Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) lays off analysts

Logo - EMASageCircle has received credible intelligence, subsequently confirmed, that EMA has  initiated a job action resulting in analyst lay offs. We will continue to provide updates as we learn new information.

  • Update: 5/15/09 11:41 am PT – Sent request for confirmation to EMA’s press office
  • Update: 5/15/09 12:11 pm PT – Initial post and first confirmed names added name to analyst list
  • Update: 5/18.09 8:52 am PT – Official statement from EMA

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.

Official Statement from EMA

Received via email on Sunday, May 17, 2009:

For several years, EMA™ has achieved strong growth, averaging 30% annually. The company has been proactive in growing the analyst team in anticipation of future demand. This has added significantly to EMA’s technical depth and overall industry outreach (particularly in advising IT organizations). However, the current economic conditions have slowed the firm’s rate of growth. As a result, EMA has taken actions to align its resources with the demand anticipated for 2009. Management came to the difficult decision to reduce the analyst staff by two positions and internal support staff by one position. These minor adjustments will ensure EMA remains financially healthy and positioned for long term growth.

Rick Sturm, CEO and Founder

Background

In addition to the analysts, EMA’s marketing Continue reading

IT Analyst Reports is less than it seems

Logo - IT Analyst ReportsThe following showed up in one of my Google alerts

Complete, free analyst reports – Gartner Magic Quadrant, Forrester …
By admin
If you’ve ever tried to track down a report from an IT analyst, you’ll understand why ITanalystreports.com is quickly becoming the de-facto standard for finding…
IT Analyst Reports – http://itanalystreports.com/

Well, at first glance IT Analyst Reports certainly seems useful. Alas, at least at the current stage, this website is less useful than a Google search.

IT Analyst Reports - drill down page 14 May 09 at 2-40 pm PT - croppedt appears that the website for IT Analyst Reports does not actually have analyst reports (e.g., Gartner Magic Quadrant or Forrester Wave) available for free download. Rather, it appears it simply scrapes newswires and PRwires for press releases by vendors on their placement on a report. The visitor to ITAnalystReports.com then needs to click on the link to the press release in order to click to the vendor’s webpage where the vendor has hosted the report. If the vendor has not actually purchased reprint rights then the report is not available so clicking to a press release can be a waste of time. In addition, some of IT Analyst Reports scraped “articles” are actually just summaries with no links to Continue reading

What would make an analyst firm sales representative really great

During our “Managing Your Gartner and Forrester Expenditure” webinars and inquiries where we were helping clients with contract renewal issues, one comment we frequently heard was about the “great relationship” the contract manager had with a sales rep for an analyst firm. Often the definition of “great” turned out to be a rep that would not harass the client over “violations” of the contract, get the occasional freebie research note, or would bring a visiting analyst around. While these are all nice and useful, this did not strike us as being particular “great.” For both vendor and end-user clients these are more baseline activities that should be expected.

 What we think would truly make a sales representative great is someone who make sure that the client got full business value from their contracts throughout the contract duration. Here are some questions you should consider to determine whether your sales rep might qualify as “great:”

  • Does the sales rep actively work to demonstrate how the client has achieved business value and even hard ROI from the analyst contract?
  • Does the sales rep provide monthly reports on utilization of the services (e.g., the number of inquiries conducted by each advisory seat holder)?
  • Does the sales rep conduct a contract checkup at least quarterly?
  • Does the sales rep actively push clients to use the services purchased?
  • Does the sales rep proactively identify underutilized services and make suggestions to increase the utilization?
  • Does the sales rep proactively identify underutilized services and suggest that the service be given to another person that might use it or suggest swapping the service for a potential more useful service?
  • Does the sales rep work with you about incremental purchases in order to prevent redundant purchases or identify new users for underutilized services?

SageCircle Technique:

  • Vendor and enterprise analyst contract managers need to communicate with their analyst firm account executives the expectations of Continue reading

Forrester Research Q1 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 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) reported its Q1 2009 earnings on April 30, 2009. See the end of the blog entry for a summary and link to the press release. 

