Gartner acquires AMR Research – roundup of posts

SageCircle has published a number of posts concerning the acquisition of AMR Research by Gartner, Inc. This blog post will be a convenient go-to place for a roundup of other SageCircle articles. The posts are listed in reverse chronological order.

In addition to this public information, SageCircle Advisory and Online SageContent Library received a SageFlash with deeper analysis and more recommendations. Furthermore, many clients used the event as the trigger for an inquiry with a SageCircle strategist to discuss the implication of AMR being swallowed up by Gartner.

  1. Highly recommended – Participating in the Gartner Quarterly AR Call on January 7, 2010
  2. Ovum ups the ante in campaign to recruit AMR analysts and sales representatives
  3. Analyst departures start at AMR Research
  4. Questions from the SageCircle webinar on Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research
  5. Special offers for AMR Research’s clients, sales professionals and analysts
  6. Announcing the SageCircle free webinar on Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research
  7. Gartner Acquiries AMR Research for $64m

Replay of the webinar “SageCircle Analysis of Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research” is now available. To receive a link and password to watch a streaming version of the webinar please email “info [at] sagecircle [dot] com”. Please include your job title and company name. Agenda:

  • Basics of the deal
  • SageCircle Analysis of AMR’s and Gartner’s Motivation
  • Highlights from Gartner AR Community Call
  • Commentary on Points from Gartner AR Community Call
  • Recommendations for Research Clients
    • Enterprise
    • Vendors
  • Recommendations for Vendor AR Teams

What should you do if one your top ranked analyst firms is involved in a merger & acquisition event?

SageCircle is your hotline for breaking analyst newsM&A will be part of the analyst ecosystem in 2010 and beyond. Whenever there is a significant event in the analyst market, SageCircle clients receive an immediate SageFlash with analyis and recommendations on the steps research consumers and AR should do. In addition, Advisory clients can schedule a phone-based inquiry to discuss how to apply these steps to their particular situation. We can do individual calls as well as a teleconference for an enterprise’s or vendor’s entire team.
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Non-clients can quickly and easily sign up for a two-hour Advisory Hour Block for only $495. Please give SageCircle a call at 503-636-1500 if you want to discuss the implications of this layoff.

The evolution of the IT analyst industry – a fireside chat

Focusing on the IT analyst business, its beginnings and weaknesses in the original model bringing technology and business together over the course of the last 20 years.

Panelists: Jonathan Yarmis with Gideon Gartner and Carter Lusher

Click here or on the graphic to play the video

Analyst departures start at AMR Research

12/10/09 9:35 am PT – Initial post

SageCircle received a credible tip and subsequently confirmed that AMR Research VP Lora Cecere, who managed a team of analysts on how to drive greater value from the supply chain, is leaving AMR. At this point we do not know the circumstances, e.g., whether Lora left voluntarily or was part of a downsizing due to Gartner’s acquisition. SageCircle had received reports that Lora was one of AMR’s top producers. Lora had been at Gartner from 2000-02.

This comes in wake of the Gartner SVP of Research Peter Sondergaard’s announcement that all analysts had been given offer letters to stay with the new AMR. This could be the case of an analyst deciding not to join the new firm or AMR doing some downsizing prior to the official takeover by Gartner to spare the new owners the task of laying off analysts they said they would retain.

If you have tips about analysts who are leaving AMR Research or related research areas at Gartner, please send them to “info [at] sagecircle [dot] com” and we will confirm them before posting them.

Replay of the webinar “SageCircle Analysis of Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research” is now available. To receive a link Continue reading

2009 the year that was in the analyst ecosystem

2009 was interesting to say the least when it came to the analyst ecosystem and the analyst relations (AR) community. Now is good time to step back and do a quick review of what happened in 2009 to prepare for looking ahead to 2010. Luckily for us, we have a lot of content to draw upon as SageCircle has become the definitive source of analyst ecosystem news and commentary. In 2009 we published over 250 blog posts with over 1,000 comments. Many of the blog posts started with information from the community, both analysts and AR, with almost all the comments coming from the community. 

People are still very interested in the analysts – SageCircle’s blog gets about 25,000 unique visitors per month, which is pretty good for such a narrowly-focused blog. However, we always get a huge spike in readership whenever there is news about the analyst firms (e.g., layoffs and M&A). News related posts are also the ones that typically get the most comments, links, and tweets. 

The recession has been brutal, but not fatal for firms – Early 2009 was very tough for analyst firms with layoffs by at least 13 firms, cancelation of events, and plummeting consulting revenues. However, unlike the last recession, there have not been any prominent firms that went out of business. We checked the SageCircle newsletters from the previous tech recession (roughly 2001-03) and every month we were reporting on the shuttering of some analyst firm. That has not been the case this time around. In addition, the second half of 2009 has seen reports of firms starting to see improved revenues and event attendance starting to recover.

