2018/01/26/iiar-roundtable-findings-how-similar-are-the-sourcing-advisor-relations-and-analyst-relations-roles-in-the-us/ https://analystrelations.org/2018/01/26/iiar-roundtable-findings-how-similar-are-the-sourcing-advisor-relations-and-analyst-relations-roles-in-the-us/#respond Fri, 26 Jan 2018 17:26:18 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=219256 IIAR Sourcing Advisory GroupA few years ago, I transitioned from an AR Practitioner to an Analyst & Advisor Practitioner and have met a few others like me.  I have also met  Analyst Relations professionals who have been thinking about transitioning to Sourcing Advisor Relations (SAR).  To discuss the SAR role in more detail, Ed Gyurko (LinkedIn, @edgyurko) and I created the IIAR SAR Workgroup. I hosted a roundtable webinar and this blog is a summation of that webinar.

A new breed of (Sourcing Advisor Relations) SAR is emerging, whose job resembles that of a solutions broker. To succeed, a new skill-set is needed. For analyst relations professionals, the gap is widening and it’s becoming harder simply to move over into Advisor Relations.

As we’ve heard from many sources, the big deal is dead. Buyers have been buying for some time and have become mature, relying less on advisors to assist them with the “big deals”.

What does the new deal look like?  For most organizations, the new deal has components of digital transformation, automation and /or RPA. To truly be successful at a deal with these new types of services, clients, providers and advisors will need to collaborate much more and co-create deals together.

What are the skills needed by SARs to co-create deals? How are the SAR and the AR roles the same and how are they different?

To answer those questions,  Paul Reynolds, Chief Research Officer of ISG (LinkedIn, @PaulLReynolds) and I gathered last December a panel of eminent Sourcing Advisor Professionals: for a roundtable webinar:

  • Joe Hogan / VP and Head of Global Advisory and Analyst Relations, HCL (LinkedIn, @Irishczech)
  • Maureen Barry / Head of Advisor Relations, IBM (LinkedIn, @BarryMH)
  • Mark Noller / Senior Global Sourcing Manager, Infosys (LinkedIn)

The panel kicked off with Paul Reynolds from ISG sharing a few highlights from his recent survey of (SAR) Professionals

How are teams organized:

  • Providers either have analyst relations integrated with their advisor relations functions or separate
  • 40% of providers have an integrated team, either because their budgets are limited, or because they want to ensure they have a consistent message externally
  • 60% have separate groups, mainly because there are different expectations from the 2 functions and there are, therefore, different skillsets required to achieve those objectives

How are teams growing:

  • SAR teams have been growing across the board.  Team sizes have doubled or tripled since 2013.
    • The smallest team have on average 3 FTEs with the largest teams having 10 on average.
    • Advisor Relations teams are expected to grow on average 2 FTEs per team for those that are planning to grow.
  • Paul also discussed the typical metrics (from the ISG SAR Survey) for the Advisor Relations Role:
    •         # of deals that come through the channel
    •         the $ value of those deals.
    •         the % of the deals won
    •         the $ value of those wins.

These measurements tend to be quite different from Analyst Relations, where some metrics include:

  • # of mentions
  • Tone of mentions
  • Movement in the magic quadrant
  • # of briefings

The panelists agreed that the SAR Professional of the future, will be more of a solutions broker. He/She will need to facilitate both external parties such as platform vendors, software vendors, strategic consulting firms such as Deloitte, KPMG, EY, PWC, etc, traditional sourcing advisory firms such as ISG, Avasant, WGroup, etc as well as their internal functions such as sales, alliances, legal, etc to create the new “mega-deal” of the future. The new deal will be collaborative in nature, with industry and line of business expertise.

Since the new deals will be more about collaboration, the metrics for the SAR need to take into consideration the collaborative efforts that these professionals create.

Our panelists reported into either sales or marketing, though it was strongly noted, that regardless of where the function reports into, there needs to be sponsorship from the head of the business to ensure top down participation and support.

The key similarities between an analyst relations professional and a sourcing advisor relations professional is the nature of collaboration.  Both functions must collaborate with both internal and external stakeholders to be successful in their job.  Where AR and SAR differ is on the sales side.  SARs need to have a strong sales or business development skill set.  Also going forward, as the deals become more complex, the SARs will need to have more technical know-how to become the deal orchestrator or the solutions broker.

The SAR role may be a good fit for an AR professional looking to make a move and expand their skill sets.  The SAR is an influencer, must have great relationship, collaboration and sales skills to be successful. The AR role will also be a very critical role as newer technologies are introduced.