Q1 revenues were up 2.5% year-over-year to $56.4m, slightly above guidance. Cash and short term investments were $225.8m, up approximately $5m over Q4.

As expected, consulting and events revenues were down as is typical during a recession. Consulting was down 12%. Forrester did not give numbers, but said Events did not meet even the reduced expectations. More interesting is that the all important “deferred revenue,” which represents syndicated research contracts, was down 7%. There was also a decrease in total clients from year end 2008 by 58 to 2,585. These are relevant data points for vendors AR teams because syndicated research contracts and total clients are simple indicators of potential changes in a firm’s influence with technology buyers. The more enterprise syndicated research clients there are, the more opportunities there are for Forrester analysts to influence vendor deals. The converse is true, fewer clients means fewer IT buyers are turning to analysts for advice.

While Forrester does not break out details on its client base, CEO George Colony mentioned that the IT (information technology, aka enterprise IT managers) and TI (technology industry, aka vendors) segments were down in the quarter, offset by growth in the Marketing & Strategy area. M&S grew in part due to companies turning to Forrester for advice on how to address social media. The implication for vendor AR programs is clear – revisit your analyst lists to ensure that Forrester analysts are correctly ranked. These data points could indicate that influence in traditional IT infrastructure and enterprise applications markets is decreasing while influence in social media and Web 2.0 markets is growing.

Forrester also announced new packaging and pricing initiatives in Continue reading

Analysts keep adding social media capabilities, something AR needs to emulate

icon-social-media-blue.jpgWhile updating the various SageCircle social media directories, we were struck about how the industry analysts continue to embrace blogging and Twitter. Here are some statistics from this week:

Blog Directory - Forrester – four new personal blogs, for a total of 96 entries

Blog Directory - Gartner – 18 new blogs, for a total of 79 entries

Twitter Directory - Analyst – 42 new entries, for a total of 534

We already have 16 new analyst Twitter handles for Monday’s update even though the weekend is when we usually do the research to identify new tweeting analysts. In order to support the Analyst Social Media Traffic Analysis service, we are going to add Gartner analysts’ personal blogs to the Gartner Blog Directory. In addition there are hundreds of other analyst blogs beyond Forrester and Gartner blogs we actively track.

So, how is AR doing when it comes to adopting social media? Not so well. The Twitter Directory - AR had only 18 new entries for a total of 339. The analysts are typically joining Twitter about 50% more than AR. On the blogging side, we have identified only five AR program blogs.

Social media is clearly a missed opportunity for most AR programs. Most AR managers and professionals we talk to indicate that time – or lack of it – is a major reason why they are reluctant to start with blogging or Twitter. This is clearly a valid concern.  However, adopting social media does not Continue reading

Forrester Research, Inc. Q1 2009 earnings call scheduled – will its mix of clients insulate it from the recession?

logo-forrester.gifThis earnings call should be interesting in the wake of IDC’s significant layoffs (see IDC experiences layoffs – likely more than 20 analysts affected).

Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR)  earnings call is 11:00 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday, April 30, 2009 . The earnings call is a webcast that you can find on Forrester’s investor relations webpage. This call is coming one week before Gartner’s earnings call.

SageCircle doesn’t listen to the Gartner and Forrester earnings calls with the same mindset as a financial analyst. What we listen for are clues to how the two publicly traded analyst firms are Continue reading

Gartner, Inc. Q1 2009 earnings call is scheduled – will enterprises still be buying services?

logo-gartner.gif

Gartner, Inc.  (NYSE:IT) announced that its earnings conference call will be on May 8th at 10:00 a.m. ET. The earnings call is a webcast that you can find on Gartner’s investor relations webpage.

This earnings call should provide critical insight into whether enterprise technology buyers are changing their advisory analyst contract purchasing behaviors. In recent recessions, IT managers (the typical tech buyer client) have, as a group, been steady in their purchases of Gartner and Forrester services(and Giga and META before they were acquired). Most of the advisory analyst firm research contract sales volatility is due to vendors who often cut their marketing budgets steeply during recessions.  Because Gartner is not very vendor centric the earnings call information correlates closely to end user activity. 

Enterprise technology buyer purchasing patterns are important because they are an important indicator of analyst direct influence on vendor sales. If the firms have more end-user clients their influence goes up merely because they have more clients to advise as to which vendors belong on short lists, et cetera. If, on the other hand, purchases show a steady decline this could indicate a decrease in influence.

Gartner has said for 2009, research contract value will increase by 1%. While this is much smaller than Continue reading

IDC experiences layoffs – likely more than 20 analysts affected

logo-idc.gifSageCircle has received credible intelligence that IDC has  initiated a job action resulting in analyst lay offs. We will continue to provide updates as we learn new information.

  • Update: 4/17/09 11:18 am PT -Initial post. Sent request for confirmation to IDC’s press office
  • Update: 4/17/09 11:22 am PT – First names added name to analyst list
  • Update: 4/17/09 11:54 am PT – Reports coming in that layoffs will be significant and include both analysts and backoffice personnel
  • Update 4/17/09 12:51 pm PT – Multiple reports that the layoffs will impact 80+ staff, of which 20+ are analysts
  • Update 4/17/09 1:26 pm PT – Name added to the analyst list
  • Update 4/17/09 2:01 pm PT – Name added to list; reports coming in that IDC is holding All-Hands meeting
  • Update 4/17/09 3:22 pm PT – Two names added to list
  • Update 4/20/09 5:03 am PT – Added IDC official statement
  • Update 4/20/09 7:04 am PT – Added name to list
  • Update 4/20/09 7:42 am PT – Added two names to list
  • Update 4/20/09 9:43 am PT – Added name
  • Update 4/20/09 11:50 am PT – Added four analyts to list
  • Update 4/20/09 12:42 pm PT – Added name
  • Update 4/20/09 1:30 pm PT — Added name
  • Update 4/20/09 4:00 pm PT — Added two names
  • Update 4/22/09 12:20 pm PT — Added three names
  • Update 4/23/09 8:19 am PT – Added one name
  • Update 4/28/09 1:57 pm PT – Added one name
  • Update 5/27/09 2:17 pm PT – Added two names

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.

IDC Official Statement

In an e-mail exchange with SageCircle, IDC Corporate Communications Director Michael Shirer released the following statement:
- Due to the impact of the economic recession, IDC on April 17 reduced its U.S. staff by 82 employees, which represents 5% of IDC’s 1,650 employees worldwide.
- 26 research analyst positions were included in the reduction in employees. This research analyst decrease represents Continue reading

Forrester’s blogs – Observations while building the new SageCircle Forrester Blog Directory

icon-social-media-blue.jpgToday SageCircle is launching a new directory for tracking the Forrester analysts who blog. You can find it in the left-hand navigation menu section Directories. Look for Blog Directory - Forrester

The reason why a directory is needed even though Forrester has a blog home page is how they have organized their blogs. Forrester’s analyst blogs are centered on particular “roles,” which is now Forrester’s standard approach to research management. Forrester blogs are typically team written with various analysts contributing posts. That causes a problem for people, end users or vendors, who want to know which analyst posts to which blog. The blog home page lists the blogs, but not the analysts who contribute to them. Therefore SageCircle has done the work of identifying which analysts contribute to which blogs and put that information in our Forrester blog directory.

But wait! There’s more! Some of the Forrester analysts have personal blogs where they post significant commentary as well. So we are including the personal blogs as well.

While our research was mainly to find names for the directory, we did gather up some other interesting tid-bits about the blogs as well.

Contributors – Most of the blogs have Continue reading

Spotlight on Laurie M. Orlov – Aging in Place Technology Watch

Too often analyst relations (AR) professionals and analyst services buyers, both vendors and end user clients, focus on the larger firms. While this focus is natural because the larger firms have greater market presence and a large dedicated sales force, ignoring boutique analyst firms misses the opportunity to obtain interesting insights and advice or to brief a potential market influencer. Of course, not all boutique firms are relevant, so AR and buyers need to do their due diligence to ensure that time and money is not wasted. This post is one in a series to introduce the community to an interesting boutique firm.

