One of the biggest misconceptions about Analyst Relations is that you need megabucks or unlimited budgets in order to succeed. Of course, having the financial muscle to engage with analysts will ultimately get you further – and help drive deeper relationships with your Tier One analysts, but you can also do it on a budget. Continue Reading →
Tag Archives | analyst relations
A growing issue for AR pros and their companies is defining what ‘digital’ means. Or, more importantly, understanding how the different industry analyst firms define digital and “digital transformation”. It is certain that digital will “disrupt”, and that more existing businesses will get ‘Uber-ed”, as one of our panellists put it. However what is less clear is just how and where digital transformation will impact existing business models over the next few years, as well as what the opportunities and threats will emerge from digital. How might the AR pro navigate the new digital landscape when briefing and engaging with industry analysts firms? These were just some of the questions posed to a distinguished panel of leading industry analysts at the latest IIAR event hosted at the glamourous Heron Tower on August 13th 2015.
Aniruddho Mukherjee of the IIAR kicking off the evening with an overview and update on IIAR to its members,whilst Debleena Paul and Neil Pollock also both from the IIAR look on
|Is 2015 a tipping point in terms of digital transformation?|
The convenor, Debleena Paul, got the ball rolling by asking the panellists whether 2015 is a tipping point in terms of digital transformation. Are digital technologies beginning to bring the kind of disruption that has been promised for some time? Marianne Kolding (Vice President and Executive Sponsor, European Digital Transformation Practice at IDC) responded that it was coming but that it was not there yet. A lot of firms have it on their agenda and are “dabbling”, but change wasn’t happening everywhere. Tim Walters (Co-founder and Principal Analyst at Digital Clarity Group), saw that ‘phase 1’ of the change had occurred, where companies beginning to educate the public about how digital was something that they would need, but that ‘phase 2’, where companies were beginning to think about what they were going to do about it, was only just beginning.
Pictured, from left to right, Debleena Paul (IIAR), Dominic Trott (PAC), Tom Reuner (HfS), Gerry Brown (Ovum), Tim Walters (DCG), Marianne Kolding (IDC)
|Digital transformation can be anything. The first problem is identifying it, says Gerry Brown from Ovum|
Very quickly the panellists got to the issue plaguing discussions of digital transformation thus far: What exactly is it? Tom Reuner (Managing Director for IT Outsourcing Research at HfS), thought that digital transformation meant different things to different people. The term was being used by everyone simply as a place holder. Debleena quizzed the panellists on what their definition was – noting how each industry analyst firm seemed to have a different conception of digital transformation.
|Digital transformation is a process, not a project, says Marianne Kolding from IDC|
Marianne Kolding told the audience that IDC saw digital transformation as where the business model for the company was fundamentally changed. This was both in the way it served its customers but also how its employees operated. For IDC, digital transformation was not just about reconfiguring the front-end but also transforming back office processes. Firms had to build a new way of looking at technology. Digital transformation cannot simply be another project, she argued, it has to be a process. Dominic Trott, (Senior Analyst Digital Business at PAC), told the audience that PAC has two definitions for digital transformation. The first is tackling the front end where the company attempts to build tighter customer interactions but the second is a broader change in culture and mindset in terms of reorganising the business around the needs of the customer.
Debleena Paul (IIAR) grills Dominic Trott (PAC)
|Digital is a wave but has unexpected force, Tim Walters from DCG notes that companies need to understand and react appropriately to the energy|
Tim Walters reminded the audience that the kinds and amount of change that companies were undergoing today was not unprecedented. Companies had been subject to similar waves of change through earlier technologies. And like these waves before companies needed to understand and react to the specific energy in the wave. What is different this time, argued Tim, was that whereas in past waves it was the company that led the change, this time around it is the consumer that is empowered; it is the customer that is driving the change.
Tim Walters and Gerry brown debating the finer points of the digital ecosystem
|AR Pro Tip 101 on how to improve a presentation: Ask the analyst what they would find valuable!|
The conversation turned to how AR pros might improve the way they present their companies digital transformation strategy to industry analysts. Here, rather than dissensus, there was much agreement. Tom Reuner strongly pushed for companies not to present technologies but “narratives”. Companies needed to come up with narratives which were true for their organisation as they were for the problems experienced by their customers. Rather than standard ‘corporate decks’, Gerry Brown, (Senior Analyst, Customer Engagement in Digital Technology at Ovum), wanted to hear ‘war stories’. This includes what has worked and what hasn’t; the upsides and downsides of the digital transformation strategy. Tim Walters was similarly interested in hearing the ‘process’ by which the company understands their customers’ problems. He was much less interested in companies telling him what they can do, but rather how they were now doing things they couldn’t do before, because a client has a new problem and has asked for it.
