GigaOM launches new virtual analyst network to distribute analyst research

GigaOM (see below for background on GigaOM) announced (click here and here to read the announcements) on Thursday May 28, the launch of GigaOM Pro. This new service is a virtual analyst network that will make available analyst research reports on a subscription basis. This report is based on a briefing for SageCircle by GigaOM VP of Research Michael Wolf in advance of the launch and subsequent research.

Logo - GigaOM Pro 

The new network is focused on research publishing and will not be selling retainer advisory or consulting services. If a subscriber likes the research from a particular analyst contributor they are free to contact the analyst and arrange for additional services directly from the analyst or boutique firm. 

The GigaOM analyst network will consist of analyst boutique firms and single practitioners. There is a large pool of analysts that fit that description, many of whom started in the analyst business working for one or more of the larger firms or a management consulting firm. The number of single practitioners has gone up in 2009 as many analysts laid off by existing firms have decided to launch their own practice. At the time of launch the GigaOM Pro network will consist of ten contributors with plans to add more. The lineup in the GigaOM Analyst Network:

  • Dixon, Colin – TDG (IPTV, Online video)
  • Gilbert, George – TechAlpha (IT infrastructure)
  • Greeson, Michael – TDG (broadband)
  • Happe, Rachel – The Community Roundtable (social media and enterprise applications)
  • Hawley, Steve – tvstrategies (television)
  • Hendrix, Phil – Institute for Mobile Markets Research (mobile)
  • Sharma, Chetan –Sharma Consulting (mobile)
  • Tarczon, Andy – TDG (mobile)
  • Urbanski, Juergen – TechAlpha (IT infrastructure)
  • Wheelock, Clint – Pike Research (cleantech)

In terms of market coverage, GigaOM Pro will launch with four domains:

  1. IT infrastructure and cloud computing
  2. Mobile computing
  3. Consumer technology
  4. Clean technology

The goal is not to compete with the existing large analyst firms like Forrester, Gartner or IDC. Rather, GigaOM is looking to create an alternative distribution model that offers a continuing stream of research reports from a portfolio of analysts at a reasonable price, initially under $100 for an annual subscription. The play is to be a market expander by seeking out a huge potential market that the current analyst firms cannot reach with their business models. This could actually help the major firms in the long run by educating potential buyers at larger enterprises – a market that is still significantly under penetrated even by Gartner and Forrester – about the value of accessing professional analyst research.

GigaOM Pro enters part of a market that includes research resellers (e,g., MarketResearch.com, MindBranch and Research and Markets), specialized research search engines (e.g., All the Analysts) and value-added research directories (e.g., Northern Light Analyst Direct). However, GigaOM Pro is different from all these other players in that it actively works with its selected analysts, exercising editorial oversight and final approval. It then owns the intellectual property that it distributes to its subscribers. To a certain extent, this is a model similar to magazines that publish long form articles and essays like The Atlantic, New Yorker, and New York Times Magazine. These magazines have a portfolio of independent contributors that can spend months researching and writing a commissioned piece producing articles of significant impact.

What makes this new venture particularly interesting is its ability to promote this virtual analyst network to the three million unique visitors to the GigaOM network of sites each month. One of the challenges for single analysts and boutiques is how to generate sufficient awareness in the marketplace about their research and offerings. If GigaOM Pro effectively leverages the potential market visibility of the GigaOM blogs this could generate a significant client base willing to spend a modest amount of money to access smart research and commentary.

GigaOM Pro has different implications for different communities within the analyst ecosystem.

Research Consumers (enterprise or vendors) For a fraction of the cost of even a single report from a major firm, research consumers can gain access to a stream of vetted research reports. This makes accessing analyst research much more practical for startups, small and mid-size businesses, and departments at large enterprises that are priced out of the typical analyst offerings. For large enterprises that do buy from firms like Gartner and Forrester, this virtual network will provide a useful complement to the large firms’ research by providing cost effective access to “second opinions.”

Vendor Analyst Relations Because the GigaOM Pro network has the opportunity to increase the visibility of single practitioners and boutiques, AR programs will likely see this new venture as a mixed blessing. On one hand, it will potentially increase the AR workload by making a group of analysts more relevant. On the other hand, most vendors SageCircle talks to wish there was more competition to the Big Two (e.g., Gartner and Forrester).

Single Practitioner Analysts and Boutique Analyst Firms GigaOM Pro could be a real game changer for small firms and individual analysts. The promotion through the GigaOM network of sites could dramatically increase their visibility leading to an increase in lead generation. However, to fully exploit the opportunity the participating analysts will need to shore up what is typically another weakness, the sales function or lack thereof. Participating firms will need to either invest in organic sales capabilities or ally themselves with a sales broker like Valley View Ventures to achieve full value from an association with GigaOM Pro.

SageCircle Technique:

  • All members of the analyst ecosystem should seriously evaluate the potential for GigaOM Pro to expand the market for analyst research

If you would like to speak to a SageCircle strategist about the implications of GigaOM Pro for your company, please contact us at 503-636-1500 or email “info [at] sagecircle dot com” with GigaOM in the subject line.

Bottom Line: While interesting, GigaOM Pro will not be a market disrupter of the analyst industry like Craigslist was of the newspaper industry. Rather, this virtual analyst network could be a complementary offering to the established traditional firms, potentially increasing the addressable market for IT analyst research and raising the visibility of some analysts.

Question: Research consumers – Do you currently buy from resellers and what has been the value of purchasing one-off reports?

From the GigaOM website: “The GigaOM Network of sites provides one of the leading daily online news reads for the key influencers in the emerging technology market place. We deliver technology news, analysis and opinions on topics ranging from broadband and online games to Web 2.0. Founded in 2006, we now serve a monthly global audience of 1.75 million consumers and professionals interested in the latest news in the world of high-tech.”

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4 Responses

  1. No doubt there is a HUGE under-served market out there for affordable, high-quality research.

    I always applaud when new and innovative ideas are tried in the marketplace, and just as Forrester’s move to “role-based” research was innovative and changed some thinking and market approaches, I think the GigaOM Pro network has potential to do the same. Did Om just “out-Forrester” Forrester here?

    Mike Wolf is very smart and I am pleasantly surprised to see him leading this effort. I hope the “volume” business model will succeed.

    The real proof here will be in the quality of the analysis and research reports. Is the insight providing a new perspective or new market insight? Only time will tell, but IMHO this will be the biggest single success factor for the GOP (that’s GigaOM Pro, not the Republican party, mind you) network.

    Existing research users will need to evaluate whether there is insight that they are not getting from their existing research subscriptions in the specified areas. Some vendors will want and need to ascertain the potential market influence of the GOP analysts and whether they can affect sales deals.

    Best of luck, Om, Mike and colleagues!

    Cheers,
    Gerry

    • One of the pleasures of working in this business for as long as I have (10 years sure seems like a long time!) is getting to know folks on the AR side. Gerry VZ – I can remember going to your Intel AR events in Oregon!

      Thanks for the well wishes. We’ll try and keep everyone apprised of our progress as we try to shape a new model for paid content for sites such as gigaom.com

      Mike

  2. Copied from Twitter. Michael Gartenberg http://www.twitter.com/Gartenberg

    most of the analysis seems pretty superficial and lacking data to prove assertions. Not sure there’s a model long term.

    7:17 AM May 28th from Twitterrific in reply to carterlusher

  3. [...] I expect that this network will continue to expand with more analysts, and perhaps some Tier 2 and 3 firms & recognizable specialists who are looking to democratize and expand the audience and distribution for their research.  You can check out SageCircle’s take on it here.  [...]

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