Friday, 19 January 2007

ReForming Dynamics

We heard that Jon Collins (aka Jono, ex. IDC, ex. Quocirca, ex. Bloor, ex. MWD) just joined the Viles into FreeForm Dynamic, a firm that itself is an emanation of Quocirca. He's not the only one with itchy feet but, pfew, tracking analysts is a job in itself! When he's not busy changing jobs, Jon writes books: on music, more music or gardening.

Freeform Dynamics has now four analysts after Martin Atherton joined from the Datamonibores: Dale Vile, David Perry, Martin and Jon. Not to forget Helen Vile running the operations. They pretty much offer what Quocirca does (what goes around comes around): primary research, speaking engagement and white papers. They also publish research on their web site, covering about all the ICT segments: Communication and Collaboration, Infrastructure Optimisation, Customer Relationship Management and Resourcing and Outsourcing.

Read also:

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

AR 101 Series: Don't use a sales presentation with analysts

Most AR managers review a number of presentations each month, typically in conference calls or meetings with spokespeople. First-time critiques often result in recommendations for significant revisions because best practices for constructing the typical sales or marketing presentation do not produce the best flow or information content required for an effective analyst briefing. Unfortunately, when a sales presentation is used with an analyst, it frequently results in a negative perception of the company and its solutions by the analyst.

Some of the common errors are listed below.

  • Starting with the solution rather than the problem. The best sales approach starts by showing the value of solving a problem. However, analysts often complain that vendors spend too much time setting up the scene and giving background, and too little time explaining what the solution actually does.
  • Using the vendor's vocabulary, rather than the analyst's framework. Analysts work in models, so spokespeople need to gear each presentation to the analyst's model, rather than a generic sales presentation of the solution.
  • If the analyst follows a narrower segment than your solution, then match your comments to their narrow focus. If you speak to a broad sales deck, analysts will go negative -- either they will assume you can't target the right analysts, or they will think you don't know what they focus on.
  • Don't follow a script. Analysts want to feel vendors are open with them. Following the sales slides deck closely makes analysts feel that you are not confident speaking on other topics, and makes them feel that you are controlling the conversation too tightly.
What's the alternative? Focus on intended results and incorporate your understanding of the analysts and the workings of the industry analyst marketplace when preparing an analyst presentation, especially when confronted with a stubborn spokesperson who resists your suggestions for building an effective “deck.

Thursday, 4 January 2007

Analyst Impartiality Questionned by NYT and the Motley Fool

A kind reader brought this article from The Fool to our attention: The Other Analyst Scam.

It links to an interesting article by Ashlee Vance from El Reg about the New York Times banning Rob Enderle from commenting in their pages after they got a complaint about a conflict of interest. The interesting point is is that while the NYT was having a go at poor old Rob they continued to use Gartner, IDC, Jupiter, Yankee and ABI! Incidently, it is quite ironical for the NYT to feel being in a position to patronise analysts about integrity...

As per one a comment on one of our posts, journalists should D.O. T.H.E.I.R. R.E.S.E.A.R.C.H. and check their sources before quoting analysts. They should also not quote any random number (but that would suppose they would have some understanding of market sizing methodologies -sigh).

The Motley Fool article insists on this point: market numbers are produced by firms (such as IDC, Gartner, etc...) whose business model depends on IT Vendors.

ARmadgeddon's take:

  • Industry analysts will increasingly be pressurised to disclose who pays them and should be careful before returning favours in the shape of press quotes. In other words, transparency will condition their reputation and thus existence.
  • AR Managers should not push analysts to provide blatant endorsement as they too often backfire. They should also use analyst quotes in press releases with caution.
  • Journalists should do their homework. Like figuring out that a one-man-shop has little or no peer reviews and its coverage will follow more closely vendor briefings than their own research agendas. But maybe that's too much asking?
  • Incidently, this also pressurises the Borg to review the disclosure rules and department separation of their Gartner Invest service following vendor concern.


Previous posts:

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Taxonomizing Open Source Analysis

James McGovern kicked-off the idea in this post where he suggests large enterprises only use large analyst firms as part of their ongoing efforts to curb the number of suppliers and because they simply don't know who the independent analysts are:

So if marketing and size are not being the only reasons for the Borg Empire Domination, what then can be done? There's been talks of a Federation but not much happened...

James came up with a simple (and thus great) idea: a wiki cataloguing Open Source Analysts. Duncan details it in this post and provides the link to the wiki:

This looks like a great idea, but there's a but: it will only work with active participation...

However, wikis could be viable as the main delivery mechanism for open source research notes or a way to organise research: end-user clients often cite the main reason for using Gartner is that it provides a one-stop-shop for research covering most IT and business topics. On the other hand, blogs are tedious to read and are not well/consistently archived/indexed/tagged. We thought ITD was going to be an answer but it does not seem to be gaining much commercial momentum (read Have you seen my plan, my plan, my plan?).

Take it as a call to the Open Source Analyst community: it should organise itself to provide a single-source (research) distribution (channel). The idea is not new and implies agreeing on a taxonomy, possibly working together on research pieces, vetting in/out members, etc... . The payback would be a body of research easily accessible that could have the potential to impact the whole industry and drive end-users and vendors to using indepent analysts. Think of a Wikipedia for IT Analysis, free of the Borg Dogmas.

Read also this post for more links on Open Source Analysis: