IIAR AR Professional Interview – 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. Mon, 15 Jun 2020 17:17:31 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 76177372 Around Caroline Dennington at Dennington AR, IIAR> AR Agency Of The Year 2019, in 10 questions https://analystrelations.org/2019/07/22/around-caroline-dennington-at-dennington-ar-iiar-ar-agency-of-the-year-2019-in-10-questions/ https://analystrelations.org/2019/07/22/around-caroline-dennington-at-dennington-ar-iiar-ar-agency-of-the-year-2019-in-10-questions/#respond Mon, 22 Jul 2019 18:21:42 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=307935 AR Agency Of The Year 2019.  Like Ricarda, she doesn’t have any horror story and also has a liking for the French art de vivre… What’s been your career path to becoming an AR pro? After an early career for several years in banking, I […]]]>
Caroline Dennington / Dennington AR

Caroline Dennington (@CdenningtonLinkedIn) is the Managing Director of Dennington AR and the winner of the IIAR> AR Agency Of The Year 2019.  Like Ricarda, she doesn’t have any horror story and also has a liking for the French art de vivre…

  1. What’s been your career path to becoming an AR pro? 
    After an early career for several years in banking, I took a voluntary redundancy and joined a media production company owned by a TV presenter and ex EMI producer which allowed me to enjoy a slightly bonkers 18 months working with celebrities and pop stars, traveling and filming in places such as Arizona, Venice and Bali.  Sense eventually prevailed that I had to get a ‘real job’ so I joined a small PR agency, initially to work with the media but quickly realised the importance of the industry analysts, so I helped build and implement an Analyst Relations service for the various IT clients. I eventually went in-house and continued to develop my AR skills from there.
  2. What are your opinions of the IT Analyst Marketplace and where do you see it going? 
    The IT Analyst Marketplace has continuously changed over the last 20 years and in many ways, for the better.  The calibre of analysts is much stronger these days with many having real world experience. Organisations are also starting to see the value and influence analysts can have on the buyer and the role of the AR Professional, has become increasingly important. 
  3. What’s your typical day like? 
    My morning always starts with an hour’s walk, come rain or shine, with my faithful furry friend, Tilly.  I use this time to plan my day and map out the tasks ahead. Of course, in Analyst Relations there is no such thing as a typical day and when the phone is not ringing, I am usually on an inquiry, hosting a briefing or filling out an RFI.  The rest of my time is spent answering emails, chasing down information for analysts or reading some of the latest research. Networking is a huge part of the role and I like to maintain the relationships I have built over the last 20 years as well as engage in new conversations, be that via the phone or social media.
  4. Now, c’mon, tell me an Analyst horror story?
    I know this will sound like a cop-out but I have been very fortunate in my career with the analysts not to have any real horror stories.  Yes, there will always be interesting characters along the way and people can have bad days, but I very much believe that if you are kind to people, hopefully, they will be kind back to you.    
  5. How does your company structure its AR team?
    Being a boutique agency, I am very fortunate to have a wonderful set of associates who support me when I need a little extra help.  They know who they are and I am grateful to them (especially Lyn) every day!
  6. Tell us about one good experience you have had with an analyst or analyst firm?
    I could actually name numerous experiences but a very personal one that comes to mind was when I suffered a bereavement whilst running a major analyst summit.  I took a call telling me that my grandmother had sadly passed away about an hour before the event kicked off. A wonderful analyst was with me at the time and could not have been kinder.  OK, offering me a gin at 9am was maybe not the best idea (I did not drink it) but he was so kind and I will never forget that.  
  7. Which analyst firm do you miss that’s been acquired or analyst that’s left the industry?
    Oh gosh, this is a hard one as there are so many people I miss – some who are still with us and sadly, some who are not.  Thankfully, there are a few great analysts who are now independent so still very much in the industry such as Vernon Turner and Puni Rajah (both ex IDC) and then others like Gene Ruth (Gartner) who are now enjoying retirement.
  8. What’s your favorite niche analyst firm and why?
    Another hard question as there are a few who I work with and really admire.  To be honest, many firms have their strengths and weaknesses but for me, those that truly want to partner and forge a mutually beneficial relationship, are the ones that get my attention.
  9. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share? 
    Spending time with my family and playing tennis is high on my list along with anything to do with France – food, wine, etc….   I am the secretary for my local PCC so actively involved in fund raising activities as well as flower arranging. As for sharing food, if it is chocolate, not a chance!
  10. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
    Ensuring I meet my client’s objectives and addressing analysts research needs are my top priority.  Being able to juggle numerous activities is a daily challenge but with a good structure in place, colour coded spreadsheets and lists (lots of them), anything is possible.  As for the next 30 minutes, sleep……….

