Monday, 30 May 2005

The worst analyst website?

Logged on the other day, they quite fit the bill. Shame those French lads have no clue about marketing, they have a really neat software assesment methodologies. A league above the infamous Gartner Magic Quadrant.
Typical from a country that brought the world Concorde and TGV's: good engineering, poor sales and marketing...

Sunday, 29 May 2005

Spending on AR rises

Some interesting news from the firm of former Forrester analyst Carl Howe - be updated - Blackfriars Marketing Index Rises to 140 for Q2Information and Media Companies Plan the Largest Marketing Spend in the Second Quarter. Spending on advertising is continuing to fall, while spending on AR and PR are rising.

Friday, 27 May 2005

(Distant) Echoes from the Barcelona Symposium

While Silverlake (a vulture capitalist, with some IT notabilia on its board, including Gates, Dell and Moore themselves) is strengthening its grip on the borgs (see this post on GartnerWatch: Who says money doesn't buy influence? Joe went through the latest 63 pages of SEC filings -respect), the show goes on.

Back to the Symposium then. The event was held in the same old place as the METAmorphosis events since 2001 and the DMS team did their usual magic on logistics: well oiled event (you'd come to expect that if you paid EUR 3450...). The "gala event" was as usual useless if your goal was too network with analysts --they were off being entertained by "technology providers" (the new Gartner jargon for vendors) or trying to sell to users.
Attendance wise, they did pretty well for sponsors and garnered over 1200 delegates.
As far as one-on-ones, they were tougher than ever to book and you can only get 3 a head.

On the AR business side, we heard distant echoes of some changes (there was no InnerCircle meeting but an informal meeting between management and some happy few):

  • As we announced before, Gartner will definitively increase their prices (read: buy now)
  • The infamous Gartner Custom Connects will be retired
  • The restriction on SAS days per vendor is lifted
  • There were talks about addressing the silo approach that prevailed so far: the narrow technology focus does seem to be more appropriate for vendors than liked by users.

Overall, we have a feeling that Gartner seems on the lookout to increase its IT vendors revenue. To be continued....

Thursday, 26 May 2005

Interesting analyst relations technique: treat them badly

It seems that large firms and boutiques have something in common...they're all being snubbed by a certain high-tech company in California. What makes matters worse is that the company goes out of its way to tell analysts that they're being snubbed. Two analysts (from two firms) have described email that says, "You are not being invited to the event." The company held an analyst conference earlier this year and invited only five firms! One must wonder why a company that once welcomed its IT analysts with open arms is now going out of its way to avoid them. They'd better be careful or their image will drop faster than their stock price.

Wednesday, 25 May 2005

First signs of a professional association?

KCG is selling tickets for an AR professionals meeting at Gartner's Symposium. According to the latest issue of Analyst Equity, Lighthouse is organizing a similar meeting over in Europe at Forrester's GigaWorld conference in Prague. Is there any chance we can suggest people at those meetings work together and conside setting up a AR association, like the old AIARO?

Monday, 23 May 2005

Analyst equity blog

Yet another blog on Analyst relations by Duncan Chapple, an ex-analyst turned AR consultant:

Interesting reference to Ethics in Analyst Relations, blogs and analysts and much more....

Friday, 20 May 2005

Furly Friday

We've added quite a few links in our Furl AR archive:

We like this one in particular but there's aplenty others...

Thursday, 19 May 2005

Outsell on the assimilation

Outsell posted yesterday on the assimilation of META by the Gartner Borg:
What Happened to META?

Not a great deal of revelations, but it's a good summary of recent posts byJoe in GartnerWatch and ourselves. Comments:

  • On what Gartner kept from META, we think "not a great deal". The number of analysts retained is more in the region of 50%, and we think they won't stick around for the vast majority. However, we agree they kept some verticals and the EPAS analysts. Consultants are long gone for the best part, except the cost based benchmarking and a few here and there. Interestingly enough, it looks like Gartner is hiring again...
  • We think Gartner has over inflated expectations in terms of renewals: as we've said before, the acquisition makes little sense financially -apart from taking out a competitor-, which indeed means higher prices (and less discounting), a more aggressive (and arrogant) sales tactics/attitude.
  • We agree with their conclusion: the merger is an opportunity for Forrester, Ovum, etc...
    "The next year should see an increase in sales for other IT research firms as former META customers search for that second opinion."

Wednesday, 18 May 2005

Gartner Symposium

We can't resist publishing this comment received from a wish-to-remain-anonymous "technology provider" (the new name the Borg gives to vendors) about the Spring Symposium:

"I've been at Gartner's Symposium the last couple of days. Very disappointing. Very bland, high level content. A lot of stating the obvious. Even the analyst key note was lame with really amaturish videos, analyst reading from the teleprompter. I've seen a lot of people get up and leave half way through sessions."

Any other comments can be posted below...

Tuesday, 17 May 2005

Open source analyst business model?

We've previously referenced this great blog entry by James Governor from Redmonk, but in case you missed it we thought it deserved a full reference and some commentary.