If you’re in analyst relations and looking for a career move, I would recommend you think about your metrics vs the SAR, as well as some of the differences in skill sets to determine if you think this is the right fit for your situation.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog and want to hear more about the SAR role, please join, my co-Chair for the Sourcing Advisor Relationship work group, Ed Gyurko, on Feb 1 to learn about the State of Advisor Relations in Europe.   Or if you would like to get involved with the SAR workgroup, as a speaker, suggest a topic, write a whitepaper, etc, please send a note to Ed and I using the form below.

[contact-form]

 

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IIAR Webinar: Crisp Research outlines European expansion https://analystrelations.org/2017/06/21/iiar-webinar-crisp-research-outlines-european-expansion/ https://analystrelations.org/2017/06/21/iiar-webinar-crisp-research-outlines-european-expansion/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 09:07:41 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=174703 This spring, Crisp Research announced the appointment of well-known industry analyst Stefan Ried to head up a new practice area focused on the Internet of Things. For @Crisp_Research, his arrival was a big step – signaling aspirations beyond its core DACH market (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) to grow and cover all of Europe. And for @StefanRied, it was a return to the analyst industry after spending the last two years with a vendor.

To learn more about Crisp Research – which now boasts 20 analysts and consultants, and offers a hybrid mix of research and consulting – join us for an IIAR webinar on July 10 with Crisp co-founder Dr. Carlo Velten and Dr. Stefan Ried.

Carlo and Stefan will outline where Crisp is going, and how it plans to get there. This session will be moderated by IIAR German Chapter leads Simon Jones (LinkedIn, @SimonDestrier) at communications strategy consultancy Destrier and Yvonne Kaupp (LinkedIn@YveKaupp), IIAR Board Member and Head of Analyst Relations and Market Strategy at Retarus. Attendees will also have the chance to put their questions to Carlo and Stefan.

We’re grateful to Retarus for hosting this get-to-know-you session with Crisp. Participation is free to IIAR members and potential members: If you plan to attend in person, venue details will be provided after registration. Please note this webinar is for Analyst Relations professionals only.

When: Monday July 10, 2017
Time: 1500 GMT/ 1600 CET/ 1000 EDT/ 0700 PDT
Duration: One hour

Eventbrite - IIAR webinar: Crisp Research outlines European expansion plans

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BREAKING: Gartner gobbles brand benchmarking agency L2 https://analystrelations.org/2017/03/06/breaking-gartner-gobbles-brand-benchmarking-agency/ https://analystrelations.org/2017/03/06/breaking-gartner-gobbles-brand-benchmarking-agency/#respond Mon, 06 Mar 2017 18:15:50 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=158812 2017 is definitely a a tectonic year for influencer relations: after expanding to other functions with the CEB purchase, Gartner Gartner purchases L2Inc. (NYSE:IT) announced it bought L2, a brand benchmarking agency cum research company founded by Scott Galloway.

This further reinforces its capabilities in marketing and digital, a segment coveted by rival Forrester (NASDAQ:FORR).

As IT expenditure moves to business lines and to the marketing fiction of customer experience, this is a path also trodden by consultancies: the big four (Deloitte, EY, PwC, KPMG), IT players such as IBM and Accenture and the TWICH (Tech Mahindra, Wipro, Infosys, TCS, Cognizant, HCL) as well as regional players such as BearingPoint have all been buying digital agencies. This potentially brings Gartner’s mainstream RAS (Research Advisory Services) in competition with those service companies as well as specialists such as Sapient Nitro (Gartner consulting sometimes already competes with some of those players.

It will be captivating to see how Gartner’s culture accommodate L2’s ver vocal founder Scott Galloway (LinkedIn, @profgalloway), a NYU Professor at times when seemingly rock stars are disappearing from its payroll.

Another interesting question is whether pursuing notoriously fickly marketing types is profitable as suggested by Forrester’s lacklustre growth over the last few years.

What do you think?

 

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2017, a tectonic year for influencer relations? A world post Gartner + CEB and IDC sold https://analystrelations.org/2017/01/20/2017-tectonics-gartner-buys-ceb-idc-sold/ https://analystrelations.org/2017/01/20/2017-tectonics-gartner-buys-ceb-idc-sold/#comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:37:02 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=145007 This January feels like our IIAR April Fool posts came early. After Gartner gobbling the largest peer-to-peer advisory firm CEB (Corporate Advisory Firm) for a cool USD 3.3 billions (2.6b in cash and stock plus 700m debt), the long awaited and many times postponed sellout of IDG, the parent company of IDC, happened yesterday.

Gartner acquisitions: META, AMR, Burton, Ideas, Software Advice, Captera, SCM WorldThose two deals are nothing less than tectonic shifts in the tech influencers space.

Firstly, the acquisition of CEB by Gartner is notable for three reasons:

1. It’s large. 3 billion dollars gorilla like.
If there was no overlap and divestures (CEB also sells some software which Gartner will have to offload to prevent conflicts of interests), the combined turnover Gartner and CEB turnover would be over USD3.3 billions (2.4b+951m) we’re seeing a 40% increase in revenues and the combined entity is on course towards 2,000 analysts. The next players, IDC and Forrester are around USD 300m in revenues, give or take. The last estimates I saw (a while back mind you) were that Gartner has anywhere between 40 to 60% market share. Having such a dominant player means higher prices (some say higher margins were the driver behind Gartner’s acquisition of META Group) and less bargaining power for buyers. It’s also obviously hard to ignore Gartner, so a little advice to vendors is maybe not to pick fights with them -such is their share of mind with technology buyers.
According to Outsell, Information, Media and Technology was around USD 1.6 trillion in 2016.
IT research was USD 4.4 billions, and according to Statista, Gartner was USD 2.4 billion and 54% market share -effectively a near monopoly (after the CEB takeover, they are grossing 3.3 billion in 2017 still according to Statista).
However, just like in the old PCM days, Gartner knows to leave scraps to second fiddles and it leaves space to disruptors -in particular on the sell-side. The IIAR Analyst Firm of the Year constantly showed that 451, Constellation, HfS and other players are definitely more than just worth looking at. And as Crawford Del Prete argues it, a second opinion can be invaluable.
2. Is Gartner plateau’ing?
With the CEB acquisition, Gartner gets access to new C-suite roles. Surely, I’d bet most CEB CIO customers also buy Gartner services and so there might be a bit of customer set duplication however CEB also serves HR, Sales, Finance and Legal functions. In fact Gartner claims it will become the leading global research and advisory company for all major functions in the entreprise.
So this is not a META Group style margins-led competitive take-out (2005) but more an expansion into new markets just like in 2009 as Gartner bought AMR, SCM World and Burton to address techies and supply chain roles.
One could infer that after years of tinkering with metrics to get more leverage, the Gartner executive team saw territory expansion as an EPS growth lever. In other words, this might signal that Gartner’s core business in IT research is plateauing? Nevertheless, with Gartner’s excellent track record in execution (IIAR members can read some tips on contract negotiation here) and international reach, expanding to other functions certainly has legs. It has already ventured in marketing and claim good growth, however Forrester still has a much better hold with this fickle audience.
The good news here for AR and influencer relations folks is the ability to leverage existing relations with Gartner to look at other audiences.
 
3. Does the age of algorithm prediction also apply to Gartner?
Personally, I believe the most significant impact of this acquisition is cultural. After buying and developing no less than three peer reviews offerings Gartner is moving further in the peer to peer advisory world with CEB. This is important not only because buyers value the advice from their peers more than anyone else’s but also because all of a sudden, the mighty technology priest, the feared predicator, the revered oracle becomes is demoted from his/her ivory tower. Truth ceases to be a caste monopoly and becomes the product of algorithm. Gartner famously predicted in the 2015 Symposia the age of the algorithm economy, where those become valuable IP that needs cherishing and runs the world.
As Gartner grapples with the difficult challenge of embedding more bottom-up logic in its research and offerings, it will be interesting to watch what this does to the role of the analyst: will they merely curate and socialise the result of increasingly automated insights? Looking at the profitability of Gartner’s EXP services, this might well be a wet dreams for its execs.

Where does that leave IDC and the others?