PS: don’t miss tomorrow’s webinar to find out the details of the survey (members only).

IIAR> Best Practice Papers by Caroline

Guest IIAR> posts by Caroline

IIAR> community involvement from Caroline

Related ARPOTY posts

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Around Ricarda Rodatus from Oracle, IIAR> AR Team of the Year 2019 in 10 questions https://analystrelations.org/2019/07/08/around-ricarda-rodatus-from-oracle-iiar-ar-team-of-the-year-2019-in-10-questions/ https://analystrelations.org/2019/07/08/around-ricarda-rodatus-from-oracle-iiar-ar-team-of-the-year-2019-in-10-questions/#comments Mon, 08 Jul 2019 15:16:33 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=305898
Ricarda Rodatus / VP Analyst Relations, Oracle (IIAR website)

Ricarda Rodatus (@rodatusrLinkedIn) is the VP of Analyst Relations at Oracle, leading the analyst relations team recognised  last Thursday night as the IIAR> AR Team Of The Year 2019 discloses which analyst she misses the most and reveals a French secret.

  1. What’s been your career path to becoming an AR pro?
    After a diverse career mostly in  product marketing and communication – locally & globally, hardware & software – I honed my AR skills over the past 5 years as global AR lead at Oracle. Throughout my path in the workplace I tried to always keep true to my passions of being a culturally-aware relationship all-rounder, enthusiastic about products, creating awareness & demand, focused on building world-class teams, processes, and structures to serve an ever so demanding stakeholder community. I would still define myself as a marketing generalist, having customer needs and audience desires at the heart of my every day focus.
  2. What are your opinions of the IT Analyst Marketplace and where do you see it going?
    The analyst market place is definitely changing and transforming looking at the firm landscape, the vendor environment, and the customers transformation. Customers are definitely more educated today and more informed than ever before. Customers these days have much more choice to obtain vendor performance evaluations based on peer reviews, crowd sourcing, and online consulting. There is a big and broad community out there needing and providing services. New communication channels are created every day to serve customers with information and supporting them for their decision taking needs. Analysts are still very important, yet need to adjust and adapt to a new set of customers, new buying behavior, and new competing forces.
  3. What’s your typical day like?
    There is no such thing as a typical day. Of course I have a regular cadence with my team, our executive stakeholders and the analysts, managing more or less regular events, and regular reports. Yet every day is different, needs creative adjustment, agile answers to newly rising questions. Of course I work hard, yet I’m also finding time to play – walking, hiking, and running with my dog, which gives me creative ideas for the job at hand, lightbulb moments for previously seemingly unsolvable past issues, and forward-looking ideas for innovative strategy adjustments.
  4. Now, c’mon, tell me an Analyst horror story (no names mentioned)?
    I guess I was really lucky throughout my AR career to not encounter anything that would qualify as a horror story. Not even remotely. Yes there is pressure from many different sides, there are difficult situations, and we face tough conversations within Oracle and with our analysts, yet I feel we are always able to work out hardships and in the end time and dedicated hard work will always heal all wounds.
  5. How does your company structure its AR team?
    We are very logically and simply structured around our product portfolio & solutions, industries and regions. We have a technical focus on product development- and management on the one side and a go-to-market focus on marketing and demand gen on the other side. We have a very flat hierarchy. And we try to give our AR Managers at least 2 coverage pillars to focus on, and cross-functional responsibilities for everyone to be able to support our team success. 
  6. Tell us about one good experience you have had with an analyst or analyst firm?
    I specifically enjoy working with one fairly big analyst firm where I feel we have a similar value system, we speak the same language, we often use the same words looking at the same strategic challenges. They are like us very customer-focused, trying to deliver creative customer assets. They are always keen to show up at our events, while we are also making a good showing at their events. It feels like a partnership, where we value their enthusiastic engagement, and value their fair judgement.
  7. Which analyst firm do you miss that’s been acquired or analyst that’s left the industry?
    Vernon Turner, Ex-IDC. I liked his calm and composed demeanor, his broad view and detailed analysis. I enjoyed the conversations with him, and valued him as an experienced analyst, and interesting human being. 
  8. What’s your favorite niche analyst firm and why?
    G2. They started as a Peer Review firm, added research based on the customer voice, and just recently customer consulting to their charter. As a newcomer they hired capable talent, acquired great financial funding, and constantly adjust their model in an agile way.
  9. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
    I like a little casual place called “Chouquet’s” on Fillmore Street in San Francisco. It’s close to our home, I can take our dog there, my business partners enjoy the laid-back atmosphere, it gets the sun almost all day (if the sun is out and about), and it’s French J.
  10. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
    How to amplify our valuable assets even more inside and outside the company – with our employees, sales force, with customers and prospects. We need to use our current assets, find more assets, and get them through the appropriate channels to the right audience, looking at the digital experience of our customers and analysts.