Social media’s adoption by the analyst ecosystem has been expanding, but lumpy – The number of analysts and AR professionals on Twitter has more than doubled in the last year – but that does not mean that Continue reading

ZL Technologies files amended complaint against Gartner

This information was provided originally as a comment to an existing blog post. It is being promoted to a full blog post to ensure that the news receives proper attention.

ZLTI v Gartner in logos

Tip o’ the hat to Rob Elliott of ZL Technologies for this update…

On December 4, 2009, ZL Technologies filed an amended complaint against Gartner, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The Court granted ZL the opportunity to clarify and augment our earlier allegations of defamation and trade libel.

In the first round of ZL’s legal dispute with Gartner, Gartner argued to the Court that its rankings and other statements in the proprietary “Magic Quadrant Reports” are merely opinions that are not based upon fact, and that they are understood as such by the readers of those reports. However, Gartner’s Continue reading

What Forrester Research’s acquisition of Strategic Oxygen says about Forrester

logo-forrester.gifOn December 1, 2009, Forrester Research announced the acquisition of Strategic Oxygen from Monitor. Strategic Oxygen provides marketing professionals with data to help target marketing campaigns more effectively. While of interest to Technology Product Management & Marketing Professionals, it will be a separately-priced offering and not included in that RoleView. 

This acquisition is of little interest to analyst relations (AR) teams as Strategic Oxygen does not track IT or telecommunications markets nor does it advise enterprise technology buyers on products from vendors like Accenture, Cisco, IBM, or SAP.

In a case of bad luck from a publicity point-of-view, Forrester announced the acquisition on the same day that Gartner acquired AMR Research. The Gartner acquisition overshadowed the Forrester announcement, but that does not mean that Forrester’s M&A move is less significant. Rather, it provides important insights into Forrester’s strategy.

The first insight is that M&A continues to be an ongoing tool for Forrester even though it has been quiet on that front since the JupiterResearch acquisition in July 2008. Forrester is sitting on approximately a quarter-billion in cash, cash equivalents, and short term investments. It also generates very good cash flow from operations so it definitely has the resources for an aggressive M&A strategy. Forrester simply takes a conservative approach to M&A to ensure a high level of success.

The second insight is that Forrester continues to look beyond the IT organization. Forrester did not have a significant presence in the IT organization prior to closing its acquisition of Giga in early 2003. The Giga acquisition gave it a substantial footprint in the IT organization, likely making it the number two end user advisory firm after Gartner. While Forrester’s end-user clients provide a steady revenue stream, it has done its recent primary investment in expanding its Continue reading

Special offers for AMR Research’s clients, sales professionals and analysts

Not surprisingly, the acquisition of AMR Research by Gartner is inspiring other analyst firms to launch campaigns to capture AMR clients, sales team members, and even analysts. 

Two firms that have already announced client switch campaigns include Ovum (see here) and Ventana Research (click here). For research consumers who are looking for market and product/services insights and advice, rather than access to a firm for influencing purposes, this could be an opportunity to purchase access to analysts at a very competitive rate. At a minimum, enterprises and vendors with AMR contracts coming up for renewal should talk to Ovum and Ventana, if these firms have research relevant to you.

Ovum is also interested in talking with AMR analysts and sales representatives. For more information, please contact Rosemary Masterson (email).

Any analyst firm with special deals for AMR or Gartner clients, sales representatives, or analysts should notify SageCircle at Continue reading

Announcing the SageCircle free webinar on Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research

seminar.jpg

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Replay of this webinar is now available. To receive a link and password to watch a streaming version of the webinar please email “info [at] sagecircle [dot] com”. Please include your job title and company name. Agenda:

  • Basics of the deal
  • SageCircle Analysis of AMR’s and Gartner’s Motivation
  • Highlights from Gartner AR Community Call
  • Commentary on Points from Gartner AR Community Call
  • Recommendations for Research Clients
    • Enterprise
    • Vendors
  • Recommendations for Vendor AR Teams

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Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research is very interesting for a number of reasons, but it also raises a number of critical questions. To complement our blog post (click here) on the acquisition, SageCircle is offering a free webinar to expand our analysis as well as suggestions for how clients of either firm as well as vendor AR teams should respond.  Following our short presentation we will have ample time for questions. 

Our webinar is at 10 am US PT on Thursday, December 3rd (click here to register). Please feel free to forward this invitation to your colleagues.