Since the disparition of founder Pat McGovern and his philanthropic wish to progress research on the human brain, the media group IDG he founded -and parent of analyst firm IDC– was up for sale for two years with several cliffhangers. We know little of Chain Oceanwide, however my bet would be for a divestiture of IDC at some point.
Whilst IDC predominantly addresses tech vendors, it also enjoys a great brand recognition and probably has the best geographical reach of all firms but none. Yet, its attempts to crack the end-user (buy-side) research and advisory services (RAS) business petered out, I suppose due to poor execution and a lack of investment in sales and go-to-market.
We’ve asked IDC to come and update the IIAR members -stay tuned!
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Constellation and the curse of the (not so) magic quadrant https://analystrelations.org/2016/10/14/constellation-and-the-curse-of-the-quadrant/ https://analystrelations.org/2016/10/14/constellation-and-the-curse-of-the-quadrant/#respond Fri, 14 Oct 2016 00:17:03 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=133298 At the beginning, the intent was pure.Gartner Real Quadrant
Industry analysts, more specifically the buy-side “prescribers” exist to help technology buyers (often referred to as end-users) select the best vendors and providers. They gather insights through public and private sources such as (semi-)private vendor briefings and conversations (inquiries) with their end-user subscribers. Some analysts take hundreds of briefings and inquiries in a year, allowing them to gather unique insights on the market segments they cover. This accumulated knowledge allow them to monetise this information asymmetry as reports, consulting sessions, speaking engagements, etc.

One of the first report format aiming specifically at helping technology buyers to select vendors/providers was of course the Gartner Magic Quadrant. Based on a two-by-two matrix (as popularised by BCG, which is ironic considering Gartner is ran by a McKinsey alumni), the “MQ” quickly became irreplaceable. The X axis is for how good a product/service is (completeness of vision), the Y axis is for market traction (ability to execute) and the quadrant is in fact four quadrants, from leader to niche with visionary and challenger in between. Gartner now publishes a staggering 149 MQ’s, enough to employ a small army of analyst relations (AR) managers at each megavendor. Those type of landmark vendor ratings not only impact sales by pre-selecting vendors in long or short lists but also shape markets altogether as my fellow IIAR board member Neil Pollock studied. No wonder it’s been abundantly blogged about. See our own IIAR Best Practice Paper on Managing the Magic Quadrant.

 

As with most industries, digital disrupts industry analysis firms, for instance crowdsourcing may challenge the information asymmetry position they enjoy. We’re now in an attention economy and firms are competing for attention with free content. The sentiment that everything can be found on Google seems universally accepted by Generation Y, which doesn’t bode well for detailed research. Quadrants cut through that clutter with their neat, apparently scientific, visuals. Everyone likes a list and wants in, buyers can zero in on prospective suppliers, analyst firms can sell reprints (I mean webrights), so what’s not to like?

And thus each and every firm now needs to have a vendor evaluation landmark report that is based on the seminal quadrant: Forrester surfs on Waves, IDC churns out MarketScapes, HfS paints Blueprints, G2 crowdsources TrustGrids, Ovum publishes the Decision Matrices, Chartis issues the RiskTech Quadrants, etc. Even the IIAR proudly boast the Tragic Quadrant. Apart from PAC who went full circle with their RADAR and MetaGroup who tried ellipses, they all look like Jeff Mann’s spoof above, though some introduced a third dimension with bubble sizes.  Ping me a comment for the ones I forget and I’ll build a list.

 

We’re in quadrant paradise -and it keeps everyone busy.

Over time, under vendor pressure and to respond to client queries, methodologies have incrementally become more robust and now routinely include detailed spreadsheet-based surveys, mandatory client references checks, independent surveys, vendor briefings, etc. In my own estimates, one MQ will cost ICT vendors and service providers between 100 and 150 man-hours -more if they got consultants on the bench to keep busy. On the analyst side, they’re likely to disappear in a dark room for one to three months, before escalations. This makes quadrant expensive and too slow to produce -sometimes missing refresh cycles on some markets. One fix is to automate and get users to do the legwork. G2 pioneered the crowdsourcing model and Gartner is gradually introducing more Peer Insights into their MQ’s. Another drawback of industrialised quadrants is that the analyst opinions and insights are either concealed behind a methodology black-box or diluted.

Too slow, too expensive, too numerous, not insightful? Maybe and yet, it seems quadrants are not going away.

Constellation saw that and think they’ve got a fix. They’ve just introduced ShortLists which are just that: short lists.  Here’s an example of the graphic below.
Constellation Short List group messaging 10/16
As you see, it’s a deboned quadrant: there’s no axis, not even a ranking as vendors are in alphabetical order. Call me a cynic if you like but I find that refreshing in its simplicity and also in the approach: all of it is free. You can download ShortLists for free, cite them in press release for no fee, use the graphic for zero Dollars (and even less Brexit Pounds), schedule an inquiry for nothing and even brief the analyst gratis. Look away awards sweatshops. Their methodology isn’t detailed but I’ll take the contrarian viewpoint that methodologies might have gone a little too much in the way of opinions at large firms.
Of course, Constellation hopes to increase their market traction, convert some prospects into paid subscribers but as for me I like that freemium model.