Your Point of View!
You’re read what we think. We’d love to hear your point of view on what digital transformation might mean for companies and how AR pros could do a better job of communicating their transformation strategies to industry analysts and others. We’re working on a longer version of this blog post, and would like to incorporate your feedback into a white paper that would be circulated with IIAR members. Let us know your experiences. Add your comments to the blog or email us.
It wasn’t all digital transformation, however. There was also time for some of the event attendees to enjoy an expert talk on the famous Heron building fish tank! We learnt it was the largest privately owned fish tank in Europe, and the names of quite a few fish too!
The prestigious Lord’s Pavilion Roof Terrace set the scene for the biggest IIAR Summer Networking Party – a very special evening of drinks, jazz and networking with a crowd of more than 120 guests from 50+ firms and no powerpoint in sight!
Sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services, the party started with a note by Shankar Narayanan, TCS Country Head who welcomed cricketing legend, Graham Gooch OBE (ex England Cricket Team Captain and the scorer of the most runs ever!)
It was a perfect pitch for analysts and AR professionals to network and share ideas and best practice…..and the pictures are finally in at – view them at Flickr #IIARReception2015
It’s big, and it’s just around the corner – it’s CeBIT time again. For AR professionals attending the show, the IIAR has put together a new paper sharing expert tips, both from ARs and analysts, on how to best use CeBIT to connect with and build relationships with analysts. This is available free of charge in our IIAR Members Area.
Even though CeBIT looms large – many vendors begin media briefings in Hanover on Sunday – both ARs and analysts also agree that it is still possible to set up meetings at short notice. However, CeBIT is not the place to expose analysts to a full-on deep dives into a new or revised strategy. See the white paper (link, membership required) to learn more about what leading Forrester analyst Pascal Matzke (LinkedIn, bio, @pascalmatzke) recommends for AR professionals. Continue Reading →
Whilst 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. Continue Reading →
I’m often asked why bother with AR when there’s already a fully-fledged PR team? To many analysts and AR pros, this may sound like a strange question, after all do you ask an electrician to do the plumbing?
However, I’ve seen many times in large corporations PR folks coming to manage AR teams (not always successfully I must say) and in small companies marketing types having to do AR on top of the rest (sometimes very successfully if not consistently).
Many AR pros, when asked will tell you analysts hate being dealt with by PR people. Analysts in fact hate being treated like journalists: sent a lot of content, not deep enough and expected to produce coverage. Continue Reading →
After more than a decade consulting to analyst relations teams, and some year before as an analyst, I’m seeing a deep, and deepening, crisis in analyst relations. It’s reflected in hard data from surveys of analysts and, in discussions over the last few weeks with AR colleagues in the hub of that crisis (the USA), I’m seeing it confirmed by the experiences and challenges facing AR professionals. Continue Reading →
(This post is cross-posted on the SoftwareInsider blog.)
Eight Major Influencer Types Exist Today
Analyst relations, public relations, influencer relations and other interested parties have witnessed the rapidly evolving and emerging buy-side and market influencer models. In the past, eight influencer types followed five distinct traits (see Figure 1):
- Fame. Awareness, notoriety, perceived market status.
- Fortune. Billing rates, wealth, earnings.
- Market impact. Buy-side decisions making, sell-side product direction.
- Personal impact. Individual decisions, behaviour changes.
- Initial business model. Revenue drivers, monetization strategy.
Figure 1. Five Traits Of The Major Influencer Types
JDA is looking for a Senior Analyst Relations Specialist. As part of the communications team this position will contribute to an analyst relations program that ensures regular, two-way communication with global industry analysts in the supply chain management, retail and enterprise management software space. This position will be located in Cambridge, MA, preferred or Dallas, TX or Scottsdale, AZ. Continue Reading →
(Edit – updated with more predictions. Computing have taken extracts and copied on their site – if anyone spots the citation please let me know!)
