Saturday, 8 April 2006

Gartner analysts to no longer agree to non-disclosure agreements for briefings

Some Gartner analysts have been telling vendors this week that due to a policy change, they will no longer agree to accept information under non-disclosure during briefings. No indication yet whether this is true for both clients and non-clients.

If true, then this is a significant change in policy. In the past, analysts appreciated when vendors “opened the kimono” to provide non-public information in order to understand the context of the vendor’s public statements and future roadmaps. Many vendors would provide some non-public info during briefings and were careful to ask for a verbal NDA for those tid-bits of non-public info. This policy change could cut off that flow of non-public information.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

One wonders if vendors are upset because they can no longer embargo information by disclosing it to an analyst who is subject to a non-disclosure agreement. It is a technique that could be used to manage information flow, perhaps received from another party, and restrict its use. The technique resembles one of the parties to a divorce meeting with all the best lawyers one's spouse might think to use so the spouse cannot access their services. See also: Soprano, Anthony

Silicon Valley Guy said...

No doubt there is some attempts of manipulation.

However, the vast majority of the non-disclosure briefings are for legitimate reasons. And NDA briefings are something that the analysts demand. There are several studies of the analysts where their #1 complaint about vendors is that we do not involve them early enough in strategy and product cycles -- under NDA.

It is doubtful that the analyst community initiated this policy change. Likely it was management for some reason yet to be disclosed.

Vinnie Mirchandani said...

not sure it is a policy change. Why should an analyst firm tie its hands when vendors whisper to others - and that word gets back to the analyst from other channels? Unless something is kept within the top 2-3 people in a company it realistically is not a secret anymore. I have had vendors ask for 10 year NDAs - geez what stays steady for weeks, forget years in our indstry. As an industry we have way too many non-competes, NDAs, non-dilutes...keeps the attorneys happy and most are non-enforcable...my 2c...

Phil Payne said...

http://www.isham-research.co.uk/dd.html#nda

Carter Lusher said...

When I was an analyst, there were many times when I wanted NDA briefings to better understand the market in order to advise clients on planning and budget issues, and to evaluate the vendor's "Completeness of Vision" for Magic Quadrants. In addition, NDA briefings a couple of weeks in advance of major announcement gave me time to thoughtfully decide whether to do a FirstTake and go through several drafts if warrented. In the seven years I was at Gartner I do not believe I ever violated any of the many verbal NDAs I agreed to. I even came up with a cutesy technique of "black pen, red pen" so that I would be very clear in my notes what was public, black, versus non-public, red, information.

I bet some of the studies SVG referred to were the ones we conducted at SageCircle. We interviewed and surveyed hundreds of analysts at dozens of firms for AR effectiveness studies and spoken word audits. When asked to name what vendors could do to improve information flow, near -- if not at -- the top of every analyst's wish list was NDA briefings, which they felt the vendors did a very poor job of using.

As an AR manager at a major vendor, certainly the loudest criticism that I get from Gartner analysts is that my colleagues do not involve them early enough under NDA.

Of course, there are all sorts of caveats about how to do NDA briefings correctly from time durations, nature, scope and so on. Many vendors and analysts do not understand these issue, but that is only a matter of education. Finally, the biggest issue of all is trust, on both sides.

NDA briefings -- if done with common sense and good faith -- can be a win-win-win situation for end users, analysts and vendors.


BTW, Phil, I love The Devil's IT Dictionary. What a hoot! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I knew a Gartner analyst - now departed to vendor shores. Who consistently refused to sign NDA's - he also bitched constantly about not being kept in the loop by vendors...