                        __________________________ 

As the population ages, more and more people will want to live in their own home wherever that might be – for as long, as confidently, and comfortably as possible. As a result, there are technology vendors who are entering the technology market that focuses on boomers and seniors.

Aging in Place” is a market research and analysis consultancy focused on technology for aging in place.  Its missionis to understand, categorize and advise technology vendors and their constituents about offering and selecting the best products to enable remaining in the home of choice.  It researches products, technologies, and companies that can extend liveability through the incorporation of universal design principles, telecare and other assistive technologies and services.

Aging in Place Technology Watch offers a cost-effective annual research retainer as a service to technology vendors and service providers that includes: Quarterly strategic reviews to discuss go-to-market approach, advice and referrals about channels and partners, press and investor reference, lead-generating material like the 2009 Technology Market Overview for Continue reading

Why analysts need to be more measured in their use of social media

icon-social-media-blue.jpgSageCircle recently posted about the how the lack of any review cycle by either vendors or the firms themselves allows for very timely social media postings on blogs or on twitter, but can represent a real challenge to AR teams, especially those that are not actively watching social media.  We thought it was obvious that the need for analysts validating content was a given.  However, in the past weeks we have encountered several instances where analysts appear to have made opinion statements based on rumor without checking facts.  In the rush to publish they have not been doing their due diligence or the vendor AR teams have not been responsive to the analyst request for information.  Please note this is not a common problem and we hope it does not grow.

This speculative type of behavior can be damaging to both large and small vendors – and it certainly kicks-off multiple unnecessary “recovery” or “damage control” cycles when the analyst could/should have just picked up the phone and asked them a question before posting or rushing to be the first to tweet.  The stories you are about to hear are real…. we have changed the names to protect the guilty.

In one situation some tweets expressed concern about the financial viability of a small company.  An influential analyst posted “I’ve been hearing there’s a lot of changes going on at <company>, if you’re a customer and this has impacted you, I want to know, email me”.  The flurry of activity resulted in a blog post suggesting that people hold off purchases.  After understanding all this was unfounded there was a “retraction”, but the company is still in damage control model.

In another situation, the Twitter post was “Hearing from <company> customers that there are new clauses that will force customers to commit to no Third Party Maintenance.”  This Twitter post was a specific callout implicating the company (in Twitter he even tied them specifically to anti-trust implications as a result of this speculation – which obviously was/is a VERY Continue reading

Pike Research launched, focused on cleantech industries

Pike ResearchClint Wheelock, formerly an analyst with ABI and NPD, sent along this announcement.

While a bold move to start a new business in a recession, this is actually a good time to do so because it always takes awhile to build recognition and generate a base of research. By the time Pike Research is fully up to speed the economy should have recovered and budgets loosened up. 

Pike Research is Formed to Bring In-Depth Market Analysis to Global Cleantech Industries

March 18, 2009 – Boulder, Colorado

Today Pike Research announced its formation to provide world-class market research and industry analysis for global clean technology markets. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, the firm offers research reports, advisory services, and consulting concentrating on five key sectors: Renewable Energy, Clean Transportation, Clean Industry, Green Consumers, and Environmental Management.

“Cleantech industry leaders are increasingly focused on commercialization and go-to-market strategies for their technology products and services,” says Clint Wheelock, Pike Research’s founder and managing director. “These initiatives require unbiased and objective market intelligence that will help companies navigate the complexities of the cleantech business and create sound strategies for future success.”

Pike Research’s network of industry analysts and consultants, each domain experts in their respective fields, conduct in-depth qualitative and quantitative analysis on a variety of hot topics within today’s business environment that is highly focused on climate change, energy Continue reading

Research is commoditized – a dead idea

Public policy wonk and Fortune Magazine columnist Matt Miller’s new book The Tyranny of Dead Ideas: Letting Go of the Old Ways of Thinking to Unleash a New Prosperity got us at SageCircle thinking “Hmm, are there dead ideas holding back analyst relations?” Of course there are! This is one in an occasional series of posts that will address the dead ideas that impact AR programs and their ability to delivery strategic value to their companies. These posts are meant to be provocative and not necessarily definitive in their new ideas and suggestions.