Not by coincidence, we scheduled our webinar after Gartner’s AR Community Call, which is this Thursday, the 3rd, at 7:30 am US PT. You can register here, which we recommend you do.

This means during our webinar we will also discuss what Gartner said in its AR Community Call and how it might differ from our analysis.

SageCircle Advisory clients are encouraged to Continue reading

Gartner Acquiries AMR Research for $64m

12/1/09 7:01 am PT – Initial post. Analysis to follow.

12/1/09 11:38 am PT – Analysis added

12/2/09 7:00 am PT – Free SageCircle webinar on acquisition

Replay of the webinar “SageCircle Analysis of Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research” is now available. To receive a link and password to watch a streaming version of the webinar please email “info [at] sagecircle [dot] com”. Please include your job title and company name

Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research for $64m, approximately 1.5x revenues, is interesting in that it does not seem to fit neatly into any one of these rationales: 

  1. Additive to expand research coverage, consulting, events and other services
  2. Acquire client base
  3. Acquire sales representatives
  4. Take out direct competition to improve pricing power
  5. Prevent competition from grabbing an asset that would be used against Gartner

First:

Approximately 75% of AMR’s enterprise clients were in manufacturing/supply chain which is not consistent with Gartner’s core CIO organization. Gartner CEO Gene Hall has doubled down on IT since taking over in 2004 and eliminated non-IT focused business such as Vision Events. So does this represent a change in strategy? Perhaps the Datamonitor-Ovum strategy of going after both business and IT leaders has caused Hall to modify his approach?

AMR is primarily focused on ERP/enterprise applications, manufacturing, supply chain, retail, and sourcing. While Gartner does have some overlap, it is very uneven from one area to another. While Gartner does have a manufacturing vertical, the number of analysts is small, only seven. Furthermore, Gartner does not have brand equity in the manufacturing space so acquiring AMR manufacturing assets makes sense. Gartner’s retail analysts number just six so combining those with AMR’s analysts also makes sense. However, AMR has lost one of its top retail analysts, Janet Sherlock, just this week. Sourcing is an area that is one of Gartner’s strengths with 40 analysts listed in that space. AMR’s sourcing research took a huge blow when Phil Fersht left in late September so that particular area might not be of interest to Gartner. ERP and supply chain are grouped together at Gartner with 27 analysts. While Gartner has a strong reputation in enterprise applications, including ERP, it has less of a brand in supply chain so combining AMR supply research would be logical.

AMR’s event business is tiny in comparison to Gartner’s with only two or three targeted events per year with approximately 500 to 700 attendees each. Even if Gartner wanted to expand into other types of enterprise clients, it would not have to buy AMR to launch these types of events.

Enhancing Gartner’s advisory/consulting assets might be a possible motivation. As published research becomes more and more commoditized, enterprise clients turn to analyst firms for personalized advice and targeted consulting. Gartner has kept its analyst team relatively constant at 650 even as it has more than doubled the sales force to 952 since late 2004 (according to Continue reading

Analyst Ecosystem Update

Icon - newsGeneral News

Analyst Twitter Directory – On November 5 and 7, SageCircle added a total 70 analysts to the directory and changed the entries of seven.

Forrester Research has released its 10Q for 3rd Quarter 2009. There will be an analysis by SageCircle on Monday, November 9th.

People on the Move

CMS Watch – Apoorv Durga (Twitter, blog) joined covering portals and content management.

Forrester – Natalie Lambert (Twitter) departs to Continue reading

HENRY Corporation launches – Represents former senior IDC EMEA analysts

Logo - Henry CorporationHere is an interesting announcement concerning the launch of a new ICT market research and marketing services firm that brings together former senior IDC analysts who were caught in IDG’s right-sizing exercise. A few points about the HENRY Corporation:

  • Each analyst is also an independent practitioner, some with a firm name and some under their name
  • With the exception of Martin Hingley (Twitter,  blog), most of the Fellows are not active users of social media
  • With the exception of Simone de Bruin’s LinkedResearch website and to a lesser extent Hingley’s blog, none of the other Fellows have a formal web presence

SageCircle’s initial impression is that HENRY Corporation will be the marketing function as well as sales organization for this group of former IDC senior analysts. As such it will be somewhat more involved with its portfolio of analysts than Valley View Ventures, which acts simply as a sales agent for its associated analysts and boutiques.

Below is a blog post by Hingley on the launch, followed by the official announcement.

Overview from Martin Hingley, one of the original HENRY Fellows:

The Henry Corporation Brings Familiar Experts Back To Support The ITC Industry

What happens when a major market research organization off-loads most of its senior analysts in EMEA? I’m sure it does its best to run its services with newer researchers. However many industry execs will miss the quality of support, ideas and advice that they once had. In the case of my old company some familiar faces, now independent, are also as eager as ever to Continue reading

Gartner Q3 2009 earnings

This analysis does not look at areas of interest to investors, but seeks to pull out insights that are relevant to clients and prospects of the “Big Two” advisory analyst firms as well as communications and IT vendor analyst relations (AR) teams.  

logo-gartner.gifGartner, Inc. (NYSE:IT) announced its Q3 2009 earnings on October 30, 2009. See the end of this blog post for a summary and link to the press release.

In general Gartner’s results were much as expected at this point in a recession. All the key statistics were down year-over-year, but improved (i.e., less bad) quarter-to-quarter sequentially. All statistics are year-over-year and are FX neutral unless noted.

  • Overall revenues: $267.5m, down 7%.
  • Research: $187.7m, down 4%.
  • Events: $16m, down 6%.
  • Consulting: $65.7m, down 16%.

Demonstrating that a well-managed advisory analyst firm can be a cash machine, Gartner generated $55.1m in cash in Q3, only a half-million below Q3 2008. For the full year, Gartner raised its guidance on cash flow to $125m to $135m. Cash and equivalents at the end Q3 2009 was $113m, down from $141m at the end of Q3 2008. During the first nine months of 2009, Gartner primarily used cash to repay $151m in debt. Gartner retains $250m in available credit, which with the $113m in cash should give it the necessary resources to maintain its business as well as conduct M&A activity. On the M&A front, CEO Hall maintained the position that M&A opportunities are being constantly evaluated, but unlike Forrester, who mentioned it was actively evaluating potential deals, he provided no color to that remark.

Pricing

In his remarks CEO Gene Hall mentioned that Gartner’s most recent price increase was holding. Hall also said that Gartner was implementing a price increase on November 1, 2009. Yes, Gartner has been and continues to raise prices even in a recession. This can be attributed to Continue reading

Forrester Research Q3 2009 earnings call

This analysis does not look at areas of interest to investors, but seeks to pull out insights that are relevant to clients and prospects of Forrester Research, the number two advisory analyst firm, as well as communications and IT vendor analyst relations (AR) teams. 

logo-forrester.gif

This post is part one of two parts when it comes to an analysis of the Forrester Q3 earnings. This is because the 10-Q, which will come out within two weeks of the earnings call, has more detail than the currently available 8-K and the earnings call.  We will review that document when it is available. 

The key take away from Forrester’s Q3 2009 earnings announcement is that Forrester is weathering this economic downturn much better than the last recession. In that recession, Forrester saw revenues plunge ~34% and experienced a broad and deep reduction in staff. After three quarters in 2009, overall revenue is only down 3% with research revenues actually up 2%. Headcount is 960, down 8% from 2008 year end, but still 23% higher than YE2007. In addition, Forrester currently has 16 sales and 4 research openings so it is not simply reducing headcount, but selectively filling positions as well. Furthermore, CEO George Colony told the Wall Street analysts on today’s call that he plans on adding 10 to 20 sales headcount in the 4th quarter (it is not clear if this expansion includes or is incremental to the current sales job openings on the website). This contrasts with the 51% reduction in staff from YE2000 to YE2002. Finally, at the end of Q3 2009 Forrester is sitting on $280m in cash and short term investments.

Why should this matter to enterprise clients and vendor analyst relations (AR) staff? Because Forrester is not in survival mode it has not had to slash sales or research headcount. Rather it has continued to keep the client–facing staff at a level that makes retaining existing and adding new enterprise clients relatively straightforward. This means that Forrester’s ability to maintain its research agenda and marketplace influence are not being seriously imperiled as 2009 comes to a close.

For AR teams this means that there is unlikely to be disruptive analyst turnover that would negatively impact analyst lists and interactions plans. Unfortunately, there is still the likelihood that sales representatives and analysts will be hitting the vendor community hard for incremental consulting/service units engagements and Roleview seats. Vendors should realize that not buying Continue reading

Lack of hands-on testing for products by industry analysts [AR Practitioner Question]

question-mark-graphic.jpgQUESTION:  It disturbs me that analysts don’t have hands-on experience with the products they advise their clients about.  How are can they be credible?

ANSWER: Analysts, especially at the larger end-user centric firms like Gartner and Forrester, have access to what they would claim is the world’s largest testing lab – their clients. Analysts covering hot product areas, both software and hardware, are hearing from scores of clients every month who are evaluating products or using them in production. As a consequence, the analyst firms claim that they can develop a series of data points that quite accurately portray the quality of a vendor’s products. 