Yet, landmark vendor evaluations are such a pull for research firms that they’re unlikely to drop those signature reports any time soon. They’re usually the most downloaded research formats with case studies and vendor fuel the hype with a flurry of press releases each time a favourable evaluation comes out (but who would miss out?) They also buy webrights (reprints in industry parlance), a nice little earner for many firms -and a business model in itself for some.

Quadrants are imperfect but it seems there for the long haul. Personally, I would love to see them not only augmented with social ratings but also with informed opinions.

Is that too much to ask? What do you think?

Read also

 

All previous posts on the Gartner Magic Quadrant (and more)

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IIAR London Forum: Creating AR impact – are agencies an asset or a threat https://analystrelations.org/2016/09/07/iiar-london-forum-creating-ar-impact-are-agencies-an-asset-or-a-threat/ https://analystrelations.org/2016/09/07/iiar-london-forum-creating-ar-impact-are-agencies-an-asset-or-a-threat/#respond Wed, 07 Sep 2016 09:24:12 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=123923 To kickstart Q3 and the forthcoming events season, the U.K. Chapter of the IIAR  has organised an evening of healthy debate, intelligent content and responsible drinking.

The topic for our panel discussion is an evergreen one: should vendors keep AR in-house or could they benefit from external support? panel discussion2

Agenda – Wednesday 14th September 2016 – London

  • 1800: Welcome drinks
  • 1815: Welcome note & update by the IIAR Board
  • 1830: Tutorial: Case studies in Effective External AR support, Dominic Pannell /Buzz Method (LinkedIn, @buzzmethod)
  • 1900: Panel discussion – Creating AR impact – are agencies an asset or a threat?
    Chaired by Ludovic Leforestier /Bearing Point and IIAR Board (@lludovicLinkedIn) with

  • 2000: Analyst firm spotlight with Aditya KishoreHeavy Reading (an Informa company)
  • 2045: Drinking Class on Gin presented by Paulina Michelak, By The Bottle
  • 2115: networking sponsored by Tenderlake and By The Bottle – Networking Through Responsible Drinking

Venue: Fleet St, London

Eventbrite - IIAR London Forum: Creating AR impact - are agencies an asset or a threat
Note that this event is open to IIAR members, the Forum is free to attend for IIAR Members (another good reason for joining the IIAR) or for non-members there is a fee of £75 that is redeemable against IIAR Membership over the next 12 months. Click here to proceed.

 or 

 

Forthcoming IIAR events 

September

  • 22nd G2 Crowd webinar
  • 29th HfS Webinar webinar

October

  • 4th 451 Webinar/event
  • 6th Negotiating w Gartner
  • 11th Analyst Tiering in Digital Market – Susan Galer
  • 20th Negotiating w IDC Forum w David Treacher
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Don’t tell my mother I work in AR, she believes I’m a pianist… https://analystrelations.org/2016/07/21/dont-tell-my-mother-i-work-in-ar-she-believes-im-a-pianist-2/ https://analystrelations.org/2016/07/21/dont-tell-my-mother-i-work-in-ar-she-believes-im-a-pianist-2/#respond Thu, 21 Jul 2016 15:16:14 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=117455 DonttellmymotheriaminarWhilst public relations and marketing are mainstream in commercial companies, most analyst relations (AR) professionals are often at pain to describe their role.

AR is a relatively new discipline, tracing its origins in the last 15-20 years when a handful of very large ICT firms institutionalised a function to handle consultants and analysts relation. Nowadays all major technology vendors and services players have established sizeable analyst relations (AR) departments –50 to hundred strong for mega-vendors such as IBM or HP. Its raison d’être is to liaise with industry analysts, providing them a single point of contact and managing the relationship between them and the suppliers.

Who are those analysts?

Industry research firms and independent analysts share one thing and can be segmented by in three business model categories. What they all have in common the monetisation of information asymmetry. In layman’s terms they live through the insight gained through their unique vantage point: as they take briefings from all vendors and for some also survey and speak to technology and services buyers, they are in a position to recoup data, verify information and spot trends. Armed with this inside knowledge, they can
generate qualitative or quantitative research which then they can sell as their own IP to both the buy and sell sides.

