Monday, 21 November 2005

The inside track of Borg vs. Vendors

We have received this email from Silicon Valley Guy:

“I heard over in Orlando at various receptions, bars and other functions where alcohol was flowing, that one of the companies Gartner lists as a “Powerhouse Vendor” has not renewed its annual contract with Gartner. Evidently it was not related to research or any analyst commentary. What I heard – don’t know how accurate – is that this vendor’s market researchers thought that Gartner was not delivering much value for all the money being spent with it.
Wow, what a novel concept, expecting an analyst firm to deliver value and not just use the contract as a bribe!
I would never let my company do that for fear that the analysts would punish us. I admire this vendor for its stand, but I wonder how much retaliation it has already suffered. The Gartner Sales reps are always telling my company that the contract is important for the "relationship" -- which as near as I can figure out is some kind of code word for something.”

ARmadgeddon commentary: selling RAS (research and advisory services) and other products to vendors as a means to gain access to analysts is always tempting for sales. To their credit, the Borg do not sell white papers to avoid being seen retailing influence and in fear to compromise their brand. However, as they are now in a monopolistic situation, every move to exploit their situation will be scrutinised closely. For vendors looking to purchase market sizing or published research, there are numerous competitors in this space and we recommend to implement a dual vendor policy -at least for the quantitative research. IDC is a strong alternative to Gartner Dataquest in this area and each of them have different strength and weaknesses. Make sure to evaluate carefully those two players as well as specialist players (e.g. Canalys, Analysys, etc...) with a balanced research portfolio in sight. On the product evaluation side, look at Forrester, Evaluator Group, Ideas International, Ovum and other niche/regional players...

“I also heard – amazing how booze loosens peoples’ tongues – that Gartner Sales is playing hardball with other vendors as well. Gartner is doing such client-friendly actions as:

  • Accusing clients of violating the contract and that Gartner might take legal action – but this only occurs during tough contract renewal talks, not during the year when the so-called violations are occurring and Gartner could have raised it earlier

  • Raising prices without adding value

  • Telling clients to cut back on the number of research notes downloaded or the number of inquiries even though the contracts states that there are no limits to these services

In addition to the vendor mentioned above, I heard that other major vendors have had enough with the G-men. Some went without a Gartner contract for weeks or months. Other vendors have severely cut their contracts. Guess what? All these vendors have survived and even prospered without having access to the Gartner analysts”.

ARmadgeddon comments: smaller vendors in particular tend to be bullied with these sorts of ttactics. We recommend suggesting the Borg you may go public or hint you're evaluating competitors.


James McGovern said...

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Tobi said...

Thanks very much!