Note: This is a classic SageCircle article from our pre-blogging newsletter. This particular article appeared in March 2001. It is being brought into the blogging era because ZL Technologies in its lawsuit against Gartner criticizes Gartner because it does not do “a single minute of independent testing of the products it purports to evaluate” (page 9 of the original court filing).

SageCircle Technique:

  • Vendors can help themselves by ensuring that their product evaluation programs for prospects are Continue reading

IT managers use analyst inquiry much differently from vendors

One of the sources of disconnect between vendors’ perception of the advisory analysts (e.g., Forrester and Gartner) and the reality is how very differently vendors and end users (usually enterprise IT managers) make use of the phone-based inquiry that comes with annual subscriptions.

IT managers frequently use analyst inquiry to manage the risk of buying a technology product or service. In addition, IT managers will call upon the analysts to give them intelligence and insights when they are negotiating a contract with a vendor. Often this information and advice is provided over many short phone calls touching on very specific topics, e.g., “Vendor X came to present to the team yesterday and said they could…” or “Vendor Y appears to have better support and should I…..” As a consequence, IT managers see the analysts as allies when it comes to making the best purchasing decisions and paying the right price. In fact, many IT managers think that rather than an expense, a Gartner or Forrester contract is an investment because they end up saving so much on their vendor contracts.

Vendors just do not have the same experience with analysts. First, vendor clients of analysts rarely use inquiry with the same frequency as end users. Furthermore, the typically vendor client never calls an advisory analyst to get advice on how to save money on purchase. So for the vendor executive, the only thing s/he sees is an expensive contract that is rarely used and provides no tangible value. No wonder vendor executives are befuddled by why end users continue to sign up for advisory analyst contracts.

We bring this up because a SageCircle strategist was talking to two senior and savvy vendor executives who normally understand the analysts. The executives were completely amazed to hear about Continue reading

Bill of Rights for industry analyst vendor prospects

SageCircle has addressed the never ending myth that large advisory firms like Gartner and Forrester require vendors to pay in order to be included on research in posts such as You don’t have to be a Gartner client to get a good “dot” on the Magic Quadrant and Analyst integrity issues – the urban legend that won’t die. In addition, Gartner VP and Distinguished Analyst Tom Bittman (bio, blog, Twitter) has addressed the issue in A Rant – My Integrity as an Analyst along with Gartner Client Ombudsman Nancy Erskine who posted It’s Still True: Gartner Opinion is Not for Sale. A final point is that large firms explicitly make it part of their policy to state vendor briefings are not contingent upon being a client. For instance, on Gartner Vendor Briefings page there is the statement in the first paragraph “Gartner analysts schedule briefings at their discretion based purely on an interest in the vendor, its technologies and its marketplace, not because of any fee or contractual relationship.”

So why does this myth still persist? One reason is that there are still “white paper for hire” firms that will generate papers favorable to the client. So these “white paper for hire” firms taint the perception about all analyst firms. In addition, there some unscrupulous sales representatives at major firms like Forrester, Gartner, and so on that have played the research placement card when they desperately needed to close a contract or risked being fired. So part of the problem is that a few rotten apples at the major firms spoil the reputation of the entire firm. Finally, while analysts have policies against pay-to-play on their websites, has anybody ever read them? 

Killing the myth

So what can analyst firms do to drive a stake through the heart of this pernicious perception? They can create a “Bill of Rights for Vendor Prospects” that clearly states the policy and that every firm sales representative is required to give to a new prospect or existing clients working on a contract renewal. By explicitly stating the policy, which would include a provision that the firm would deal harshly with any sales representative that crossed the line, the firms would stand a better chance of stamping out this myth.

 While the focus of this proposal is on vendors who are (or are not) clients of the advisory firms the concept plays well to the end-user clients who are purchasing services.  They expect the advice they are receiving is objective and not tainted by undue influence.  A more public statement of the policy might be of value in selling to those clients as well.

To get the process started, here is an outline of what a “Bill of Continue reading

You don’t have to be a Gartner client to get a good “dot” on the Magic Quadrant

One of the continuing myths in the IT industry is that Gartner demands payment from vendors for placement on its research. This even came up in a comment – anonymously posted of course – on a blog post written by Gartner VP and Distinguished Analyst Tom Bittman (bio, blog, Twitter) called A Rant – My Integrity as an Analyst.

