Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Sampling issues

When peddling their wares to analysts, vendors are often opposed an apparently unbeatable argument: the number of inquiries from users. We have seen Borg analysts using it in different ways, one being the small number of customer calls equates a slow of market acceptance.

There is apparently no come back -it's the A-bomb: Gartner is right because it has insight from its end-user client base.

However, this is somewhat simplistic and AR professionals should challenge analysts to explore the following avenues:

  • Customers can be calling for a number of reasons but more often than not when they have an issue. No problems, no calls. This means RAS analysts don't tend to hear from satisfied customers and may thus develop a tendency to paint a picture darker than reality.
  • The issues customers are calling about may be different than the analyst's assumptions, for instance they may be confused rather than not buying at all.
  • Finally Gartner's users customer base may be very different from a given vendor -they are less represented in SME's and Southern Europe for instance.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

The Borg recedes in Oz and turns into high-tech sausage factory

Duncan indicates here that Gartner is shutting down its consulting division in Asia Pacific.

This is after all little surprise, given the lack of focus (and understanding) shown by the Borg has shown for consulting (see links below). Consulting is lower margins and less repeatable than RAS (Research and Advisory Services) which can be produced once and sold many times. However, consulting was the fastest growing P&L item at META Group... Gartner's recent strategy is all about milking customers by increasing repeat business (hence the focus on customer satisfaction to drive up renewals) and creating "silo products" to sell the same research to users having different roles within a same corporate client. Call that milking or turning analysts into sausage factory workers.

What is odd is this quote found in one of the articles linked by good old Dunc:
"A Gartner Australia spokesperson said the closure of the consulting division was based on the company's lack of resources in a market littered by hundreds of competitors, including; Accenture, and IBM Global Services." (from Axe falls on Gartner's consulting division, Computerworld)

It is curious indeed to see what business they think they are in.


Monday, 14 May 2007

Will Informa compete with Gartner, or IDC?

The AR grapevine is red hot today. As ARcade explains in this post, Informa has bought Datamonitor for $1 billion. Dominic says the new firm will be larger than Forrester, but smaller than Gartner and IDC.

If, like me, you're not familiar with Informa, that's probably because its an English firm that's big in telecoms and media. It seems to be a research and events business with little - if any - advisory, consulting and community services. It's like the IDC business model, but on Yankee Group's beat.

Giving the timing of the deal, most of the comment on the purchase has been made in the UK, by technobabble, Analyst Equity and the Financial Times.

We're getting a lot of email in from readers to give us their take -- please join the crowd and tell us what you think. At first glance, it's not clear to our readers that the deal is mainly, or even partly, driven by the need to challenge Gartner. Datamonitor and Informa are both broader than technology, and Informa will mainly be interested in ways it can get some quick wins by extending into non-tech market segments.

Brought together, the tech and telecoms businesses now inside the Informa group look more like a competitor to IDC than to any other firm.

Let us know what you think. As always, email comments will be kept confidential.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Tony Friscia moves into analyst relations?

Jigsaw, the online business directory, now lists AMR Research founder Tony Friscia as working at Knowledge Capital Group.

He's busy. Yesterday Tony was elected onto the override study committee for the Brookline school system, which educates his girls. We think he could so the same job for KCG, but would he be comfortable west of the Hudson?