This week, in our continuing series of analyst interviews, Josh Krischer, founder and principal analyst with Josh Krischer & Associates, shares his insight on the IT analysis market.
- What are your coverage areas?
I cover Mainframes, high-end computing, storage, disaster recovery techniques and data center consolidation.
- What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
Vendors, in particular large companies, tend to devote too much attention to analyst firms rather than to individual analysts. Much bigger spending with the large companies and not enough support for the small, independent shops.IBM EMEA, for example range the analysts according to their influence and reputation and not for which company they work. For example, despite being a “small shop” I evaluated last year several RFPs among them most likely the largest storage RFP in EMEA (two digit million EUR)
Some time ago, giving interview to a German journalist I was asked what is the difference between the services which a small company (like mine) can give in comparison to the large players. My answer was that in analogy it is like the differences between a department store and a boutique. I can tailor my services better to customers’ needs.
- What’s your typical day like?
Every day is different; emails, projects, meetings, admin , marketing, vendor briefings, writing, etc. Storage is very dynamic industry, with constant flow of news on announcements, acquisitions and new innovations therefore I spent a lot of time on self-study and research.
For example an excerpt from a proposal for RFP evaluation:
Scope of the Work
To fulfil the above obligation, the Service Provider will provide the Client with the Service provider who shall perform the following tasks:
1. Prepare validity proof of the vendors’ claims.
2. Set decision criteria matrix and assign weights for each proposal according to this matrix.
3. Verification of the assessment prepared by the procurement team.
4. Prepare numerical and graphical presentation of each vendor proposal.
5. Prepare price comparisons (against the prices obtained in other, especially European, countries) and suggestions for the negotiations with the vendors.
6. Deliver arguments for negotiations and support during the negotiations with the vendors
7. Comparisons of the proposals from the strategic point of view and according to bank requirements
8. Prepare management summary and recommendations.
9. PowerPoint presentation of points 1-7
10. Two days discussions with technical and management staff in xxxx .
Depends on the RFP size such evaluation will take from 3 to 10 days to complete. In my previous life, working for a large analyst company the output was usually 30 minutes conference call sometimes followed by an email.
- Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
Too many; all the vendors which „danced around me“ when I was VP research in Gartner but disappeared since I left.
A funny AR story (not bizarre) on NDA and confidential information: Being a new analyst I called Steve Bardige (AR manager EMC) and ask him about a project with code name „calypso“. After asking the question I could hear Steve fainting on the other side of the Atlantic. After few second he answered; „Josh, you are not supposed to know about this project and not to mention even this code name, how did you find about it?“ I answered, „it was easy, one of EMC marketing guys in Germany made a presentation about Calypso on GUIDE/SHARE (IBM users forum) meeting in Hamburg.
The morals of the story are: 1) that in some companies the AR are too paranoid in relation to secrecy 2) Giving information to customers before telling it to analysts may put analysts ( who the users expect to know everything) in inconvenient situations 3) sometimes an analyst may know more than you may expect.
- How do you position your firm? What is your business model? (where are your revenues coming from, mix between users and vendors?)
In 2007, about 60% of my turnover came from IT end users: I work with them on various projects, including RFP evaluations. With vendors, I author positioning papers, technical white-papers and carry-out sales training.
- What is your research methodology, in 255 characters or less? (primary research, F2F or phone, secondary only, etc…)
Trying to attend any vendor briefing which I can (and trying to stay awake), speaking with customers and trying to learn from their experience. Trying to listen and to ask as many questions as possible. Searching daily for new information and evaluating it. Usually have more value speaking with CTOs or product managers than with CEOs.
- Any favourite AR professional you’d like to mention? And why?
Hans-Jürgen Rehm IBM Germany, Bill Reed of IBM EMEA, Ludovic Leforestier of Oracle (ex-IBM EMEA), Steven Zivanic of DataDirect (ex-HDS US) – always very helpful in good times and bad times.]
- Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve attended.
Never lie to analyst and try not to waste his time
- What are your offerings and key deliverables?
RFP evaluations, Assistance with RFP preparations, Pricing evaluations & negotiations with vendors, Strategy development, Proofs of concept, Refresh of knowledge.
Competitive analysis, SWOT analysis,Operations management & engineering
Presentation preparation & delivery, Market analysis & business development
Pre-sales consulting, Authoring & education, Keynote speeches, Revitalizing and motivating sales organizations, Sales training, New product opportunity – research and introduction ,Major account development and management, Marketing communications planning
- Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?Gardening, carpentry. Any food ( with the exception of English) which is “dead” in particular Thai, Lebanese and Italian]
- What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
To be the best analyst in the areas which I cover
- Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work you rate highly?
Dave Russell, Gartner – professional, fair and modest