Dead Idea: Analyst research is commoditized and thus analyst influence is dropping

Back Story: The other day Carter was chatting with a very smart VP at a major software firm about whether or not analyst influence was waning due to social media. The VP kept mentioning the commoditization of research and its impact on influence almost as if this was a new phenomenon. This was not a unique conversation as SageCircle strategists discuss this topic every week with people holding various positions in technology vendors.

The topic of “research is a commodity with so much free information on the blogs, so why do end users buy it?” is a common question, but the underlying idea is not new. In fact, chatter about the commoditization of research goes back to at least the early 1990s.

Before the World Wide Web, Ziff-Davis was considered Gartner’s biggest threat, not META, Forrester or Dataquest. Why? It owned so many IT and telecommunications magazines and had the potential for huge amounts of content that could be aggregated, integrated and multi-purposed. Because Ziff-Davis could pump this information out in so many channels (publications, consulting, events, and so on) it could quickly commoditize all that Gartner research in those official three-ring binders on so many IT managers’ desks and kill the analyst business.

It did not happen.

Later when the Netscape browser made the World Wide Web a practical tool for accessing magazine content, academic papers, and vendor material, the talk once more was how the industry analysts’ research is a commodity that could not support a business.

This did not happen.

Since blogs came on the scene the talk is now that all the content and commentary available in the blogosphere render the analyst research a commodity and analysts irrelevant.

This has not happened so far.

The “dead idea” in this case is that analysts’ written research is the sole source of their value to enterprise clients and influence. The reality is that written research has always been a commodity. There have always been magazines, newsletters, books, academic papers, management consultant quarterlies, vendor white papers, white-paper-for-hire analyst reports, and such that offered similar content to what were in analyst research notes. Because written research has always been commoditized, the advisory analyst firms have always emphasized on-demand, convenient access to analyst advice. It is those 30-minute phone-based inquiries that sell, not the written research.

Problem: Executives who perceive that analyst influence is dropping because their research is a commodity will be less likely to invest in AR or making themselves more effective spokespeople.

New Idea: Advice – personalized and delivered real time – cannot be commoditized, digitized, and distributed around the Internet. AR teams should educate their executive sponsors and other stakeholders that the analysts’ written research is only a fraction of how advisory analysts deliver business value to enterprise technology buyers.

SageCircle Technique:

  • AR should incorporate a formal training strategy into its AR Strategic and Tactical Plan
  • Topics for training should include analyst market realities, research methodologies, and business models in addition to spokespeople best practices

Interested in insights into how to incorporate effective training into AR Strategic and Tactical Plan? Check out SageCircle’s STRATEGIC ISSUES: Challenges for AR Team seminar. The next seminar will be held on March 24-25, 2009 in Cupertino in the Silicon Valley. Click here for more information including agenda, registration and future sessions.

Bottom Line: Vendors often follow dead ideas that have long passed their “sell by” date. AR teams needs to attack these dead ideas and work with their executive sponsors and colleagues to come up with better approaches that address today’s challenges.

Question: AR – How many of your executives express the opinion that analyst research has been commoditized? Are they referring only to written research?

 

Access to those with access – One reason why end users buy analyst advisory subscriptions

Social CRM: When Registration Pages Go Extinct is an interesting post by Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang (bio, Twitter handle) on his Web Strategy by Jeremiah blog. However it is not the content of the blog overall, but a couple of throwaway lines that are relevant to analyst relations (AR) professionals:

“…I’m working on a report called the “Future of the Social Web” and I interviewed quite a few companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Lotus, RWW, Federated Media, Plaxo, Dell, Cisco EOS, Flock, Meebo, Gigya, Intel, Razorfish, Six Apart, and a bunch more to find out the trends in this industry. There’s probably less than 10 people in the world that have access to all these teams, executives and thought leaders, and I’m taking advantage of it. …”

I don’t think that Jeremiah is bragging about his access, but rather it is his typical – and rare – transparency about how he goes about his job as an analyst. What is interesting is the number of vendors that Jeremiah has access to for his research. Because of this litany of access, Jeremiah’s factoid can be leveraged by AR as part of its executive sponsorship building efforts and spokespeople training.

