Using five rights to avoid a wrong when it comes to purchasing Gartner or Forrester services

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You can minimize analyst firm price hikes by buying the right services from the right firms at the right price.  This post is the first entry in a series* that will discuss how buyers of industry analyst services can manage their analyst contracts and minimize the impact of price hikes on their budgets.

Since Gene Hall took over as Gartner’s CEO in August 2004, he has diligently worked to raise Gartner’s ASP (average selling price) by eliminating discounts, enterprise-wide agreements and competitors while instituting price hikes for legacy products and launching new premium services. Under the cover that Gartner offers, other firms – especially Forrester – have been raising their prices as well. While it is entirely the firms’ right to price their products as high as the market will bear, these price increases are putting a burden on clients’ budgets. As a consequence, IT managers and vendor market research buyers need to carefully evaluate their analyst services purchasing decisions to ensure that they are maximizing the return on their purchase.

There is the old saying in the US and perhaps elsewhere that “two wrongs do not make a right.” For this series, we are going to flip that saying around with the idea that “five rights avoid a wrong.” The right actions that analyst services buyers need to take are: 

  • Right reasons – Evaluate why you are purchasing analyst services
  • Right services – Align the services you buy to better match the reason for info or advice
  • Right firms – Search out alternative services providers that better match your reasons
  • Right price – Acquire those services that meet your basics requirements
  • Right usage – Drive usage of the services you buy to ensure maximize business value

The initial action that contract managers need to take now is to determine what is really happening with usage of the current contracted services from all firms.

SageCircle Technique

  • Review your contracts for exactly what you have purchased
  • Request from Gartner, Forrester and others a listing of all inquiries and research note downloads by individual seat holders. Request that the listing be provided in spreadsheet format to facilitate analysis.
  • Survey your analyst services seat holders to determine their knowledge of what is available, usage best practices, usage patterns, client service satisfaction and perceived value
  • Analyze the data gathered
    • Identify purchased services that are not being used (targets for cuts or reallocation)
    • Identify premium services only partially used (targets for downgrades to basic services)
    • Identify client satisfaction issues that might indicate this is not the right firm to use (targets for switching services to a different firm that might be less expensive)
    • Identify opportunities for seat holder training that will increase usage and value

* For more in-depth information, review of contracts and advice on maximizing their purchases, SageCircle Advisory clients can leverage their inquiry privileges to work with a strategist.

Bottom Line: Corporate IT managers, vendor AR and market research teams can no longer afford to conduct business as usual when it comes to buying or renewing analyst firm contracts. Buyers need to take a zero-based approach to ensure that they are buying the right services from the right firms at the right price. While there is a little work involved, IT managers and AR teams can make sure that their companies are getting full business value for what they are purchasing by taking this approach.

Question: Corporate IT managers – How are the price hikes by major firms impacting your decisions about purchasing analyst services? Vendors – Do you distinguish between the need for access to influence and the need for decision making information when deciding what you buy from which firm?

This post is one in a series on the SageCircle blog about how buyers of analysts service, whether enterprise IT or tech vendors, can ensure they are might the right purchasing decisions. For those analyst clients needing much more depth than what is in this blog series, please check out the SageCircle AR Wiki where you can find a lengthy thread of articles that provide more depth and breadth on this critical topic including checklists and tools.

  1. Using five rights to avoid a wrong when it comes to purchasing Gartner or Forrester services
  2. Right reasons – Evaluate why you are purchasing analyst services
  3. Right services – Align the services you buy to better match the reason for info or advice
  4. Right firms – Search out alternative services providers that better match your reasons
  5. Right price – Acquire those services that meet your basics requirements
  6. Right usage – Drive usage of the services you buy to ensure maximize business value
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