SageCircle knows this is not the case from personal experience, but also because we get collaborating evidence from our clients. Just last week we were on an inquiry with a client, a small software company, who was included on a Magic Quadrant in the Visionary square months before they even considered signing up for a Gartner contract. The reason for the inquiry with SageCircle? In the draft update of the Magic Quadrant their dot had moved to the left. Yikes. However, the reason for the less favorable position had nothing to do with their client status or the size of their contract. Rather it was because they had not noticed that the lead author on the Magic Quadrant had changed. Once we figured this out, they understood that their problem was that they had never briefed the new analyst.

We also know of large vendors who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars with Gartner year in and year out only never to get onto a Magic Quadrant on which they wanted to be included.

However, in the past it has also been true that some unscrupulous Gartner sales representatives have played the research placement card when they desperately needed to Continue reading

Insights from Forrester’s CEO presentation at an investor conference

This analysis does not look at areas of interest to investors, but seeks to pull out insights that are relevant to clients and prospects of Forrester Research, the number two advisory analyst firm, as well as communications and IT vendor analyst relations (AR) teams.

logo-forrester.gifForrester Research (NASDAQ: FORR) Chairman & CEO George Colony (Twitter, blog) and CFO Michael Doyle presented (replay available for approximately 90 days) at the William Blair & Co. Emerging Growth Stock Conference on Tuesday, October 6, 2009. Because the presentation was oriented toward investors that might not know much about Forrester, instead of the usual Wall Street analysts on quarterly earnings calls, there were some tid-bits of intelligence useful for clients and AR. 

A large number of diverse data points but spread thin: One of the advantages that a large analyst firm has is that its analysts can – not always – have access to a large number of formal and informal data points to include in research and use with end user clients during inquiries. Forrester revealed that its analysts conduct 3,500 vendor briefings, 16,800 inquiries, 250,000 consumer survey responses, and 10,000 large company survey responses.

Sounds like huge numbers, right? Actually these numbers might not seem so impressive when the average per analyst is calculated. Forrester currently lists 193 analysts, not including research associates and researchers. That means that the average number of inquiries per analyst is only 87 per year or seven (7) per month. Of course that is the average, which means that some analysts will be doing much less than the average, maybe as little as three (3) per month or less than one a week.

Calculating the number of briefings per analyst is a little trickier because a single briefing can have multiple analysts in attendance. For this discussion let’s say three analysts per briefing, which then calculates to each analyst getting about six (6) briefings per month. Again, this is not an impressive number when taking into consideration how important vendor information is for advisory analysts.

Of course, inquiry and vendor briefings are not the only sources Continue reading

Gartner’s updated Vendor Research Escalation Process (part 7 of 7 about Gartner’s Q3 AR Call)

Gartner’s Analyst Relations team holds a quarterly conference call for the analyst relations (AR) community. SageCircle occasionally will post about the call, but for this particular call there was so much information that we have a six-part series to highlight details and provide commentary. See below for links to all six posts.

Logo - GartnerOn the Gartner AR call, Nancy Erskine, Gartner Ombudsman (Twitter, blog) announced an updated process for escalating vendor-analyst disagreements (click Research Issue Escalation Process For Vendors to get a PDF of the process document). It is a straightforward process with good, common sense suggestions. 

In our webinar Dealing with Problem Analysts we counsel that escalation, whether with Gartner or another firm, should always be a last resort for AR. While some analysts will consider an escalation as nothing more than the normal course of business, there is always a chance that the analyst will react negatively. Damaging the relationship is even more likely if the vendor’s representatives are belligerent.

While there are some legitimate reasons why a vendor should escalate a problem, a simple difference of opinion (e.g., the placement of a dot on a Magic Quadrant) and typical analyst arrogance are not good candidates for escalation. Remember, the analyst firm management will give the benefit of the doubt to the analyst if that analyst has done her homework and has not violated the research process or code of conduct. Just because the vendor thinks it should further up and to the right on a Magic Quadrant does not mean that Gartner’s management will agree. In addition, if the vendor has been inept or tardy in its response to the analyst’s documented research requests or has not conducted regular AR outreach, then there will be little sympathy from analyst management.

If AR does decide to escalate an issue – following the process in the PDF – then the first step before contacting the analyst’s manager or the Ombudsman is to create a document with a solid argument and lots and lots of supporting information, data, and customer stories. The more proof points a vendor has on paper the greater the likelihood of success. If the vendor cannot muster the proof points or invest the time to document them, then SageCircle’s recommendation is not to go the escalation route.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Develop relationships with your top analysts’ managers before you need to escalate a situation. For example, try to have a 1-on-1 or a cup of coffee with analyst managers at Symposium
  • Develop relationships Continue reading

Evidence Sidebar – Gartner needs to cover the role of information from end-user inquiries (part 6 of 7 about Gartner’s Q3 AR Call)

Gartner’s Analyst Relations team holds a quarterly conference call for the analyst relations (AR) community. SageCircle occasionally will post about the call, but for this particular call there was so much information that we have a seven-part series to highlight details and provide commentary. See below for links to all seven posts.

One of the announcements at the Gartner Q3 AR Calls was the rollout of the “Evidence Side-bar” for written research. During the presentation the Evidence Side-bar was described as “a description of the evidence behind the written research” and it will be “positioned on the front page of each document.” This is a welcomed development as increased transparency can only enhance the credibility and usefulness of Gartner’s research. Additional detail about the Evidence Side-bar taken from the AR Call presentation includes: 

  • Methodology
    • A high level view of the methodology  …or…
    • A link to the Methodology Document  …or…
    • A pointer to the Methodology Statement
  • Source
    • Primary research, e.g., “Gartner Survey”
    • Secondary research
    • Reference to another Gartner note, etc – with appropriate details
  • Notes
    • Additional information or commentary
    • A description of models used
    • Criteria or inclusion of technologies or technology
    • Include forecast assumptions.

This is all well and good. However, there was a glaring omission in the discussion of sources so SageCircle submitted the following question:

Question from Gartner AR Call

Frankly, we did not think that the Gartnerians would respond to the question. Much to our surprise, they did. Here is VP Mike Anderson’s reply:

“Inquiry is a great source of the evidence that a lot of analysts use for those results. I do not believe that we have standardized on the content of how inquiry be presented or how inquiry was used.

Instances where there were substantial numbers and quantities or where particular demographics have become important in the analysis that is being presented, those will be the things that analysts will be putting into the Side-bar. We’ll see feedback to them to ensure the Continue reading

Managing Your Gartner and Forrester Expenditures – A SageCircle Webinar

icon-budget-cuts-105w.jpgThe largest analyst contract commitments by enterprises, vendors and PR agencies often go to the Big Two advisory analyst firms: Forrester Research and Gartner. Unfortunately even during this recession, the two firms are not displaying any flexibility in contract negotiations – even though vendor clients are experiencing budget cuts.

To help analyst contract managers (e.g., AR, market research and procurement managers) take a strategic approach to dealing with the need to manage spending with Forrester and Gartner, SageCircle has a public webinar focused on providing the tools and intelligence needed to make the best decisions and deal with the firms’ sales representatives. 

In this SageCircle Webinar we provide insights and actionable advice on how to manage what you spend with Forrester and Gartner to ensure that you have the access you need without spending more than necessary. Key Issues to be addressed in this webinar include:

  • Is it possible to negotiate discounts with Forrester and Gartner?
  • What are the best practices for identifying expenditures that can be safely cut?
  • What are the repercussions with analysts at the Big Two if contracts are cut or even eliminated?
  • What are the best practices for handling angry and even threatening analyst firm sales representatives?

In this SageCircle Webinar, our strategists will provide a succinct analysis of why the Big Two are not being flexible and how vendors need to respond. Participants will come out of the webinar with best practices and tools that will help them manage their expenditures without adversely impacting their ability to Continue reading

Current Analysis experiences layoffs

Logo - Current Analysis - v 2SageCircle has received credible intelligence that Current Analysis has  initiated a job action resulting in analyst lay offs. We will continue to provide updates as we learn new information.
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  • Update: 9/3/09 5:56 am PT -Initial post. Sent request for confirmation to Current Analysis’ press office 
  • Update: 9/3/09 6:14 am PT – Initial analyst added to list
  • Update: 9/3/09 6:51 am PT – Official statement from Current Analysis posted
  • Of course, layoffs impact real people with families and obligations. Often AR people are genuinely friendly with the analysts they work with and this sort of news can be a shock. Unfortunately for AR professionals, analyst firm layoffs also raise important issues that need to be addressed ASAP no matter how much sympathy they feel for the analysts caught in the layoffs.

    Related reports and observations

    To be added

    Current Analysis  Official Statement

    From: Spinelli, Natalie
    Sent: Thursday, September 03, 2009 6:46 AM

    We did make some changes to the structure of our services and we are creating some new services, but NO services or coverage areas were eliminated. Details of the new organization, service Continue reading

    Will there be “Altimeter envy” among some analysts at the largest firms? (What’s coming around the corner)

    icon-social-media-blue.jpgEvery year the mid-sized and large analyst firms experience a normal amount of turnover in the analyst ranks. Sometimes it’s a little higher or a little lower, but it always occurs. There are times however when a spike in departures occurs caused by some white-hot trend in the broader technology market.