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Around Amal Nichols from Cisco in 10 questions https://analystrelations.org/2018/07/11/around-amal-nichols-from-cisco-in-10-questions/ https://analystrelations.org/2018/07/11/around-amal-nichols-from-cisco-in-10-questions/#comments Wed, 11 Jul 2018 19:05:19 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=239522 Amal Nichols / Cisco on the IIAR websiteIIAR AR Professional of the YearWe have the privilege today to interview this year’s IIAR AR Professional 2018 and heading the  IIAR AR Team of the Year 2018, Amal Nichols (@nicholsamal, LinkedIn),Director, Global Analyst Relations at Cisco. She must be doing something right!

  1. What’s been your career path to becoming an AR pro?

Like many in our field, I started out in Public Relations.During college, I worked at a few San Francisco Bay Area-based television stations and later joined a public relations agency focused on the high tech industry. At the time, there were no dedicated AR functions. PR roles actually included managing relationships with both press and analysts. I also spent a year in Paris working on pan-European PR programs with sister agencies in the UK and Germany. From there I worked on the corporate side at a small networking company. I then decided to start my own PR consulting firm. That’s when the industry was growing exponentially and there were lots of startups looking for help and many mature companies in need of extra support. It gave me a great deal of flexibility, a nice mix of clients and a wide breadth of experience. Cisco hired me as a consultant and after two years, offered me a full time position. That was 12 years ago! Cisco was one of the first companies I knew of that had a dedicated AR function. It was exciting to see the strategic value that AR brought to a business and the respect the function had within Cisco.

  1. What are your opinions of the IT Analyst Marketplace and where do you see it going?

Obviously there is a lot of consolidation with many firms looking to expand their capabilities and the services they offer. At the same time, I see many of the key analysts at these firms starting their own consultancies. Because they still hold the expertise, we are including them in the mix of analysts with whom we engage.

  1. What’s your typical day like?

That’s what I love most about my job – no day is ever the same. I am doing everything from providing feedback to my team on their plans to thinking about new ways to uplevel our function. Right now we are gearing up for the new fiscal year, so budget and strategic planning have been taking up a fair amount of time as well.

  1. Now, c’mon, tell me an Analyst horror story?

This was a horror story, but the analyst was actually one of the heroes. I was in Barcelona on business a few months ago and had my purse with passport, wallet, phone, everything stolen. Luckily I was able to get a temporary passport the same day. I shared a ride to the airport with one of our analysts and we parted ways for different airlines. About 20 minutes later he tracked me down and told me my colleagues had called him to say in the chaos I had left my laptop behind at the convention center and they were on their way to bring it to me. It was so kind of him to go out of his way to find me to give me that message since I no longer had a phone.