One of the selling points that end-user advisory analyst firms (e.g., Gartner and Forrester) make to their enterprise IT manager prospects is that their analysts have access to top vendor executives and thought leaders in the industry. Furthermore, not only do they have access, it is part of their job to take the time to leverage that access. Savvy analysts are adept at name dropping when chatting with existing clients (it helps renewals) and when on a prospect call with one of the firm’s sales representatives. IT executives and IT managers value the analysts’ broad access to vendors – and their IT peers.   Analysts can provide an integrated point-of-view that the IT manager client does not have the time to develop themselves through conversations or reading blogs (see the related story Context, advice, reputation and time: How analysts can thrive in the social media age).

Positioning themselves as having superior access, and the ability to verbally apply this access to a client’s situation, has always been a differentiator of the advisory analysts versus Continue reading

Big 2 social media expands – 15 new Gartner blogs, 3 new Forrester podcasts

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThere has been significant activity on the social media front over the last few weeks that you might want to examine for relevance, either as an end-user client of the analysts or a vendor AR team. 

Gartner has moved to phase 2 of its expanded use of blogging that was started last October. Last week it added 15 bloggers to (see Gartner Blog Network Directory for links). So far, five have posted, marked below with *, and we expect the rest will likely get their first posts up in the next week or so.

  • Baker, Van
  • Blechar, Michael
  • Cappuccio, David *
  • Global Posts
  • Lheureux, Benoit
  • MacDona Continue reading

Forrester layoffs in Europe – round 2 or round 1 continued?

SageCircle has received credible intelligence from AR professionals on both sides of the Atlantic that  Forrester Research  initiated a job action resulting in analyst lay offs. We will continue to provide updates as we learn new information.

  • Update – 2/18/09 6:53 am PT – Initial post. Sent request for confirmation to Forrester’s press office
  • Update – 2/19/09 7:12 am PT – Two analysts added to list

Analysis

These layoffs could simply be a continuation of the layoffs that we identified on February 9th (see Forrester experiences analyst layoffs). Because European countries have different labor laws than the US, job actions there frequently lag what happens in the US. On the other hand, these layoffs could be a start of a round two because management has determined even after a few days that the original layoffs were insufficient. While Forrester has over $240m in cash and marketable securities (see Forrester Research Q4 and FY08 earnings – 2008 revenues up, 2009 guidance down)  and can obviously weather even a severe recession, that does not mean it should not  Continue reading

Forrester Research Q4 and FY08 earnings – 2008 revenues up, 2009 guidance down

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) reported its Q4 and full-year 2008 earnings on February 11, 2009. See the end of the blog entry for a summary and link to the press release. 

Forrester’s prepared remarks and Q&A were similar in tone and substance to the Gartner earnings call: expected growth until the fourth quarter at which point sales weakened considerably and anticipating a very weak 2009 resulting in revenue guidance below 2008.

Q4 revenues were up 7.7% year-over-year to $62.9m. For 2008, revenues were up 13.6% year-over-year to $241m.

Cash and short term investments were $220 million, down $29 million year-over-year. This is not surprising as the July 2008 acquisition of JupiterResearch used ~ $22.4m in cash. What was interesting was that the “cash” component went from $53m to $129m. This gives Forrester great liquidly for any M&A activity and stock buybacks to keep investors reasonably satisfied.

Forrester’s 2009 guidance was for revenues of $215 m to $235 m, down 11% to 2% from 2008. Gartner’s guidance was for a decline from 2008 of 6% to 10% (f/x neutral). The two areas expected to be hit hardest for both firms were Consulting and Events with syndicated research relatively flat.

