The last few days have been interesting regarding the layoffs at Gartner and AMR. Laying off workers (about 1% of analysts for Gartner so far), canceling unprofitable events (such as Spring Symposium), and so on are so typical for any company in this economic environment. In fact, more layoffs or other services cancelations would not be atypical.
However, what makes this situation more interesting is the role social media played in bringing the layoffs to the attention of stakeholders in the analyst ecosystem. In the past the analyst firms were able to get away with keeping layoffs under the radar screen because any one client, end user or vendor, would only discover “missing” analysts that they personally interacted with on a regular basis. This process of discovering missing analysts would also occur over days or weeks because few clients have frequent contacts with multiple analysts. When layoffs occurred under the radar nobody got the big picture about all the departures and put the pieces together.
Well, that approach ended on Friday. SageCircle became the hub for information about reports of layoffs and then fed that back to the AR community via Twitter, Facebook and our blog. Our raising the issue then got us more data points via Twitter and email. Very quickly we were able to ascertain that the departures were not just the usual turnover in the employee base, but job actions by AMR and Gartner affecting a number of analysts.
Certainly, Twitter and other social media have been used in other breaking news instances, including natural disasters or terrorist related. However, most members in the analyst ecosystem have been laggards when it comes to adopting social media. This might be the first case of Twitter, Facebook and an AR blog being used to cover breaking news in the analyst space. This is a very useful development because it adds a layer of transparency to the analyst firms that is helpful for end users, vendors, and other members of the community. It also signals a growing maturity in the business value of these social media techniques.
- Share what appears to be random data points (e.g., a single analyst’s departure) with the community, especially SageCircle
- Engage your AR team in use of social media to learn its capabilities
- Review the social media directories on the SageCircle blog to see if key analysts are listed
Bottom Line: Social media is changing how the analyst ecosystem works. One of the emerging trends is the increased transparency about major analyst firms’ activities that comes when people share information.
Question: Would you contribute tips if you knew your confidentiality would be maintained?