  1. How does your company structure its AR team?

We align our AR team to Cisco’s corporate initiatives and technology areas. So we have a corporate AR team, a Security AR team, a Networking team, a Collaboration AR team, etc. We also have regional AR leads. Each team is focused on the analysts within their space but then also collaborates across the team where technologies converge and where we need to tell a broader story.

  1. Tell us about one good experience you have had with an analyst or analyst firm?

There are so many positive experiences. I especially enjoy when we can bring an analyst or firm in early in the process under NDA so they understand our roadmap and our strategy. This way, they can provide advice early while there is still enough time to shift positioning or the way we go to market. Having that outside-in perspective from industry experts is incredibly powerful. The one that stands out the most was when we were launching the UCS product – it was an industry first and the analysts we worked with over the course of the year leading up to the launch played an integral role in how it was positioned.

  1. Which analyst firm do you miss that’s been acquired or analyst that’s left the industry?

A few come to mind. We recently had an analyst who left to go to a small security company. I really enjoyed working with him and the balanced perspective he brought.  Another analyst retired after many years in the industry and was a pleasure to work with and to talk to. Another left a few years ago to go private and has now returned so we are happy to be working with him again. That’s always nice when that happens because it’s like renewing an old friendship. Plus they have a better understanding of the challenges that we face on the corporate side.

  1. What’s your favorite niche analyst firm and why?

We work with so many that I couldn’t possibly call out one. It’s really about the individuals, who offers the most value and who you connect with.

  1. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?

I recently travelled to Miami for a LatAm AR planning meeting. My teenage niece told me about a chef who went viral (#saltbae) for the way he sprinkled salt on the steak he prepared. He has a restaurant in Miami so I took some team members there who had been traveling with me. It is a Turkish restaurant called Nusr Et, named after the chef. He was actually there! Both the steak and table side show were outstanding.

  1. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?

We have had an AR Sales Enablement program for the past few years, but it has really been in pilot mode. I am looking to scale it this year because I see the huge opportunity there is for AR to provide more insights and direct support to Sales. Global Communications, of which AR is a part, is now under the Sales & Marketing organization. I am excited that this could be the year for the program to take off now that we are more closely aligned to Sales. Key to success will be driving awareness for the program among the Sales organization. Then once the flood gates open, we will have to be ready to support all the requests. I welcome that challenge.For the next 30 minutes, my challenge is to prioritize the 10 things that I need to accomplish today.

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 Around Renata Barros from Cisco in 10 questions https://analystrelations.org/2017/07/21/around-renata-barros-from-cisco-in-10-questions/ https://analystrelations.org/2017/07/21/around-renata-barros-from-cisco-in-10-questions/#respond Fri, 21 Jul 2017 15:49:51 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=179434 Logo IIAR AR Professional of the YearThe third winner of the IIAR Analyst Relations Professional of the Year 2017, for Latin America, Renata Barros / Cisco (@RenataBarros, LinkedIn) gives us some insights on how she rose to the challenge and sees influence in her region. Sorry, theatre.

1. What’s been your career path to becoming an AR pro?

Renata Barros, Cisco - IIAR Professional of the Year 2017 for LatAmAll my background is on Corporate Communications, so, in somehow analysts are always part of my work, but let me think… Well, it has been a long time ago. Back to 2000-2001, when Yankee Group was one of my customers, while working for a PR Agency. That was when my relationship with analysts increased. After that, I had Analysts Relations as one of my responsibilities when working for Avaya and now, at Cisco, as my main role, analysts is part of my everyday work. I am glad that I was able to build the AR Program for Latin America since 2013.

 

2. What are your opinions of the IT Analyst Marketplace and where do you see it going?

I am happy to see IT industry analysts increasing in Latin America. Firms are seeing the potential of our region and the importance of having local analysts to support the business.
Therefore, I see the Latin America market increasing, and the value of an analyst’s influence also gaining more importance for customers. Finally, analysts are helping companies to build their digital transformation agenda.

