Saturday 17 December 2005

Ahmed Argues Against ARmadgeddon

Ahmed Siddiqui has written in self-defense against our earlier post:

As someone who has worked as an analyst at senior level (and who knows many other senior level analysts intimately), I reiterate and clarify: the source of most analyst opinion and data is from market sizing and developing case studies of clients, vendors and markets. How this is actually used is secondary to your own original point. It can go into published work or can form the basis of the credibility and trust used to win consulting work. Any analyst who cannot understand the market sizing process or create case studies- whether it be for a report, building an RFP for a client, or advising on vendor capabilities- isn't worth his/her salt. Market sizing and developing case studies is pretty much must of what analysts do. And as my posts says, the AR function is still important for this, just as it is for the bigticket consulting work.

I would love to hear readers' comments on Ahmed's opinion. Personally, I am baffled by it. Ahmed worked for Datamonitor's London headquarters, and his account makes me think that most of his time was spent sizing markets and writing case studies. I understand that as individuals, we primarily judge the world on our own experience of it. However, it seems to me to be self-evident that most analysts outside Datamonitor are not spending most of their time sizing markets and writing case studies. Market sizing is an activity primarily conducted by vendor-facing analyst firms, or by specialist teams like Dataquest. Many analysts are looking at the features and benefits of solutions, rather than the market shares of vendors.

Ahmed knows many analysts, as he points out. However, his fresh face compares favorably to my wrinkles. I deeply believe that I have met, and worked, with many, many more over the years [and years]. Very few are focussed on market sizing, outside IDC and Dataquest. As for case studies: how many analysts send more than a day a month working on them?

The gap in our viewpoints astonishes me. I appreciate that analysts are more quantitative in Europe, but are the differences so deep that mosts analysts there are engaged in such highly structured, and easily offshored, work? Can anyone think of a good reason why our views are so distant?


Anonymous said...

From *my* analyst experince I can attest that Gartner analysts at least spend very little time in market sizing and case studies. You and other's have completley and acurately charactized what I believe most analysts do. That is : customer facing interactions.

Dataquest was the market-sizing arm of Gartner.

Stiennon ( I know no analysts, senior or otherwise "intimately" :-)

Unknown said...

I don't want to encourage this quabble, but I have to agree with Richard. My experience as an analyst, and as an AR advisor, has been that market sizing and case study writing takes up much less than ten percent of analysts' time at most firms. In fact, I have some nice data about this. I'll see if I can make it up into a chart...

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see that chart Duncan, it would be both interesting and useful.

Good to meet you the other week, by the way.

Anonymous said...

I was on the vendor side, but was very friendly with manay analyst and had frank discussions with many.

Some Dataquest analysts were very scientific, and produced estimates that were probably as close as anyone ever could get.

IDC I thought was too loosey-goosey and believed what vendors told them, particularly in markets with non-public companies.

EMEA is no better than the US.

Also, vertical markets were the most absurd, and almost no vendors can quantify their sales my market.

Unknown said...

I've posted the chart I mentioned at

Anonymous said...

As an ex-META analyst, I spent almost zero time writing client studies or guestimating market size (and only when a [typically small vendor] client really, really pushed me plus swore in blood, on their first-born's life, to acknowledge that it was a guess)

Horses for courses, methinks (or possibly fee for comment)