Wednesday, 26 April 2006

How many are too many Gartner events?

Duncan publishes a glowing report on the latest Borgference here:
ANALYST EQUITY: Gartner's Outsourcing Summit spotlights opportunities:

So the content was good (we agree) and we found the audience was good. Location was the Royal Lancaster again (as some others and the upcoming Datacenter Summit), however there are two caveats.

  • There are now 11 events (including vision events and the fall Symposium) for the second half of the year. Are all of those event providing value for a specific audience and can the market sustain it?
  • Duncan mentions the majority of attendees at the Outsourcing Summit were vendors. Those summits are an attractive option for networking, as the Symposia have become too large for debating ideas. But only if they are not overtaken by vendor presence.
We'd love to hear your views on the subject.

Monday, 24 April 2006

Step up a geAR or disappeAR!

While many AR professionals are not yet prepared to take the bold step Duncan discusses here (Should AR run Influencer Relations?), it remains that they should go outside their comfort zone and address the following challenges:


ARmadgeddon's take:
  • We believe that only 5-15% of IT vendors have best-in-class AR practices and AR staff of the right caliber to transition from AR and grow into IfR: Influencer Relations. This supposes the ability to recruit the right people and secure significant incremental resources.
  • Second tier AR teams will face budget cuts and (re)-integration within the communications department, with the prospect to be compensated/promoted on clippings levels (or worse, on activity) rather than relationships and sales impact (or even research quality and thought leadership).

ARmadgeddon's predictions:
  • The dichotomy between best in class AR and second tier will no longer be based upon basic know-how as best practices filter through, but will rather be the result of AR measurement and strategic policies (.7323 probability)
  • Further re-alignment with media relations will impact positively analysts-for-hire's business (more budget allocated to paid-for reports) but this trend is detrimental to both analysts and AR credibility overall (.5itting-on-the-fence probability)

Giving customer goggles to Borg analysts?

David reports a comment from Richard Stiennon on Bitter Andy's blog here:

Analyst Insight: Using customers to win credibility with Gartner?

It assumes that, since Gartner analysts speak to few clients each week, AR professionals have a good chance to influence them by getting clients to call them.

ARmadgeddon's take: this indirect approach is interesting but IT vendors should be careful and not risk the assumption that (all) Gartner analysts would be daft enough not to smell something fishy going on. Covert AR operations often back-fire and vendors should be advising to call specific analysts only if they add value both to the end user with clear and insightful recommendations (only minority of analysts achieve this, even at Gartner).
AR managers should concentrate on providing relevant and unfettered customer references -this being one of the top analyst requests.

Wednesday, 19 April 2006

Wanted: Analyst Relations Director (job posting)

We recived an email this morning from some recruiter looking for a US based AR Director asking us if we could post the following job ad. Hey, why not? Here you are...

HIRING: ANALYST RELATIONS PROFESSIONALS
Title: Director, Analyst Relations
Company: Confidential [Fortune 500 IT company]
Location: Pennsylvania

To learn more about this opportunity drop an e-mail to:
Edward Proctor, Researcher,KG Group

Tuesday, 18 April 2006

Bitter Andy defends his Tragic Quadrant

Nothing better than some fun reading when coming back from a four-day bank holiday week-end.

Borgmember Andy (Bitterer) has kindly obliged, after seeing red for a Gartner Magic Quadrant on Business Intelligence (is that not an oxymoron?) had been criticised by a certain David Stodder from Intelligent Enterprise.

Of course, David's has Beotian views on the Borgian Tragic Quadrant and Andy is right to put things in their place. His A3Q (Andy's Advanced Automobile Quadrant) is funny and a good metaphor, but Gartner and the overall ecosystem would nevertheless benefit from disclosing methodologies behind the Magic Quadrants.

PS: to Andy's credit, he's one of the few Borg analysts to comment and blog.

Links:
bit blue blog: Show me your Quadrant and I show you mine
Step Outside the Magic Kingdom

Sunday, 16 April 2006

AR is a sales job with no quota

Karen Rohack Mclaughlin, Queen Buckaroo at QB Comm, Inc., wrote these notes of a Silicon Vlley PRSA meeting two or three years ago. Re-reading them, I think think deserve a wider audience. To find out more about the SV-PRSA, visit siliconprsa.org.

(AR) has evolved into a critical function due to the industry analyst’s ability to impact a firm’s shareholder price, strategic position and overall mindshare buzz.