 

3. What’s your typical day like?

Each day is different and new discussions come up. One of the best things of working for Cisco is flexibility and the possibility of working from anywhere, which increases our productivity and allow us to balance our life and work.
Having said that, usually I work from home 2-3 times a week. That way I divide my day on meetings with analysts, inquiries, discussions with my stakeholders, internal meetings, planning, emails, quarterly performance review calls, workshops, and events. In addition, most of my time is dedicated to Brazil and Mexico but I also cover the other countries in Latin America. Therefore, I need to be very organized to prioritize and focus on different regions and technologies.

 

4. Now, c’mon, tell me an Analyst horror story?

Honestly, I can’t remember any horror story! Should I have one?

 

5. How does your company structure its AR team?

Cisco has a tremendous AR team, and it is divided by architectures/technologies/verticals and each member has global
responsibility. In additional, we also have AR pros covering what we call theatres that is divided by regions such as EMEA, APAC, Americas (including Latin America). With a great leader to orchestrate all of us.

 

6. Tell us about one good experience you have had with an analyst or analyst firm?

There is no way to tell you only one good experience…most of my experiences are good. I work with an amazing group of analysts.

 

7. Which analyst firm do you miss that’s been acquired or analyst that’s left the industry?

Yankee Group and Fernando Belfort.

 

8. What’s your favorite niche analyst firm and why?

I like them all. Again, I don’t feel like mentioning only one.

 

9. What innovations have you seen from other AR teams or developed in your own AR practice?

A great example for me is C-Scape, Cisco’s global analyst event that we do once a year at Cisco Live US, and its regional version such as the C-Scape Latin America. It is a great opportunity for industry analysts to hear “everything”, about the company!

 

10. In your experience what’s the best way to get more engagement with the executives that you support?

Planning, defining the AR Program goals aligned to business outcomes, highlighting sales impact, showing how analysts can bring insights into the business and how they are influencing customer’s buying decisions, and for sure, delivering results.

 

 

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Around Tracy Shouldice / Trend Micro in 10 questions https://analystrelations.org/2017/07/12/around-tracy-shouldice-trend-micro-in-10-questions/ https://analystrelations.org/2017/07/12/around-tracy-shouldice-trend-micro-in-10-questions/#respond Wed, 12 Jul 2017 19:02:51 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=177914 IIAR AR Professional of the YearTracy Shouldice / Trend Micro (blog, @TracyShouldice, LinkedIn) is the IIAR AR Professional of the Year 2017 – North America and kindly accepted to share a bit about him and what led to this award.

Tracy Shouldice / Trend Micro is the IIAR AR Professional of the Year 2016 - North America1. What’s been your career path to becoming an AR pro?

 I’ve been in & around AR for 20 years now.  In the late 1990s I realized that nobody at my company at the time was paying attention to these important influencers, but that we needed to.  My company was a small startup at the time; my boss said, “well, if you can backfill your Marcom job, you can work with the analysts.”  Since then, I’ve done AR at Entrust, Cognos, Nortel (RIP) and now Trend Micro.  I also worked four years at Forrester, which gave me good perspective on the inner workings of research firms and their analysts.

2. What are your opinions of the IT Analyst Marketplace and where do you see it going?

The biggest trend I’ve been thinking about is that from the perspective of the IT buyer:  there is Gartner; and there is the highly-fragmented collective of everyone else.  Gartner has earned its way to its dominant position in the research/advisory space with exceptional execution and some clever acquisitions – so by no means am I trying to trivialize its well-earned success.

But unlike some industry watchers, I do not believe that the end of the traditional analyst firm is near, by any measure.

The smaller analyst firms simply cannot compete with Gartner for the minds of the IT buyer in the large/very large enterprise.  Big IT is not typically going to drop seven figures of technology investment based on a blog post by an independent, or an anonymous peer review.