The three categories of analysts are:

  • The prescribers. They have both the sell and buy sides as clients, though received wisdom is that the bulk of their revenues is on the end-user side. They directly advise technology and services buyers on technical and commercial aspects and have a propensity to compare vendors. Example of prescribers firms are Gartner, the 800 lbs gorilla with its 1,000 analysts and USD2b revenues, followed by Forresterand vertical specialists such as Celent in the financial industry. They’re usually not afraid to take an aggressive stance towards vendors to re-enforce their image as independent users advocates.
  • The number crunchers have vendors as their main clientele but also supply data to the equity analysts. IDC is the best-known firm, although Gartner is also in this category of firms that gather and sell quantitative market data (shares, forecasts, etc). Their qualitative reports tend to be vendor neutral or positive.
  • The pundits, tend to have ICT vendors as their sole clientele and constitute an extremely diverse population, ranging from analysts-who-blog (and bloggers who analyse) to serial white papers churners, from columnists to renowned experts on a theme. Those experts can prove invaluable to assess a go-to-market strategy, refine messages or train sales people.


Some entertain the argument that the advent of social-media tools brings an era where access to information is no longer an issue ; the corollary being that everyone can be an analyst. The reality is a little different: just like everyone can have his/her fifteen minutes of fame though few are truly famous. So, while we’re drowning in RSS feeds, twitter streams and torrents of social network status updates, more than ever we need help to make sense of it all. Gartner would love to see their portal as an ark but a more detailed look shows that a small set (http://bit.ly/vN9GUs) of the online population influences perceptions through content creation and curating. Targeting opinion A-listers is indeed more effective than ever, as their influence reaches farther thanks to the groundswell (http://amzn.to/vf2M4G).

How can ICT vendors leverage industry analysts?

There are two sides to our relationship with this community.

  • On the inbound side, we engage with analysts when we brief them but can also hire them to get their feedback on our strategy –being challenged is a good health check.
  • On the outbound side, the AR programme aims at generating a goodwill capital with those influencers to then condition the marketplace. Vendors aim to achieve two major objectives by briefing regularly analysts: generate coverage and independent endorsements in research reports or media citations.

Where can I get more information?

 

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[GUEST POST] Industry Analysts can be Influencers, Supporters or Antagonists https://analystrelations.org/2016/03/15/guest-post-industry-analysts-can-be-influencers-supporters-or-antagonists/ https://analystrelations.org/2016/03/15/guest-post-industry-analysts-can-be-influencers-supporters-or-antagonists/#respond Tue, 15 Mar 2016 16:16:19 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=226057 The 3 analysts: cheerleader, amplifier, naysayer, illustration for blog post by Jonathon Gordon / EMI on the IIAR websiteIndustry Analysts – Love ’em or hate ’em, but ignore them at your peril

Industry Analysts range from the boutique one-man band to the behemoth Gartner.  Industry Analyst firms exist to fill a gap in the market – namely providing expertise in a particular field, so decision-making becomes easier.  That’s the theory anyway, the reality is somewhat more complex.

Industry Analysts spend a great deal of their time speaking to buyers and sellers of technology, which means that are speaking to your customers, prospects, competitors and then some.  To provide the best advice to their customers, analysts need to cut through the BS in the market.  Why is there so much BS?  That’s easy, everyone has an agenda and often a different point of view.  Analysts can fall in love with your company or technology and tell everyone they meet.  They can also not like you personally very much and tell everyone or no one.

Insight#1 Don’t be surprised if the analyst you meet has an opinion

Industry Analysts, like their firms, come in all forms.  Some have been analysts since college while others have moved from the “sell side” to become analysts.  One thing that all analysts should have in common is that they all have an opinion.  This often surprises the vendor folks.   Vendors sometimes get confused (I know, I have been there) when it seems Analysts just didn’t accept the “facts” of the situation.  Well, facts in these cases can be somewhat subjective, but the real issue is that Analysts are expected to have an opinion – that is what they get paid for.  Clients expect analysts to not only provide market facts, but to have an opinion on where, when and in what direction the market is going.  They want analysts to take the risk and analyze and make a recommendation based on an opinion.  Don’t get caught up in facts, your job as the marketing person, is really to sway the jury.  They will give you a chance to influence their opinion!

Insight#2 Identify, Tag and Bag your Analysts

If you have just been given accountability for your company’s Industry Analyst program or just started in a new company, the first thing you need to do is map out the lay of the land.  Google and the Analysts websites will help you map out who are the key Analyst influencers in your space.  In addition, always a good idea to ask your customers and prospects which analyst services they subscribe to and also check out your competitors’ websites too.  It is essential to identify not just the analyst firm but who the individual industry analyst is that covers your space, make this personal!  Once you have the list, break them down by the following tiers.