[Originally posted on Technobabble 2.0] Every year industry analysts formally put their reputation on the line and make predictions for the next 12 months. This post aims to summarise their views in one place – I recommend you click on the links by each post if you want to read more detail.
And for a bit of fun, why don’t you also compare how they did last year on this post
Firms included are: Gartner, Ovum, CCS Insight, Nucleus Research, HfS, Infotrends, Quocirca, IHS Screen Digest, Forrester, Disruptive Analysis Continue Reading →
I’m fast becoming a big believer in virtual events as an essential part of a comprehensive AR strategy. There are many reasons for my enthusiastic position on virtual events.
In today’s fast-paced world of analyst relations, we are under constant pressure from our clients and executives to interact with our analysts in many ways. These interactions include face-to-face meetings, phone briefings, and “virtual” interactions through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites. Continue Reading →
The IIAR London Forum is scheduled for Thursday, November 18th in Central London from 3:45 – 6:30 pm. We will have a panel of the following experts on the Cloud who will be answering questions on the industry and AR best practices. The moderator is Duncan Chapple of Lighthouse AR.
The IIAR elections will take place during the Forum to elect a new board. Also, the results from the Salary Survey will be announced.
- Ray Wang leaves Altimeter Group to form syndicated research house
- Starts business with incredible global analysts and advisors including Vinnie Mirchandani, Phil Fersht, Dennis Howlett, Paul Papadimitriou and Brian Solis
- 70% of customers will be buy-side
When Ray Wang explains the thinking behind the newest analyst firm on the market, a few words are frequently used:
Disruption – Experience – Research
These areas are at the crux of what Constellation Research is about and are probably the reasons why I believe that they will automatically be listed as a Tier One firm – something that is critical if they are to survive.
Ray clearly states that they will partner with their clients to:
Guide buyers through a dizzying array of disruptive business models and technologies
The words that jump out at me here are ‘buyers’ and ‘disruption’. This firm has a focus on end users – this is nirvana for vendors and something that many peers in the industry aspire to have in their client base. The objective is to have 70% buy-side business which considering they are starting day 0 with this number at 60% makes me believe that this isn’t wishful thinking.
The focus on disruptive technologies is prudent – whereas there are hundreds of analysts covering every aspect of technology, Ray has pragmatically realised that there is a need to bring order to chaos and advise people on trends, buyers’ POV and technology in an independent and objective fashion. Continue Reading →
Phil Hassey at capioIT, www.capioIT.com is featured in our Around in 10 Questions series. Phil recently established this new industry analyst firm geared to enhance organisations strategies to capture and understand emerging technology in emerging markets. You can find Martin at @PHassey. Blog – http://capioit.wordpress.com/
- What are your coverage areas?
Emerging technology and delivery models in emerging markets. Technology focus is on the BI/Analytics and Data Centre markets, as well as solution delivery models. Geography wise it is the Asia Pacific and the Middle East.
- What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
It is continually evolving and incumbents need to expect more pressure on their model. I have been very impressed watching the growth of the likes of Altimeter, Horses for Sources, RedMonk and others such as Longhaus locally in Australia. There is definitely demand for a better way of understanding the technology market, and helping both enterprises and vendors. Continue Reading →
5.00pm – 6.00pm (UK)
12 noon – 1.00pm (EDT)
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Who guards the guards? This is a question that my peers and I have been discussing for some time. We are in a quandary. Analysts and analyst relations live in a symbiotic relationship where we need each other to thrive – you could argue that we are each others PR team in that the success of one group inevitably helps the other.
Conversely, the effect of a ‘bad apple’ impinges on us all. And so the question remains – who polices the analyst industry? Continue Reading →
Recently, I’ve done joint announcements with Oracle, SAP, HP, Tibco, Software AG and HP. As you can imagine, I’ve had varying relationships with each and I’m happy to report that the state of the A/R industry is good and that we can work together.
When I was in PR, it was cat fight supreme with territorialism and turf wars. Most of the announcements I did with these companies didn’t have that element. For the most part, the announcements were about standards, not products. So that went a long way towards working together. Still, if you include IBM, the companies I’ve named here aren’t known for being best buddies.
As and aside, I can say that the executives (who can be the source of most problems) all worked towards the cause of the best briefing possible.
Some things are given, like in a certain area (we just did SOA) the analysts know the exec’s by company and the exec’s know each other so I’m happy to report they acted like grown ups.
With the typical name calling (from the CEO’s)and belief in your own products, the first issue to overcome is that the announcement is usually about a jointly create product or standard, not us vs. them. That rule has to be set down first and if you don’t overcome that, you have no chance at building trust, the basis for working together.
DIVIDE THE DUTIES
One company can’t dominate the duties or it is not a joint announcement. This also forces the companies to work together to approve what the others have created as their part of the announcement. There are analyst lists, invitations, charts, follow up issues and any number of duties that need to be attended to and dived up. Once that is done, you must rely on each other and the level of trust inherently rises.
It’s important that the analyst see this as equal amongst the companies. One company presenting more than another is a dead give away. You can’t help Q and A as the analysts will direct the question directly to a company.
You either put your differences aside and work together, or you’ll never get anything done. It’s tough to do when your day job is to hammer the company that you are working with on the announcement. These are the days of co-opetition though. You learn to get along or you’ll never make it to announcement day.
I, like others am driven to compete, produce the best results….or in other words, Win!
I know that I am not alone in this, and am competing for analysts time and attention, not to mention doing everything I can for the highest rating possible. So I instinctively know that others are sucking up the remaining analyst time with a message that favors them once my time is up. So I have to get the time, and make it as meaningful as possible.
I rely on a few tactics that have morphed over the years, but are still true today.
NUMBER 1, IT’S ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP
This takes time, but it is important to know the other person. I take the time to talk about their children, pets, or at least read their social media which tells me about them as a person. This can set the tone for a relationship, and you also can find the common ground to have more than just a perfunctory relationship.
What do you get out of it? Many things like trust (which matters in good or bad times), an answered email, tweet, or any other form of communication. I talk to analysts and they frankly have email overload and/or avoidance. That means if they see it from you, there is a decision on whether to look at it (or take the call) or brush it off to the dustpile.
My advice is to take the time to build a relationship by knowing them, then helping them by going out of your way to make the transaction more meaningful. You will see results from it, like the answer you were looking for. It’s almost like real estate but instead of location, it’s relationship, relationship, relationship.
NUMBER 2, WHAT IS THEIR BACK CHANNEL
Further on the issue of communicating with the analyst is how to avoid their overload. There is some method they choose that they rank as the one to answer. It could be twitter, email (a personal account could be an option here), a text….whatever. Once you build the relationship, ask them in a crunch, how can I reach you. Murphy’ law will come into play at some point. The analyst will be unavailable when you need them (right now) and the back channel is the way.
A word of advice. If you abuse this, it negates the purpose of having a back channel.
NUMBER 3, IS MY EXECUTIVE THE BEST HE/SHE CAN BE?
At some point, it’s the executive and the analyst and it’s out of your hands. The can make or break it for you. Pick the right one for the right briefing. Tell them how to answer to the analyst base on the relationship you have built and their nuances.
Another issue is how and what you tell. Sometimes you can state the obvious. Other times you need to absolutely not answer a question that will sink your ship. Having the executive ready to know where the landmines are. One in A/R must realize that not all are called out to be an effective spokesperson. Here is a discourse on executives.
If they fall down and you know it, you have to get back to the analyst and sweep up the damage. Get another executive or knowlegable person to fix the mess.
The best of all worlds is when you get the relationship (here’s that word again) with and executive, and they know how to tell the right story and they build a relationship with analyst also.
Point of interest: You must also make sure that they know the difference between a press briefing and an analyst briefing. What is off limits and how far can you push the information limits (NDA may be needed). I want my execs to tell almost everything including some warts. This makes the story believable, especially when you are early in the announcement cycle. This gets you buy in, or if you know a certain analyst is anti-your-message, you’ll know not to go there at announcement time.
Is this a comprehensive list, by no means, mostly because you are dealing with people so outcomes are not predictable. Will it work? Most times as long as you stick to the rules. Will you have issues or times when everything falls apart? Yes, and you have to pick yourself up and begin again, it could even lead you to a better relationship.
I graduated from the school of hard knocks, with a PH.D. If I’d have known this earlier on in my career, it would have avoided many troubling times. Perhaps that’s how I learned to use these tactics?
Late last week I resurrected a common meme around Hitler’s downfall video but this time applied it to analyst relations.
In the original post, I simply let the parody of the video speak for itself but after reviewing the many comments on the blog and on twitter, I have noticed that quite a few people are commenting about what they can learn from this. Continue Reading →