So the question is:  who is willing (and able) to throw down the gauntlet and challenge Gartner as a legitimate second opinion for the IT buyer?  I see many smaller niche players out there (pun intended) and some visionaries (ditto), but I’m sure I speak for many AR peers (and also from the IT perspective) in saying that a little competition at the high end of the market would be a good thing to keep the landscape vibrant.  The opportunity is there … but who will step up?

3. What’s your typical day like?

One thing that I have always loved about AR is that there really are no two days alike.  Sometimes we interact with analysts on the phone, sometimes at conferences, sometimes over email.  Sometimes you are doing the talking; and sometimes you’re listening.  Hopefully a good balance of both.

And we get involved with everyone in our company, north-south and east-west (execs, product experts, evangelists, marketing, etc.).

It’s this variety, and working with super-smart people, that keep things interesting!

4. Now, c’mon, tell me an Analyst horror story?

There was one event – a large user-group conference hosted by my company – in which we had hired an analyst to deliver the Day One keynote address.  It was at 9:00am, with over 1,000 people in the room.  He showed up at 8:15 – with no computer, no slides, nothing.  He assumed that I would have his slides already cued up (through some sort of magical process, apparently).  In fact, they were on a file server behind his firewall/VPN (did I mention he didn’t bring a PC?).  It was a mad scramble, but after some frantic phone calls and a tortuously slow download (this was before high-speed Internet, people!) we got the slides onto one of our computers in time for the presentation.

 

 

5. Tell us about one good experience you have had with an analyst or analyst firm?

Early in my AR career, I spent a lot of time with a relatively new analyst at a major firm.  I educated her on the general space that she covered, in addition to what my company itself did in that space.  She really appreciated the time I spent with her, sending me a really sincere “thank-you” note for my efforts to make her smarter in the space she covered.  She later provided me with a glowing reference for another AR position I was competing for.

 

6. Which analyst firm do you miss that’s been acquired or analyst that’s left the industry?

I think META Group … and not from the perspective of individual analysts (many of the analysts acquired by Gartner are still there, and provide great coverage).  But there was something about META’s culture – their analysts were very accessible and liked to have fun in a refreshing, self-deprecating kind of way – and I think that element of the company’s personality got lost over time.

Plus, they were a legitimate “second opinion” to Gartner in the large enterprise IT advisory space (see my other answer, above) – and I truly believe that this is a void that needs to be filled.

 

7. What’s your favorite niche analyst firm and why?

We’ve been going a lot of good work with Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG).  While not as big as Gartner or Forrester, they have really good people and we’ve found that their analysts are very smart and capable.  The firm is also very client-focused:  I appreciate their flexibility and willingness to collaborate with us in many different and creative ways.

 

8. Any hobbies that you’d like to share?

I am an avid distance runner.  I started running seven years ago; I’ve run three marathons now, and more half-marathons than I can count.  I run for charity, and will often join forces with other runners to raise funds for those less fortunate.  Over the last seven years, I estimate that my running teammates and I have raised over $120,000 for some very worthy causes.  It’s a privilege to be able to run, and to help others in the process.

 

9. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?

For the next 6 months: I think the biggest challenge we face right now (and believe we are not alone on this front) would be the “peer review” properties popping up everywhere (think Gartner Peer Insights, G2 Crowd, TrustRadius, etc.).  Some of these are analyst-branded or will soon be.  The challenge with these is scale:  the reviews require that your customers to fill out extensive surveys, and there are only so many favours of that sort that one can ask of even one’s most fervent customer advocates.  I think that addressing these sites strategically will be the toughest nut for AR pros to crack this year.

I also challenge representatives from analyst firms who may read this to think about these sites strategically – while they are certainly an opportunity to build the business, are you perhaps undermining the perceived value of your own research and advisory services?

Challenge for the next 30 minutes:  getting onto my briefing call, on time. with my spokesperson!

 

10. In your experience what’s the best way to get more engagement with the executives that you support?

I’m very lucky in that my executives already see the value of industry analysts in the IT purchase/decision-making process.  So it’s not difficult for me to convince them that analyst engagement is mission-critical.