  1. Tier-1 Analysts will be key influencers/evangelists in your market space, they can make or break a deal for you. You will want to be in contact with these folks at least every 2-3 months.
  2. Tier-2 Analysts will be folks that occasionally write/speak about your space, but it is not the main segment they follow. Hit these guys at least every 6 months.
  3. Tier-3 Analysts may be analysts that are high profile analysts in adjacent market segments. While they do not cover your area, it would be great if they knew at least who you are in case your name comes up.

Insight#3 Create a long-term two-way relationship

Don’t approach your analyst briefing as a press conference, a briefing should be a discussion.  Sure, you can prepare some slides and a have a clear agenda, but if you figure you are going to spend the next 30 minutes or so dumping information on the analyst, the value of the interaction will be severely impacted. Don’t forget the counterpart to your discussion is a person with many things to say as well.  Be flexible and seek to gain as much from the discussion as you plan to invest.  Analysts can provide a wealth of (free) information to vendors in briefings, if only the vendors were prepared to listen.  You can always send the slide deck later or ask for a follow up call.  Analysts giving you their time are interested in your opinion too, not just in the facts that you planned to present.  Be honest and provide value to the Analyst, they will tend to reciprocate and seek out your opinion and advice.  Analysts are people too, and after all we do business with people.

Insight#4 How to keep the romance alive for many years to come

Create value and don’t make it all about you!  Sign an NDA and tell the Analyst what you’re up to! Share stories from customers, they want to know not just what you sell, but how you do business.  Generate content that will be valuable to the analysts – case studies, trend reports and opinion pieces will all have more value than 100-slide product presentations.  Keep industry analysts informed with new market trends and new directions in your customer base. Since analysts are required to write reports, give presentations, facilitate workshops, they will read and learn from content you provide if you do so in a relevant manner.  Make sure to utilize the analysts as a source of information and someone that can help validate your strategy and directions.  Analysts are paid to have an opinion and even if you don’t like their opinion it is good to know and understand it so don’t be afraid to ask them questions and see what their opinion is.  The more value you can provide each other, the stronger the relationship will be.

Insight#5 Keep up on your analysts

Make it a point to keep up with what your industry analysts are doing. Make sure you know what they are working on and what they have published. Always good to start a briefing by – “saw your latest report about… and I have something you can add to your next one…”

 

By Jonathon Gordon / Directing Analyst, Expert Market Insight (LinkedIn, @Jonathon_Gordon), originally posted here and on on his LinkedIn page on the 15/3/16. Opinions expressed in this guest post are not an IIAR position and may not reflect IIAR members individual opinions.

Other posts by Jonathon

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[GUEST POST] The Truth About Freemium Research https://analystrelations.org/2016/02/18/guest-post-the-truth-about-freemium-research/ https://analystrelations.org/2016/02/18/guest-post-the-truth-about-freemium-research/#comments Thu, 18 Feb 2016 16:23:35 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=102135 By Paul Connolly (@Paul_NH, LinkedIn) from Nelson Hall (@NHInsight).

For over a decade, freemium has been the ubiquitous business model for fledgling internet firms and the developers of smartphone apps. Users sign up for free to enable basic features, and are then drawn into subscribing to various levels of premium functionality. More recently, the freemium model has been the subject of considerable attention in the B2B market research space, with some rather extravagant claims and unsound thinking being used to herald it. Let’s have a closer look.

Some of the self-styled new breed analyst firms, who hail from either a blogging or offshore background, would have you believe that freemium is a key differentiator. But freemium research is far from new, and is hardly ground-breaking. Have a look at almost any analyst firm’s website, and you’ll find free material. On the NelsonHall research portal you’ll find masses of high-quality analyst commentary, blog articles, webcasts, research summaries, and opt-in research newsletters (and for the buy-side, hundreds of NEAT vendor evaluation quadrants too) – all there for free. What matters is how good and impartial the free research is, and also what you find when you scrape beneath the surface of the free stuff.

One thing’s for sure. With over 40,000 global research reports across a large number of service line and industry-specific programs, NelsonHall has a wealth of high-impact research available, all of it based on original interviews with the buyers and vendors of outsourcing services around the world. And every piece of research tackles the tough questions and delivers insightful answers that help clients narrow the risk of decision-making in complex sourcing environments. Some of this insight we choose to give away. We always have done. We just don’t see this as a differentiator.

