Commercially available systems – The ROI of an Analyst Relationship Management System (part two)

icon-tools.jpgThis is the second in a series of posts that will explore the resources required and the advantages gained in using a formal analyst relationship management (ARM) system.  In this post we look at some of the commercially available products.  Upcoming posts will suggest some best practices in using a system, and look at the values that can be obtained.  Your comments are encouraged. 

Where is your ARM?

Analyst Relations programs can use systems that are built in-house or use commercially-available software either on-site or hosted.  Significant factors in making the decision are the available IT support resources and the methods and resources you use to maintain the database.  Some teams have also expressed concerns about data privacy with hosted applications, but these concerns are effectively addressed by commercial providers with state-of-the-art security features.

If you do elect to create and maintain the database internally you will need to plan AR resources for ongoing research and maintenance Typical AR teams do not have available headcount to dedicate to constantly updating the analyst data.  Outside firms leverage their multiple clients to provide a researched, current, and accurate “public” database while maintaining information private to their clients in secured spaces.  When this database is hosted outside the corporate firewall its access is password protected with strong authentication. 

This list represents some of the available commercial options:

MS Office Tools

Some AR teams use spreadsheets, an access database, or a SharePoint site.  While these systems offer a place to store information they lack the analyst database and AR-specific tools.  A SharePoint solution may be customized to provide some level of team collaboration.

ACT Contact Manager

This contact management system is primarily software to be loaded onto a single computer, but premium versions allow networks of small teams or web access.  Designed for general contact management it lacks the analyst database and AR-specific tools. 

Salesforce.com

This hosted solution is not designed for analyst relationship management, but some AR teams use it.   While it can track activities, it lacks the pre-loaded analyst database and AR-specific tools.

Tekrati

This is not a complete ARM, but information that can be used as the basis for an in-house system.  By subscribing to the firms directory and analyst profiles a team can inexpensively obtain and maintain the basic public data needed to create an ARM.  They have dedicated staff for updating the analyst and firm directory and data is provided on-line with some simple download capabilities.  For individual AR practitioners or small teams this could be a choice.  The upside is simplicity and lower cost, the downside is the amount of effort needed to make it a real ARM with the needed tools and processes.

Lighthouse

Lighthouse is an AR advisory firm much like SageCircle, based in the UK.  They have recently promoted an on-line system called AR Intranet that provides a database, workflow tools, and a place to store content.  Their system is based on WebEx technology.

ARInsights

ARInsights is based in the US and markets Architect globally.  This is one of the oldest and largest of the analyst relationship management systems with a vendor maintained database, workflow tools, a place to store user content and a robust reporting functionality. ARinsights has dedicated staff for updating the analyst and firm directory. It is a hosted application that integrates well with Microsoft Office and can synchronize with Outlook.  ARchitect has received significant adoption. 

CRM systems

There are complete customer relationship management systems from companies such as Oracle, SAP, SAS, and so forth.  The cost of these is prohibitive for an AR team but if one is installed in your company you might have access to it.  These systems will not contain the analyst database and AR-specific tools and might be difficult to adapt to your needs.

Vocus

This system is designed for tracking public relations and may already be in use by your PR organization.  It contains a PR database and tools oriented to PR, but it has some AR components. We know of a few AR teams using it mostly because of cost.  As with them you may be able to get it funded by PR if your own resources are not available.   

Regardless of the company, product, or process you use it is important to have a system that is flexible to your needs and easy to use.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Assemble a requirements list based on the size of your team and available resources
  • Get a demo of potential systems
  • Obtain and check customer references
  • Solicit input from your peers

Question:  AR Teams – How did you go about selecting an ARM?

This post is part of a series about building the strong ARM (analyst relationship management applications) of AR.

  1. Definition and basic characteristics – The ROI of ARM (part one)
  2. Commercially available systems – The ROI of an ARM (part two)
  3. Getting value out requires putting effort in – The ROI of an ARM (part three)
  4. The value to team collaboration – The ROI of an ARM (part four)
  5. Metrics for success – The ROI of an ARM (part five)
  6. The overall ROI – The ROI of an ARM (part six)

Take your AR program to the next level?  SageCircle can help

  • Create a program of metrics to measure your success
  • Conduct executive briefings on the impact of the analysts
  • Provide specific spokesperson training tuned to analyst relations

Visit www.sagecircle.com to learn more about SageCircle’s services. Or, call 650-274-8309 to speak with a representative about how SageCircle can help you take your AR program to the next level.

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