I do believe that AR is a “virtuous-circle” proposition:  if you invest in the function, you reap the rewards and thereby earn more investment.  That said, the opposite also holds true:  if you neglect AR, you’ll fail abysmally … and thereby lose credibility and support.

So for those who need to “win over” their executives, I would suggest that you narrow the aperture of your AR program to the analysts who matter in context of the IT buyer (that is:  Gartner; Forrester; and one or two mid-tier firms like 451 or ESG).  Take a year and build out a set of meaningful, two-way interactions that establish credibility and goodwill with the analysts.  You’ll start to see the benefits of this approach pay off.  Then, overcommunicate those benefits with your executive stakeholders to build more support.  Rinse and repeat.

 

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Around Susan Prakasam from Microsoft in 10 questions https://analystrelations.org/2016/10/19/around-susan-prakasam-from-microsoft-in-10-questions/ https://analystrelations.org/2016/10/19/around-susan-prakasam-from-microsoft-in-10-questions/#respond Wed, 19 Oct 2016 09:41:34 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=134320 Today we ask our probing questions of Susan Prakasam from Microsoft. Singapore based Susan (LinkedIn, @suprakasam) is the Analyst lead for Microsoft Asia, and she won AR Professional of the Year for APAC in 2016. susan-prakasam-microsoft 

Questions:

  1. What’s been your career path to becoming an AR pro?

My longest stint has been in sales & business development before becoming an analyst. Both roles continue to hold value in my current avatar as an AR pro. The foundation in sales keeps me grounded in being customer centric and oriented to how analysts are best served to influence them, and my stint as an analyst helps me understand the regional landscape of analyst houses and the strengths each firm delivers on based on how it is structured and the methodology that is their unique proposition.

  1. What are your opinions of the IT Analyst Marketplace and where do you see it going? (What trends have you seen in the AR world – are they positive for clients?)

I love that there is a growing recognition for the work and influence that IT industry analysts deliver as customers continue to build on their transformation agenda. While the need for quantitative trackers and shipment data continue to decline in value, on account of being retrospective, there is a greater need for industry insights and technology blueprints / best practices based on regional and vertical adoption. I see this area being opportunistic for analyst firms given every client’s need to lead with relevant vertical industry solutions based on infrastructure and partner ecosystem maturity.

The ability to leverage syndicated research to derive custom insight is a well-honed offering by most firms and will continue to hold significant value to clients.

  1. What’s your typical day like?

Every day is different and offers the potential for analyst meetings/discussions both formally and casually as well as internal stakeholder conversations that look to insert analyst value into campaigns that are being executed, deals that can be backed by strategic insight and in funneling feedback to leadership teams based on analyst opinion and research results.

The great benefit about Microsoft’s culture steeped in productivity is the ability to work from anywhere and to truly achieve a balance in designing your day as it suits you best and in being your most productive self.

  1. Now, c’mon, tell me an Analyst horror story?

A scenario that stresses me out, not necessarily a horror story yet is one that revolves around last minute cancellations and no shows from analysts ahead of briefings that you’ve meticulously and thoughtfully planned. There are certain analyst voices that you want to amplify and when they cancel you know the discussion will lack the one that pushes and challenges the conversation in all the right ways.

  1. Tell us about one good experience you have had with an analyst or analyst firm?

There are so many great experiences I have on a routine basis that is rooted in the depth of relationships that we share with analysts. But what moves me to joy every single time, is when I see that an analyst has defended Microsoft’s strategy / products in a public forum via a Linkedin comment or a tweet /blog – totally makes my day! While the performance of the company itself is separate from the success of its AR program it’s great when the latter can demonstrate impact from the validation of the former.

  1. What’s your favorite niche analyst firm and why?

I love the work that smaller, niche firms like IBRS, Telsyte, Greyhound Research do. Given their significantly lower operating costs, they work with agility and an extreme customer centricity that the larger firms can’t always match.