The panel explained that AR is a sales job with no quota and no typical day. As with PR, AR influences the mindshare of a key audience by educating them about the company’s business and marketing strategy, key messages and by freely exchanging information. The panel felt AR provides a good return on investment because of its ability to understand the competitive landscape, its positive impact on a company’s strategy and message development, and its ability to give management an honest viewpoint about what’s happening in the marketplace.

A panelist commented that PR tends to take a short-term view, while AR has a more long-term perspective and relationship-building function. This comment made me wonder if AR’s exposure to PR is not to its strategic planning and execution functions, but rather only to the tactical, short-term PR projects such as product intros, new programs and initiatives and crisis response.

What Makes An AR Program Successful? The panel emphasized that support from senior management—their provision of time, financial resources and staff --- are all crucial for the long-term success of an AR program. The panelist’s AR departments averaged between two and 20 people, and all utilized some type of “home grown” contact database solution to keep track of analyst contacts.

While it was mentioned that Cisco offers an annual two-day analyst conference that is a combo of AR and Investor Relations (IR), the panel cautioned that it’s not a good idea to do a large mixed-analyst briefing for a new product or company initiative, especially with tier one analysts. One-on-one briefings are best. However, a large briefing of analysts from one firm can be a cost-effective way to communicate.

Similar to the way many of us set up our press relations, HP tiers their analysts. Level one analysts receive one-on-one briefings and more direct contact, while levels two and three are updated mainly through teleconferences. The panel also noted that because analysts know the market and the players, they can be used to bulletproof presentations, messages and to fine-tune company or product positioning. The AR department can help PR select the appropriate analysts for these types of briefings.

AR’s Biggest Challenge: The analyst landscape is constantly changing. With so many mergers and acquisitions, customer solutions are expanding, so there is a real need to balance corporate vs. technology messages to the analysts. One panelist mentioned, “...many don’t know where the industry is going, so we’re all hedging our bets with strategy/product solutions.”

Key Points to Remember: In AR, you can never rest on your laurels. AR is only one data point for the analysts to secure information about a company’s strategy, technologies or products. It takes hard work to continue to be viewed as an important and knowledgeable resource to the analysts and to reinforce your company’s mindshare and analyst relationships. Also, there must be a strong synergy between the AR/PR/IR functions, as all are important partners in the communications effort. It’s critical to keep everyone updated on goals, strategies, programs, and the competitive and internal issues that might impact the audience.

Friday, 14 April 2006

Who has the better CEO?

It is looking like Gartner has the upper hand when it comes to the CEO position. It is not that Forrester's George Colony, IDC's Kirk Campbell or AMR's Tony Frisca are not smart and capable. But Gartner's Gene Hall is smarter, tougher, more aggressive and making many of the right moves to accelerate Gartner's revenue growth and increase market influence. Even his benign neglect of the vendor client base makes sense, even if the vendors hate it.

The jury is still out on Yankee Group's new CEO Emily Nagle Green.

Wednesday, 12 April 2006

It's time to cut Rob Enderle some slack.

I never thought I'd say this. It's time to cut Rob Enderle some slack.

As his resume reminds us, Rob Enderle is one of the most referenced analysts (according to analysis of the US media by long-dead Kensington Group, whose data reflected his years with Giga). He will comment to the media on almost anything. He is the analyst industry's answer of the Hollywood star who turns up if she's invited to the opening of an envelope.

An article in 'The Register', Sun zinged by rent-a-quote analyst, mentions that Enderle is not only critical of Sun, but is also paid by Sun's competitors. The Register's premise is the idea that Enderle's comments are swayed against Sun because his customers include competitors of Sun. The article describes Enderle as a 'rent-a-quote' analyst: they feel Enderlie has been rented by Sun's competitors to be critical of that fim.

Here on the ARmadgeddon campus we take a neutral view towards Sun and its fortunes. We know that many of its customers have remained fans of the firm for good reasons. However, it's a bit like being a fan of the Seattle Seahawks. There are few victories that attract fairweather friends. Indeed, even rehirings are seen as a victory -- a sign that things are at least not as bad as they were recently.

It has to be admitted that you don't need to rent analysts to get them to criticize Sun. It's a technical and evangelical organization, facing an analyst community that is increasingly disinterested in technology - almost to the point of naïveté. Sun sells to tech-savvy companies more easily than most. Analysts increasingly dismiss strong technology as 'speeds and feeds', sometime for good reasons, sometimes for bad reasons

On the same Register web page was an advert for one of Sun's competitors. It seems unfair for 'The Register' to not judge others by its own standards. How can it assume that Enderle has been 'rented', when we are sure they they would say that they have not been. How come analysts' are corrupted by vendor money, in their view, when The Register is not?

Of course, these are ridiculous standards: analysts are able to comment on technology vendors partly because they are paid by multiple competitors, without being corrupted. Many analysts are paid by Sun's competitors -- and by Sun. The idea that are 'rented' simply by being consulted by these organizations is lazy and untrue.

If 'The Register' was to make these charges against a large analyst house, like Gartner, then lawyers would be involved right now. Rob and his partner don't have in-house legal staff, but they must surely be considering it.

P.S. The comments on this post have encouraged us to clarify our views. Our criticism is that The Register assumes that Enderle is biased against Sun because his clients include competitors of Sun. In our opinion, this is not the right basis on which to be critical of Enderle (Perhaps this is the right basis. We also point readers to the fourth comment here). Other analysts are also hired by Sun's competitors and, of course, The Register also has those firms as clients. In our opinion it is unfair, if not fatuous, for The Register to assume that Enderle is corrupted simply by these commercial links -- especially since The Register has the same links (and presumably feels that it is not biased by its advert revenue).

Fox News certainly is biased. However, the right does not need to pay Fox for it to criticize the left. Fox would do that for free. Similarly, Enderle does not need to be paid to criticize Sun: Enderle will do that for free.

The Register's article aims to discredit Enderle simply because of his commercial ties, and not because of the correctness or falsehood of his views. In our opinion, that is a red herring. It is also dangerous for analyst relations professionals. If analysts are discredited simply because their clients include vendors, then this will make it harder for both users and vendors. Like it or not, analysts are less biased than other sources. That is why businesses trust them. Analyst houses would be not more or less independent if they did not have vendors as clients: but they would be smaller, less economical, more expensive and less effective. That is is no-ones' interest. Specifically for AR professionals, The Register's baiting of analysts also obstructs our work. We want our colleagues to be less anxious towards analysts: The Register simply throws more trash into the sea of putrid cynicism.

Of course, this does not mean that Enderle is right with this -- or any -- comment he gets into the media. However, we do feel that any errors in analysts' views are as much despite close relationship with vendors as they are because of those relationships.

El Reg takes on The Economist and Rob Enderle

The Registers fires at pointblank on Rob Enderle on the allegation he's a "rent-a-quote analyst" paid by Sun's competitors:
Sun zinged by rent-a-quote analyst | The Register

The article contains some strong language, which seems to be a trademark of Ashlee Vance. But who pays HIM?

Beyond the apparent scandal, this raises again the issue of transparency in the analyst community.

See also:
The Governor, ancient Iraq and Gartner

Monday, 10 April 2006

AR 101 series: NDA's

Briefings under NDA are not only a recurring question for AR newbies but are also the source of ongoing debates among the AR community, see for instance the comments on this SVG post:



1. What is an NDA?
In industry analyst relations terms, it is used when vendors schedule an analyst for briefings containing information not publicly available. These briefings are commonly referred to as "under NDA", after the "Non Disclosure Agreement" analysts are kindly asked to sign. This agreement is prepared by our friends from the legal department and is a contract which simply aims at protecting the IP discussed during this briefing. As a contract, it needs to be signed by both parties to be binding. It also should have a specific timeframe during which the IP is under NDA and should delimit very clearly what is covered: products, strategy, offerings, competitive tactics, etc...
The term NDA is commonly used outside of AR, not only in the IT industry but also in general business. In the dark world of media relations, this is similar to an embargo, in that a date and time is before before which the information cannot be shared. As often with PR, it has a much more restricted meaning as it usually describes a one-way communication that should not be reported before the announcement date. Unlike an NDA, an embargo works on trust rather than legal force. Phil posted another definition here.


2. Why should I organise NDA briefings?

The simple answer is because both parties have an interest in doing so.

With NDA briefings, vendors can schedule briefings ahead of announcements and make sure air-miles-junkies get the news (old news is no news). Those briefings are also an opportunity to get feedback before releasing something into the wild, thus potentially avoiding big and costly mistakes or refining the messaging (see #8).

On the other side of the table, and as we mentioned here, analysts are interested first and foremost by future strategies and roadmaps. The essence of their job is analysing information they have gathered, so access to unpublished details is a differentiator for them.