One surprising piece of news is that rather than cutting the number of events like Gartner (good bye 18 conferences), Forrester is keeping the previously announced 14 events and adding two. Part of the reason cited for not canceling events was the sunk cost would be lost. Even a reduced conference might produce a break even. Another reason is the strategic need to fill gaps for role-based events.  This positions Forrester to experience strong growth once the recession has ended. In addition, Forrester believes that the more “birds of a feature” nature of events now focused on job roles will enhance attendee traffic because participants will have more targeted content and peer interactions. Reading between the lines, this could mean some events are limping along with weak attendance. Vendor sponsors could find their sponsorships underperforming because there will be fewer attendees.

While the total number of client companies was up 175 over 2007 to 2643, the number was down Continue reading

In-Stat experiences layoffs

Logo - In-StatSageCircle has received credible intelligence that In-Stat (digital communications market research) initiated a job action resulting in nine analysts being laid off. We will continue to provide updates as we learn new information.

  • Update – 2/6/09 6:10 am - Initial post. Sent request for confirmation to In-Stat’s press contact
  • Update – 2/6/09 10:17 am – Official statement from In-Stat

Official Statement from In-Stat

Sent: Friday, February 06, 2009 10:09 AM
Subject: RE: Official statement about In-Stat analyst layoffs

Hi Carter,
In response to your inquiry, here is our corporate statement :

On Monday, January 26, 2009, Reed Business Information Continue reading

Gartner Q4 and FY08 earnings – Research Contract and revenues up, trouble in Events

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 (NYSE:IT) announced its Q4 and full year 2008 earnings on February 5, 2009.

Update 1: 5:45 am PT – Observations based on earnings press release (see below for highlights from press release)

SageCircle was anticipating that this earnings call would be more interesting than has been the case for most of the CEO Gene Hall era. The key question is what would happen to research contract value, because this is a useful surrogate indicator of analyst influence with end users.

Gartner had a good year-over-year quarter for contract value growth, up 11% to $834.3 Million (8% growth excluding the impact of foreign exchange).

Why is net contract value increase (NCVI, the four most important letters in the alphabet to the Gartner sales team) an important indicator? If contract value goes up it likely means that Gartner is adding new end-user (usually large organization IT managers) clients. More end-user clients translate into more influence as more technology buyers now have access to Gartner advice on IT and telecommunications purchases, whether hardware, software or services.

While Gartner does not break out research contract value data between end users and vendors, SageCircle’s conversations with AR managers indicate that Continue reading

The 451 Group experiences layoffs

logo-the451SageCircle has received credible intelligence that The 451 Group initiated a job action resulting in analyst layoffs. We will continue to provide updates as we learn new information.

Mike Fauscette on IDC’s Software Business Solutions Group

Mike dropped by the analyst and AR meet up that SageCircle hosted on Monday, January 12, 2009 in the Silicon Valley. We asked Mike (blog, Twitter handle) to give us an update on the Software Business Solutions Group, the IDC service he heads up.

Forrester Research, Inc. Q4 and FY08 earnings call is scheduled – Acquisitions? Layoffs? Something out the ordinary?

logo-forrester.gifThis earnings call should be much more interesting than recent quarters in the wake of the recent layoffs of analysts at five firms and the cancellation of Gartner’s  Spring Symposium. So far, Forrester has not announced any layoffs, but sometimes companies regardless of size or market will announce job actions during an earnings call to show Wall Street analysts that management is taking the recession seriously. In addition, Forrester could announce an acquisition like it did at the 2Q FY08 call with the purchase of JupiterResearch.

Forrester’s earnings call is on February 11th at 8:00 a.m. PT. The earnings call is a webcast that you can find on Forrester’s investor relations webpage. This call is coming one week after Gartner’s earnings call.

I don’t listen to the Gartner and Forrester earnings calls with the same mindset as a financial analyst. What I listen for are clues to how the two publicly traded analyst firms are Continue reading

So, how much money did the US Federal Government spend with analysts firms?