  1. Any hobbies or favorite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?

I am a foodie and Singapore’s multi-ethnic culture and heritage serves up a multitude of colorful cuisines, each with its own unique flavour and aroma, all of which I love. However, one of my recent favorites was an Ethan Stowell restaurant that my manager in Seattle treated us to called Red Cow in Seattle’s Madrona neighborhood. A classic French brasserie that had clearly mastered the bone marrow ; serving it hot with a reduced balsamic. The fact that it’s not a regular item on your menu coupled with the fact that it brought back great childhood memories makes it stand out in my current list of favorite food.

  1. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?

Next 30 mins is simple, determined to have this interview completed and sent over! Upcoming 6 months is far more complicated. Into our second quarter of the year, I feel the urgency to forge the right plans that are set up to drive maximum impact in converting analyst influence into customer consideration for our solutions to support/enable regional and global business goals for the fiscal.

  1. What innovations have you seen from other AR teams or developed in your own AR practice?

I would love to learn from the best practices of other AR teams in the region and completely see the lack of and need for a community in Asia where we could exchange notes.

One practice that we’ve invested in and seen great impact from has been in the regional Analyst Summit that Microsoft has run on an annual basis. The combination of being able to get a left to right perspective of the organization’s strategy globally, observe regional momentum and hear directly from customers and partners at these sessions have produced a high touch experience for analysts and an enormous positive impact for us. Going forward however, we’re looking to transfer much of this information exchange via a dedicated analyst portal as a self-service mechanism to scale even more timely and curated content to the community. Growth hacking and delivering maximum impact in smart ways certainly underlines our innovation strategy.

  1. In your experience, what’s the best way to get more engagement with the executives that you support?

Executing on a program that is tightly aligned to business goals and outcomes makes executives care about the AR program since in supporting it, they would be helping themselves. Through the work that analysts do – whether it is in the research that they author, the feedback they direct our way, or in the inquiries that we can facilitate – helps negotiate better stakeholder engagement. Thank fully in the New Microsoft, the combination of our growth mindset together with our culture that underscores humility it is a lot easier to ask and have executives prioritize analyst conversations.

 

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IIAR AR Professional of the Year 2016 profile: Peggy O’Neill https://analystrelations.org/2016/07/22/iiar-ar-professional-of-the-year-2016-profile-peggy-oneill/ https://analystrelations.org/2016/07/22/iiar-ar-professional-of-the-year-2016-profile-peggy-oneill/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 15:16:33 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=118039 Peggy O'NeillPeggy O’Neill, Senior Director, Analyst Relations at Informatica,  (@pegoneillLinkedIn) is the IIAR AR Professional of the Year 2016 for North America. In this interview, she discloses a few best AR practices from her own shop.

  1. What’s been your career path to becoming an AR pro?
    I was a former analyst at Gartner and Nielsen/NetRatings and Oracle recruited me to head its analyst relations program in 2001.

  1. What are your opinions of the IT Analyst Marketplace and where do you see it going?
    I’m bullish on the analyst profession. The pace of innovation continues to increase, and technology continues to be a competitive differentiator for organizations. Analysts help customers, vendors, investors make sense of it all.
  2. What’s your typical day like?
    Inquiries, briefings, internal meetings, planning, and of course, email.
  3. How does your company structure its AR team?
    By product line.
  4. Tell us about one good experience you have had with an analyst or analyst firm?
    Really hard to single out one experience, as I’m lucky to work with a great group of analysts.
  5. Which analyst firm do you miss that’s been acquired or analyst that’s left the industry?
    David Mitchell at Gartner and Madan Sheina at Ovum.
  1. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
    Liquor and desserts are my weakness.
  2. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
    Preparing for fall shows and major briefing updates in September. Preparing for an analyst sales call later today.
      
  1. What innovations have you seen from other AR teams or developed in your own AR practice?
    Carter Lusher on our team has been great about pushing Gartner Peer Insights internally, we even got a special kiosk at our user conference earlier this year to encourage happy customers to submit reviews.
  2. In your experience what’s the best way to get more engagement with the executives that you support? Always make the connection to the business – sales impact, product improvement, whatever they need to worry about and show how the analysts can help.
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