What is a differentiator is meticulous attention to detail, and a refusal to adopt anything other than the best methods of gathering and analyzing research data, and delivering insight to our clients. For example, we do not use on-line surveys, which are hopelessly inadequate for extensive data gathering in complex B2B markets. Nor do we believe that it’s possible to write outsourcing vendor profiles based on information entered into standard forms by the vendors themselves. That’s a sure-fire way of collecting lots of vendor marcomms and wishful thinking, but certainly no basis for accurate data gathering, let alone objective analysis.

And now for a reality check. Doing research the right way is not an inexpensive business, and has to be paid for one way or another. One way is to set a reasonable fee for all clients who wish to access premium research, and to grant them enterprise-wide access. Another way is to find a sponsor who’s prepared to pay a much larger fee for the privilege of first access to (or co-hosting of) the research. We take the former approach.

But here’s another very important way to look at the freemium issue. We challenge any organization to build a successful sourcing strategy based on free research alone. Googling for free information is a non-starter, and relying entirely on free analyst research doesn’t get you much further. We wouldn’t advise it, much as we wouldn’t advise web-based self-diagnosis of that nagging abdominal pain you’ve had for the last two months.

Some of the newer players point to their freemium model as evidence that they are changing the established order of the ‘legacy’ analyst firms. Really? Other than the fact that freemium is nothing new, the reality is that analyst firms founded on well-established principles, rigorous methodologies, and a refusal to dumb down what they do, are more important today than they ever were.

You may ask, does any of this really matter?

Well, not unless you happen to believe that substance is more important than form. In which case it matters rather a lot – your business could depend on it.

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Will research crowdsourcing finally move analyst firms to an experience business model? https://analystrelations.org/2015/07/15/can-it-research-be-crowdsourced/ https://analystrelations.org/2015/07/15/can-it-research-be-crowdsourced/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 22:16:35 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=97770 G2 Crowd Grid for Help desk - IIAR website

G2 Crowd Grid for Help desk

Good piece by Tony Bradley on TechSpective.net (via Rob Enderle and Stephen England) on whether crowdsourced analysis could displace Gartner, Forrester, IDC, etc.

I’ve been watching analysts for a long time and think this is fascinating -I was waiting for such a “JD Power of Tech” for a long time. The piece talks about Chaordix and Whale Path, and I’ve known for a while about G2 Crowd. Another well known so called Peer Review Site (PRS) is TrustRadius.

If they get it right, it will finally change the analyst business. Analysts are not going to disappear anytime -they may just be called something else: you’ll still need curators, pundits, showmen and showwomen, futurists and other shamans. But if the data collection could be automated instead of those more or less bad quadrants, they could focus on experience. It remain to be seen whether firms can be weaned off subscriptions? We, vendors, all know that moment when your rep suddenly wakes up and invites you to lunch… They’re all hooked onto subs: it’s relatively easy to renew, they can sneak in a 7-15% uplift tax (I did not say racket, did I?) every year, they produce the research once and sell it many times (Gene Hall calls this leverage and it certainly worked so far for Gartner).

This reminds me of a debate between the transition from on premise and SaaS: in the industry analysis industry, moving to an experience model would be a similar business model shift.

The other reason why analyst firms find moving towards being an experience business (despite some talking ad nauseam about the age of the customer) is psychology. Analyst firms are geared up to create technology myths and own the truth. To them, crowdsourcing is abdicating. The larger the firm, the harder it is: some smaller firms are very inclusive in bringing folks together (I was really impressed by a recent Constellation event for instance) while on the other hand I always thought that networking at Gartner Symposium was hard work. Both Gartner and Forrester market services aimed at specific communities, for instance respectively EXP and the Councils but it remains analyst-centric (although I haven’t paid the required 200k to try the EXP CIO service, so my guess is as good as anyone’s here).

One final thought. What everyone forgets (except maybe Le CXP) is the role of the smaller (and not so small) consultants and system integrators. Large firms have the scale to have research desk and even publish research and thought leadership (that’s actually my day job) but smaller ones don’t have that luxury. What they have however is hands-on experience of implementing solutions, deep relationships with their end-user clients and often an extremely good knowledge of a functional or technical niche.

In other words, consultants have insights that is complementary to analysts and are not competing with them. With a mechanism such as G2crowd, analysts could leverage them. Consultants on the other hand could get access to detailed benchmarks which the analysts currently struggle to produce. That would be Uber for research and I think the concept sounds cool.

What do you all think?

 

Read also:

 

Update

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