NDA briefings also benefit users who are clients of both analysts and vendors: imagine a bank considering a new application and hiring an analyst to advise. You're about to launch a new release and the analyst is not briefed. You missed the sale because you were not on the short list. Now consider the case where the analyst was briefed under NDA: he can say something like "I think you should also go to vendor X and ask them a pitch on their upcoming product release". You may be considered for the RFP and have a chance to get the deal!


3. When should I do briefings under NDA?
Vendors should use NDA's wisely. If the whole marketplace is buzzing about an upcoming announcement, they may become a laughing stock when trying to enforce NDA which does not bring new news to the analyst.
On the political side of things, NDA briefings might also a good way for AR professionals to be covered in case of leaks (see #5 and 6).


4. What form should I use?
If you have a legal background, you should know. In any other case , go to your legal department or legal counsel. The form usually asks analysts not to talk or write about what was disclosed until a specific date. Make sure it's very specific on what is under NDA and until when. And always keep the required paperwork at hand.... (see also #7)


5. Do analysts break NDA's?
Analysts' existence largely depends on their reputation. If they are known to not abide by the rules of the game, they will quickly be excluded. On the corporations are ready to go to great length to avoid sensitive information to fall into public domain.
So it's no surprise if leaks are neither common nor widely publicised. It is often the case that analysts obtain information from other sources, like two well-known cases. It is more tricky to assess when analysts share something under NDA within their firm.
At the end of the day, it is a question of trust: only brief analysts that you have complete trust and resist pressures to extend your A list. Do give some though on the impact on your customers.


6. What can we do if an analyst don't observe an NDA?
The Apple Secrets case was a PR disaster and it's impossible to take back something that's published. Check your facts, make sure you clearly said it was under NDA. Then go to the analyst and ask some explanation. If inconclusive, ban the analyst and tell your peers. Keep in mind this is a one way avenue and that you won't easily recover this relationship. But the analyst should know too.


7. Should I always use a form?
No. Use the forms when the project discussed has very high sensitivity and exposure within your company to CYA. Most of the time, the form is there to inform the analyst -as we've seen in #6, there's little way to seek redress if things go pear shaped.
In most cases, analysts are pretty good with observing NDA's and it's a question to know which ones to trust or not.
However, be very careful to flag what is presented to analysts under a non-disclosure agreement, mark the sensitive slides as "VENDOR X INTERNAL USE ONLY" or similar injunctions. Orally, say it's under NDA several times. This also apply to customer references: if the customer and your account team did not explicitly approve for public consumption (make sure you have an email trail stating it), then release the story, the industry but not the name and say it's under NDA.


8. How do analysts react to NDA's?
Some perceive NDA as a signal that they are being admitted within a small trusted circle and react well! Others pretend to be offended because you don't trust them enough!

As with most things in business NDAs should not come as a surprise. Surprises are nice if you're a 10 and it's your birthday. Do let the analysts know when inviting them to a physical briefing that they'll be expected to sign an NDA. In the case of telephone briefings, do send them the form before, requiring they fax it back. Far too often AR people pass analysts NDAs, which basically forces the analyst to sign the NDA without reading it [which would mean the NDA would not stand up in a European court] or to delay the briefing until the NDA has been studied.

Some analysts refuse to sign NDAs because they feel NDAs prevent them from doing their work. Many also point out that NDAs are typically far too wide to be enforceable. To ease the concerns of these analysts, make sure dates and secrets are precisely stated and avoid blanket NDAs. Bear in mind that you're communicating information to help them do their job and broker it.

Some analysts will still refuse, claiming it's against their company policy (like the Gartner Borg). In many cases, Gartner has a blanket NDA with most large vendors, which can be okay. Do CYA with your legal department though.


9. An NDA briefing is not a consulting engagement
If you're after message testing and validation, then you should not expect analysts to deliver this for free. The temptation is great to call on their goodwill to get feedback but a line needs to be drawn somewhere. This will be the subject of a further AR 101 on briefings. Note that engagements under NDA are easier to police too.


Bottom line:
  • Vendors should use NDA with moderation, clearly delimit what is under NDA and what is not, specify a reasonable end date and resist abuse briefings to get feedback.
  • Analysts should not sign an NDA without specific date is mentioned or if products/offerings are not clearly marked out and be careful not to spill the beans.



