For IT managers — It’s “Praise Your Vendor” Inquiry Day

icon-phone-headset.jpgNow for something completely different… offering the analysts a vendor compliment in lieu of a complaint. Advisory analysts at major firms build their opinions based more on client feedback than on research evaluations. They generally do not do lab analysis or specific competitive research.  That means that the perceptions they have of the products may be more highly colored by negative customer comments heard during client phone-based inquiries than reality would suggest. 

SageCircle Technique:  My suggestion to IT managers is that you Continue reading

IT managers, it’s never, ever only about the upper right dot when it comes to Forrester Waves or Gartner Magic Quadrants

icon-phone-headset.jpgOne of the things that drives vendors – and even some Gartner and Forrester analysts – crazy is when an IT buyer zeros in on the vendors in the upper right hand corner of a Forrester Wave or Magic Quadrant to the exclusion of all other vendors. It is human nature to go for those who are perceived as tops in their market. Alas, that is not how these highly visible research graphics should be used. Rather IT managers should be looking to align their Continue reading

How to break analysts out of auto-pilot inquiry responses

icon-phone-headset.jpgAnalysts who cover really popular topics can answer the same question over-and-over to the point where they go on auto-pilot. This means delivering basically the same information and advice regardless of the client’s situation. This is especially true for end-user or IT manager inquiries. Back when I was a Gartner VP & Research Fellow covering CRM, I once counted up 300 inquiries in a short time all asking me to compare and contrast the same three leading vendors. My eyes would glaze over as soon as the appointment reminder popped up for yet the next inquiry on the three amigos. So how do you ensure that the analyst is not on auto-pilot? Provide background on your situation and ask drill down questions. Continue reading

Listening to analyst podcasts is free and easy

icon-microphone-reduced-v-2.jpgIf you have not started listening to analyst podcasts I highly recommend that you consider doing so. Podcasts are a great way to get information when stuck in the daily commute, working out on the treadmill, shopping at the grocery store, hanging out at the airport and so on.  If you have an Apple iPod, the iTunes Music Store makes it very easy to subscribe to any number of free analyst, technology, business publication, and competitor podcasts.  But you don’t need an iPod.  Most podcasts work with any MP3 player or can simply be played on your laptop.
Podcasts are useful for many communities: CIOs, IT buyers, vendor AR, product managers, reporters and others. Continue reading

Best practices for client inquiry execution

icon-phone-headset.jpgWhether IT managers at corporate/government organizations or product managers at IT vendors, many analyst clients do not maximize the value of client inquiry because they do not approach using inquiries systematically. The best practice below does not require a lot of time, only a few minutes to write up the background e-mail, but can result in a much more valuable interaction because the client and the analyst come to the call more focused.
SageCircle Technique: Continue reading

Using analyst inquiry… Find out what’s heating up and what’s cooling off

icon-phone-headset.jpgOne of the assets that well-connected analysts have is their many anecdotal data points gleamed from day-to-day conversations.  While not statistically valid, doing pattern analysis on these questions can reveal some interesting insights into emerging trends and issues falling off the radar screen. The problem from a research consumer point-of-view is that these data points are locked inside the head of the analysts* and are rarely the focus of a research note. To get to that information, clients need to use inquiry.
SageCircle Technique:
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Analyst myths revisited – “Analysts know everything” still #1 for IT managers and vendors

There are several lists of myths about the IT analysts.  These include Tekrati’s Analyze This: 5 Myths About Analyst Briefings; KCG’s Under the Influence: Myths About International AR; and Valley View Ventures’ IT Industry Analysis Myths. There are probably other lists that I don’t know about, but suffice to say that are plenty of myths to go around.
SageCircle first published its list in early 2001 and tweaked it later that year. I’ve used that list ever since, including when I was the Director of Corporate AR at HP. While I have been tempted to add or delete myths, this is still a pretty good list.
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Using analyst inquiry… Dig into press reports

icon-phone-headset.jpgThere have been a number of reprints of the Associated Press story Growth of global technology spending is expected to slow in 2008 that report that the “Big 3” analyst firms (i.e., Forrester, Gartner and IDC) are forecasting reduced spending on information technology. This is potentially useful data for both IT departments and tech vendors, but frankly macroeconomic numbers like these are useless because they are too high level and generic. Today is a perfect time to use your analyst client inquiry privileges to get insights into how these data can be applied to your company’s or division’s situation and generate actionable advice. Some example inquiries by community sector:

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