Well, it was a pretty fair amount.   And the lion’s share went to Gartner of course. Gartner got at least $121,000,000 in the last four years. See below for a table of spending by firm.

logo-usa-spending-gov The information came from www.USAspending.gov, which is an interesting resource for market research.  BTW, the numbers below should be considered the minimum amount the firms received in US Federal contracts because not all agencies are required to provide data. In addition, there are a few major agencies that have not submitted their 2008 numbers yet so the contract numbers could go up for all the firms in 2008. Also, there might be purchases (e.g., tickets to analyst conferences bought with credit cards and expensed) that are not associated with the firm’s DUN number. Besides the summary numbers we list below, you can also drill down to determine spending by agency and some contract details.

This is not just a fun exercise in trivia. The amount of contracts a firm has with a client can be used as an indicator for the amount of influence with that client. Using the 2007 contract amount and assuming the GAO drives a hard bargain so each Advisory seat costs $11k, Gartner could have approximately 2,700 IT manager clients inside the Federal government it is advising on technology purchasing issues. As a consequence, Gartner could be influencing tens of billions in IT spending because it has the ear of thousands of decision makers.

SageCircle Technique

  • AR professionals at companies that target the US Federal Government should incorporate this data into analyst list management
  • AR can conduct inquiries with analysts to ask about the volume and nature of inquiries they conduct with relevant Federal agencies
  • AR should communicate insights about relevant analyst Federal contracts to their sales colleagues and how to utilize these insights

Bottom Line: AR managers whose companies sell to the US Federal Government should use data from www.USAspending.gov as a data point for their analyst list ranking methodologies. Of course, analyst firms can influence the US Federal spending in ways not related to client status. However, contract status is an easily acquired, hard number that can provide valuable insights.

Gartner

  • 2008 – $23,558,453
  • 2007 – $30,680,378
  • 2006 – $34,544,716
  • 2005 – $32,267,738

Forrester Continue reading

Burton Group announces job action

SageCircle has received from Burton Group CEO Jamie Lewis an email about a job action resulting in analyst layoffs. We will continue to provide updates as we learn new information

  • Update 1 – 1/20/09 – Posted official statement
  • Update 2 – 1/21/09 – Posted one analyst name to list
  • Update 3 – 1/22/09 – Removed Pete Lindstrom from list of analysts – he had departed ahead of layoffs

Official Statement

“On Monday January 19, Burton Group took actions to ensure the ongoing financial health of its business given current economic conditions. Like every business, Burton Group must ensure that it spends within its means in 2009, preserving the significant resources the company has as it prepares for long-term growth. In short, these changes were minor adjustments to accommodate market conditions. Burton Group continues to be a profitable, debt-free, and growing business.

Specifically, the company had a reduction in force of 8 people, or 5% of its total workforce. Of these eight people, four were analysts, three were internal support staff, and one was a consultant. This reduction in Continue reading

Observations from updating the various SageCircle directories

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThis weekend we spent considerable hours updating the SageCircle directories. This exercise always generates interesting insights such as: 

Analyst  Twitter Directory – 46 additions, 4 updates. Change can come quite quickly. The IDC Financial Insights team members decided to put more emphasis on Twitter as part of an overall plan to increase their visibility. This resulted in seven analysts starting to use Twitter in just a couple of weeks. Take away – Keep your fingers on the pulse of your analysts’ usage of social media, because changes come quickly.

AR Twitter Directory – 34 additions, 6 updates. Members of the AR community continue to adopt Twitter in a steady fashion. However, AR is still underrepresented on Twitter and members of the community are missing out on a great tool for understanding the analysts and their priorities. Take away – AR professionals not on Twitter need to take the plunge and add Twitter to their communications toolbox. Even if their analysts are not heavy users of Twitter, early adopters develop skills that permit them to react quickly to changes in social media usage.

AR Contractors Directory – 9 additions. There are now a number of interesting AR contractors in the directory. The presence of contractors gives AR managers useful alternatives to Continue reading

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