  • Links:
  • Gartner analysts to no longer agree to non-disclosure agreements for briefings
  • AR 101 series: briefing analysts
  • Ovum breaks the iPod cellphone embargo?
  • Frank Gilroy, Entrepreneur: Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs)
  • Sacred Cow Dung: MYTH: NDAs are a Good Idea
  • Starting a Software Company: To NDA or not NDA
  • James Governor's MonkChips: On How To Brief Analysts what we are, and expect
  • The Devil's IT Dictionary: NDA
  • The Infamous EMC Storage Analyst Letter
  • IBM letter to a Isham Research
  • 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.

    Friday, 7 April 2006

    Borg Games

    The feedback gathered after the latest AR Club meeting in London is interesting. It shows a growing dissatisfaction with the Gartner/Borg commercial practices, value for money and processes. Long gone are the days where most parts of the marketplace were "balanced" thanks to the META techno-utopians and where vendors could implement effective "dual-vendor" policies.

    So it seems like the Borg is trying to sweat as much as possible from the resources they refer to as human by increasing analysts' billable time in several ways:

    • There's been ample discussion, including with the only Borg analyst who should be credited for having the guts to come and discuss on this blog, about the Vendor Police trying to limit briefings to 30 minutes. Some vendors mentioned that Gartner is trying to force clients to use inquiry time for briefings. By decellerating and obstructing the effectiveness of the briefing booking process, vendors who can afford it simply book lots of advisory calls to take the place of the one briefing they and the analyst would have prefered. Furthermore, Gartner now bullies clients to buy an advisory user seat for EVERY participant who wants to speak. This might be great for meeting sales quotes, but it wastes the analysts' time and frustrates our spokespeople.
    • Of course, some suspect the Borg want to monitor useage and divert inquiries to less busy analysts. Forcing briefings to be booked as advisory sessions increases all the usage ratios. It's even better if analysts who don't know very much are used: then one inquiry turns into three or four. That's a massive waste of everyone's time, but it makes all the rations looks great (apart from next year's renewal figure).
    • Others have commented that the vendor briefing process is painful and is slowing down, not only for having to go through the Vendor Police (and having to fill in a form even if an analyst has informally pencilled in an appointment) but also being told in some cases that "the analysts were not available". We suspect that the system diverts requests from busier analysts to slacker analysts, regardless of their relevance. Therefore briefing requests either get declined or are accepted by analysts who want to look busy.
    • The policy seems to be increasingly endorsed and enforced by sales teams.
    • It seems that Gartner is also trying to discourage the use of SAS days for speaking engagements with tactics such as charging for travel time or bundling-in hyperinflated expenses, in addition to having dramatically increased the price. This of course prompts the question of value for money: how many more attendees can a vendor achieve by putting Gartner (or IDC, Forrester, Yankee...) on the speakers list? Will the choice of analysts affect the conversion rates?
    • The expenses figure added on by Gartner really irritates us. It's a random variable that cannot be backed up. If Gartner was an accounting firm, a method like this would have Gene's perp walk on the front page of the Journal.
    • The logic is of course to squeeze the lemon by boosting analyst utilisation rates (Gene Hall used the words "increase leverage").
    • Gartner however have reportedly capped spending to 3% per vendor (which at the present going rate represents a nice $30 million, leaving plenty of progression margin for their largest accounts) and restricted the products offered to vendors (no white papers for instance -with possible exceptions in far flung geographies though?).

    ARmadgeddon recommendations: with the Gartner Borg having as much as 40-50% market share, the RAS marketplace is now heavily concentrated. Vendors should strive to balance their RAS portfolio. Unfortunately, other global players such as IDC or Forrester are a far cry under Gartner for product breadth and brand recognition while regional players such as Ovum still fail to achieve the brand recognition they deserver because of poor marketing. Gartner is also hard to match when it comes to user reach and influence. On the events side, the picture is more contrasted, as the Symposia are certainly the largest but maybe not the most relevant/insightful and certainly not the best ROI. Research quality is more subjective (or maybe not?)
    Vendors should therefore have a multi-sourcing policy and use the Borg in conjunction with independent analysts on a case by case basis. They should also look at developping other influencers (such as bloggers, academia, etc...)

    Links:

    Thursday, 6 April 2006

    This We'll Defend

    Thinking back over the last few days here at Forrester's GigaWorld conference, the most passionate conversations have been about Gartner.

    Every market leader gets a hard time, and Gartner is no exception. Perhaps it's a measure of how bad things are that the troubles people complained of last year are now seen as the good old days. At the AR Council last weekend, they should have shown Jarhead.

