Sunday, 5 March 2006

Are the Gartner analysts stretched too thin?

What is motivating Gartner to make changes (e.g., 30-minute briefings and restricting SAS to 80% of last year) that acts to reduce vendor access to analysts? Is the Gartner analyst force stretched too thin, which is causing a client service problem with the all-important end-user clients leading to complaints?

Perhaps CEO Gene Hall has been too successful in pumping up Gartner Sales? Hall added over 110 sales reps in 2005, and plans to add between 80 to 120 sales reps this year, according to the Q4 earnings call. However, he is mum about analyst hiring beyond a vague statement last year about picking up analysts in the META acquisition. This could lead to problems as what they are selling is access to the analysts – access that cannot easily be expanded.

Have you seen examples of indications of the analysts stretched too thin (e.g., reduced publishing, new quality problems, grumblings from analysts about workload and difficulty scheduling inquiries or briefings)? If so, please report them. Maybe if we can bring to light analyst workforce issues, it will encourage Gartner to invest as much in the analysts as it is doing in Sales.

4 comments:

Vinnie Mirchandani said...

A better question to ask may be why are vendors paying so much for Gartner's sales and marketing. According to their 10-K Gartner spent $ 400m in sales and marketing last year ( an alarming 40% of revenues - almost twice what a software vendor proportionately spends on sales and marketing)

As an incumbent client do you like to see 40c go towards sales? If you renew without much effort should you qualify for an additional 20% discount since your sales effort was minimal?

Their research revenues were $ 525 m, and if traditional margins held true, their cost of research would have been about $ 200m. So the sales to research budget ratio is nowhere near equal as you would like to see. Not sure they will double their research spend.

But Gartner's big challenge is to sell much more efficiently. The moves by Gene may be to that end...he cannot be happy with the 40% number

catherine said...

"Is the Gartner analyst force stretched too thin,

No.

ARonaut said...

Vinnie, excellent point. Do you think that it may be because the Borg's silo'ed structure causes duplication of efforts (between events, RAS, consulting, SAS)?


PS: Catherine, it would be interesting to know what makes you think this...

Silicon Valley Guy said...

Good analysis Vinnie. This illustrates the whole "cobbler's childern with no shoes" situation at Gartner, where it does not seem to use technology and best practices to leverage its workforce (sales or analysts) better -- even though the Gartner analysts advise end users and vendors how to do so.

Maybe Gene needs to splurge on a personal syndicated research contract in order to get advice from his own analysts. ;->