    There was such a spike in the late 1990’s as analysts got “dot com” fever and left the larger firms for boutiques firms focused on ebusiness/ecommerce or start up vendors. There was a little blip in the summer of 2008 when some analysts left Forrester and IDC with “social media” fever (see here, here and here). However, since last summer it has been relatively quiet with only normal turnover and recession triggered layoffs. Is that about to change with a more serious set of departures as analysts try to seek fame and fortune in the social media gold fields?

    A potential trigger for a spike in departures is what SageCircle is calling “Altimeter envy.” The buzz around Forrester superstars Jeremiah Owyang and R “Ray” Wang joining Altimeter Group was several orders of magnitude larger than all the departures in the summer of 2008. Plus there is just the general increase in hype and fever around social media. This buzz is bound to percolate into the awareness of even the most heads-down, lost-in-his-work analyst at Gartner, Forrester, IDC, AMR and so on. This may be case even if the analyst does not cover the social media market. After all, Ray Wang covers the unsexy enterprise applications market. There was a lot of hoopla around how Charlene, Ray, Jeremiah and their non-analyst colleague Deb Schultz used social media to build up their personal brands giving them the platform for a potentially lucrative new career path. Also, all the analyst firm layoffs in the last year certainly have some analysts thinking that they need to hedge their Continue reading

    Superstars Owyang and Wang joining Altimeter Group is not just about social media

    Logo - Altimeter GroupOn August 27, 2009, the Altimeter Group announced (click here for press release) that it was expanding with Deborah Schultz and former Forrester analysts R “Ray” Wang and Jeremiah Owyang.  They join Charlene Li, former Forrester social media analyst and co-author of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies . Here are some salient points about the announcement that we picked up from Altimeter’s briefing for SageCircle: 

    • This is a true firm, not a loose collection of individuals operating under a marketing umbrella
    • They are Silicon Valley-based partners which will permit creation of a coherent team and methodology
    • Their coverage emphasis will be on “emerging technologies” not social media
    • The focus will be on thought leadership and practical applications
    • Their business model will incorporate many traditional analyst firm elements (e.g., vendor selection, training, consulting, and speeches) with the addition of a hands-on lab and a community platform
    • Regularly published, client-only research is not part of the model

    Because of the partners association with social media – as analysts, corporate practitioners, and personal usage – the coverage of this announcement will likely give too much play on that aspect. While an important part of Altimeter’s marketing and initial research coverage, SageCircle thinks that focusing on social media misses other more interesting implications of this announcement:

    1. Altimeter has the potential to be a contender (see Boutique Analyst Firms: Pretenders and Contenders) with serious visibility and influence
    2. Altimeter has the potential to grow a serious technology buyer client base, maybe over 50%, unlike most single practitioners and analyst boutiques that rely on vendors for revenues
    3. A technology buyer client base when combined with its vendor selection services should increase Altimeter’s relevance to vendor analyst relations (AR) and other influencer programs
    4. Altimeter has the potential to systematically cover Continue reading

    If AR does not respond, maybe they don’t know who you are

    “Remarkably hard to get hold of anyone at Oracle and Microsoft analyst relations.” is a tweet that caught our attention. The twit had a link to his firm’s blog, which then led us to the firm’s main website. The firm was unfamiliar to us (for this post it does not matter the name of the firm), but after digging around for a few minutes it did seem like an analyst firm, but one with a very specific focus. However, at first glance the firm’s specialty did not seem relevant to Oracle and Microsoft so that is maybe why AR did not respond. An unknown analyst requesting AR assistance might only get a single quick glance at their website or blog because most AR teams are so busy responding to known analyst requests and preparing for the next proactive outreach that they do not have the time to do the type of digging that we do. 

    Tweet - remarkably hard to get hold of anybody - v 1

    One of SageCircle’s common inquiries is “Have you heard of firm x? They just contacted us and we don’t know who they are. Should we respond?” With many hundreds of analyst firms in the ecosystem it is not surprising that AR is not familiar with every one of them. Of the more than 160 analyst firms represented in the Analyst Twitter Directory, there were quite a few that we had to investigate to determine whether they were truly analyst firms. If we had to investigate and ponder then there is little chance that an overworked AR professional would devote the same resources.

    AR gets requests from all sorts of people, especially if they post a generic contact link on the website (e.g. AR@companyname.com or a web form). When we ran corporate AR for a major vendor, we would field requests from reporters, Wall Street analysts, college students, competitive intelligence firms working for competitors, consultants, think tank researchers, other vendors’ Continue reading

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