    If my account manager is like the rest, the performance of Gartner's sales function has been really affected by new policies. There's a move away from the global sales approach. I can see that Gartner has an interest in deepening its relationships with a second line of clients in organizations. Perhaps Gartner think that clients like us, who are centralizing our buying from the analysts, simply increase our power and make things harder for them. That's not our view. When our buying was fragmented, we wasted a lot of money. We used to by a lot of research, sometimes twice or three times over. We didn't have enough scale to buy more advisory seats and more time from analysts. It's only that higher quality that allows us to really show Gartner's quality inside the company. The new approach suggests that Gartner loses the ability to meet the needs of buyers outside the center if it's selling to a global buyer. As a result, it wants to break down the global sales approach.

    Decentralizing sales could allow Gartner to sell directly into business units, geographies and subsiduaries. That trend will probably be strongest in enterprises, where Gartner is pushing role-based views. Gartner seems to think that the only way that most of these specialized role-based managers will be able to experience the impact of the new role-based services is if they pay themselves, and that not all central research buyers will care about the new role-based services.

    Of course, decentralization will displease a lot of central research buyers. It also poses questions of how to consolidate invoices and orders globally, and of how then to target and bonus local sales staff.

    All of this fits with the wider context at Gartner. John Moroney had some interesting things to say about this last month, and Duncan's post gives a flavor of John's conference call. Gartner faces high production costs in its research business and a deep challenge in sales force management. Much of the market is uncovered by Gartner's sales force, who are often remote from key, under-penetrated, market segments.

    Whatever happens -- whether the sales strategy is shown to be successful or not -- it will have to be tested by Gartner and then reverted back from. After 2 or 3 years, either clients will have been convinced centrally of the value of these role-based services, or they will have been terminated. So, although the probable fate of Gartner's sales team is a partial break-up, over 3 years we expect we will see it swing back to centralization. It's the classic Gartner scenario of permanent change.

    Wednesday, 5 April 2006

    Analysts departing for vendors

    Lighthouse AR's Duncan Chapple had an interesting post that discussed analysts departing for vendor jobs Hyperion hires a second Gartner vice-president.

    What the firms should do is pretty straightforward. As soon as the analyst gives notice:

    • The firm should notify all relevant vendors
    • The analyst should decline participation in any already scheduled briefings
    What annoys many vendors is the situation that Duncan mentioned about an analyst doing a briefing a week before they departed, not that the analyst got a job at a vendor. This situation does illustrate the need for greater transparency by the firms in their business practices and standards of conduct. Perhaps Gartner, Forrester, IDC and the other firms should post on their websites what are their policies for departing analysts, conflicts of interest, stock investments by analysts and so on.

    Monday, 3 April 2006

    Forrester IT Forum/Gigaworld – Low Energy Kickoff

    Mike Gilpin’s conference welcome had all the pizzazz of the safety lecture on airlines. His pitch was way too casual and hokey, not crisp and professional. Mike had trouble with his slides and pointed it out – a problem that CEO George Colony had as well. Frankly, not a compelling way to kick off what should be an exciting conference.

    George Colony’s “Setting the Stage” presentation had a very déjà vu feeling to it. George started with a discussion about waves of technology since the 1960s and Moore’s Law. Unfortunately, this was very elemental information which anybody who has been reading the IT trade and business press would know. George also recycled the discussion around Innovation Networks, which were discussed extensively at last year’s Gigaworld and in published research before and since Gigaworld 2005. Not very new. As his big-bang ending, George suggested that the industry get rid of the term “IT.” Ok, perhaps this is new and exciting? Not really as Forrester published “The Death of IT” on January 1, 2000, even here George is recycling his firm’s old concepts.

    Following George’s presentation came a Microsoft commercial. They literally showed a Microsoft TV-style commercial as the lead in to the Microsoft “Premium Sponsor” speech by a Microsoft VP that was itself a commercial.

    If Forrester is going to compete with Gartner for industry mindshare, it has got to interject more energy and fresh ideas into its premier conference for IT managers.

    Pay to play, the PR way

    Interesting article in yesterday's Sunday Times: Catfight at the 'backscratch club'

    It details how a well connected PR "guru", Julia Hobsbawm, set up Editorial Intelligence (EI) and invites columnists to advise companies in return of a £1,000 pa fee and organises relationship events to make all those people connect. It doesn't get much closer to bribing...

    Of course, Hobsbawm claims that "We are not selling access to journalists. Nor are we asking journalists to write puff pieces for clients.” but one would be naive to imagine that a columnist would not return a call after a "Caribbean freebies".