Thursday, 1 December 2005

My customer is not your client, or why RAS analysts need to go beyond DRE

Following up on 79.7% of all Gartner RAS statistics are made up, part of the mis-understanding between RAS analysts and vendors AR is down to the customer set surveyed, aka sample size and dispersion. RAS analysts (Gartner, Ovum, Forrester) need to recognise that they have often a much smaller sample size (amazingly, not everyone consults the Borg!) and this sample may be distributed quite unlike a vendors client set. Another factor is that RAS analysts tend to (re)act to client queries. End-user clients tend to pick-up the phone to the consult analysts when thy have an issue, not when their application or piece of kit works just fine (happens apparently). This explains why analysts are often the bearer of bad news and are reluctant to cover stuff that does what it says on the tin. For analysts, one could also argue that such behaviour drives their consulting revenue?

Another sample skew is about geographical and vertical distribution: vendors have a far greater sample size but obviously the dispersion is skewed towards specific industries or geographies where that vendor is stronger. So if you're doing great in say AsiaPac where analysts tend to be thinner on the ground, it's tough to get that recognised by analysts.

Finally, as as SVG points out, it would be nice RAS analysts could be a little more thorough with research and avoid discovering "trends" which are often only based on very few data points.

ARmadgeddon recommendation:

  • VENDORS need to be open with analysts, share installed base demographics and maintenance calls data (at a high level).
  • RAS ANALYSTS need to stop annoying AR with "my client this, my client that" statements and work on their own demographics too; they need to also start covering products that are not generating enquiries.


Anonymous said...

Agree completely that the issue is who they talk to skews their "what we're seeing" results. They're not getting anything cutting edge.

My company (vendor) was talking about open source, particularly MySQL years ago, and it was hard to find an analyst that had even heard of it (though some analysts, not in the database arena, were using it), and many companies were already on board. Now they're all talking about it way after the curve.

Stiennon said...

I agree as well. Certainly when you here an analyst speak about their client you have to have a feel for their client base. If you sell to small business you can pretty much forget about getting a relevant perspective from the major analyst firms.

Stiennon said...


Silicon Valley Guy said...

Agree with Stiennon that the major analyst firms' primary IT buyer client base is at billion dollar and above companies and government organization. This is going to be even more the case as Gartner CEO Gene Hall concentrates his 120+ new sales hires on that demographic.