In his post titled "Things To Do in the Analyst Business When You Are Dead", James discusses the IT analysts business model.

It's a great post, if a little long, but let's backtrack for an AR 101. Analyst business models differ greatly according to their output and revenue sources:

  • Analyst output falls roughly in 4 categories: consulting (up), reports (rapidly commoditised), advisory retainers (aka RAS) and events
  • Their clients are usually either vendors (in majority) and/or users (down)

There have been very significant changes in the past years: end-user spend declined, together with reports (who wants to pay EUR2k for a doorstopper frankly?). This means research commoditisation, more white papers, more consulting.

James thinks the analyst business model is "ready for an overhaul", that analyst firms can no longer "run a sophisticated version of the protection racket":

"If you pay up we let you do business - if not we can make life real hard for you by smashing the place up/downgrading your products. Its an open secret in the business, the corpse out in the backyard we all catch occasional whiffs of."

He concludes it is time to revolutionise (esses, not zees, James) the industry with better quality, credible and collaborative research: open-source. His suggestion is intellectually brilliant but stops short of explaining how to make a living for analysts, a point subsequently documented in this other post: "Right hand commoditises left. Gluecode and RedMonk's business model"

Friday, 13 May 2005

The Gartner Magic Quadrant

Opinions on Gartner's infamous Magic Quadrant abound (89k hits on this query) on the internet, but it remains one of the most sought research piece.

So well deserved kudos to Louis Columbus (a former AMR analyst) from CRM Buyer for laying simply the issue in his piece "Gartner's Magic Quadrant May Need New Pixie Dust":

  • He details the methodology and its flaw
  • He advises technology buyers to do their research and not rely solely on the quadrant

Read it, it's well worth it.

Just a few comments:
  1. Gartner's methodology is (for the best) inconsistent: some quadrants use a dartboard approach (similar to the "beer quadrant" Louis refers to), others use detailed analysis. The server quadrant for instance is backed by the Application Server Evaluation Model (ASEM), which is customisable to match users needs and requirements. They are still not where the METAspectrum was in terms of methodology, but one never knows....
  2. The publication frequency is also inconsistent, and depending on where the a quadrant comes in a product cycle, a vendor can come out quite well or not. For instance, this one came just before product launches by Hitachi and IBM. The quadrant could have been very different for EMC if it was published in December (the next one is still not published).
  3. Marketers are lazy. The quadrant is easy. It's not going to go away!

Further reading:

Tuesday, 10 May 2005

Gartner as a consulting business?

Joe's got that interesting thought that, instead of selling the ranch, the Borg will reinvent themselves:

"My guess is that Gartner is planning to re-birth itself as a Consulting business"

Read the post, it's interesting (although we are not sure on the analyst compensation model).

Just one little thing bugs us though: if this is true, why then Gartner sacked almost all the META Group consultants?

Monday, 9 May 2005

Gartner share price

Following META's acquisition, the Gartner share price has plunged under $10. Not surprising to our readers, we already stated the assimilation does make little sense financially.

Certainly, it must annoy the Borg?

There are two options here: either increasing their prices (see previous post on "Revealed: why Gartner took over META!!!") by running a "protection racket" (quoting James in his famous -but yes, too long, we agree Gary- post "Things To Do in the Analyst Business When You Are Dead") or selling the company. Someone has some interesting views on the question, that include Gene Hall's options price and META being a precedent to set a premium...

(thanks to F for pointing this out).

Friday, 6 May 2005

Today's Furl links

Thursday, 5 May 2005

Gartner publishes Q1 earnings

Not a good quarter: flat revenues overall, but with events down 56% and the META charge, their Q results show a $14m loss. David has posted an analysis on his AnalystViews blog.

As we said in a previous post (Revealed: why Gartner took over META!!!), the META acquisition makes little sense financially except if they can maintain a price premium in the long term.

On that topic (Stuck with a META contract?), we have received early indication indeed that the SAS day rates have been sharply increased while the Borg is showing little flexibility. We therefore recommend to terminate META contracts at the first opportunity and/or claim that of the contracts terms have significantly changed since a) all META content is available through Gartner RAS subscriptions and b) the META brand is "retired".

Wednesday, 4 May 2005

More Ovum news / ComputerWire, Butler and Datamonitor

David has some news about departures and arrivals at Ovum, including Stratos Sarissamlis from META.

And more on the same subject, still from David linked here for the sake of completeness:

So, how's the integration of Computerwire in Datamonitor, together with ButerGroup going then? That makes a lot of papers to sell when research is being commoditised by content available freely on the web...

Tuesday, 3 May 2005

Is Ovum ambitious?

Where's Ovum going to?
In Japan?
Ovum - largest European-owned analyst company to enter the Japanese market

In consulting?
Ovum and Nucleus Research forge exclusive ROI alliance

In Australia and New Zealand?
Computerworld: Ovum hatches plot to fill Meta void

Looks like a lot of plans, yet we remain to be convinced they have the will and credentials to successfully take on Gartner and execute on the sales and marketing aspects. Time will tell...

And more furling and hyperlinks to interesting articles: