Why analyst relations matter – Analysts do not have time to do all-inclusive research

(After an interesting Twitter-based conversation with Illuminata’s Gordon Haff and former IDC analyst Ida-Rose Sylvester over the use of the word comprehensive, we have decided to use the word all-inclusive instead. )

One aspect of the analyst industry that is not widely known by technology buyers (aka end users, usually IT managers) and vendors is that industry analysts do not have the resources (e.g., time and travel budget) to conduct and publish comprehensive all-inclusive research about a market.  Advisory analysts gather most of their data from client inquiry and vendor briefings.  The major firms do not conduct product evaluations, lab tests against specifications, or quality of service investigations.

 This point was highlighted by Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang in Starting the Forrester Wave: White Label Social Networks and Community Platforms about some research he is working on:

 “…I made a call for the vendor product catalog in this market, (and via email and twitter) that document is a detailed index of over 40 vendors in the space, (aprox 50% of the market) and will be available to Forrester clients…”

 “…Due to the rigorous methodology … The Wave will only include several vendors.”

There are two key points here, one is that the vendor catalog is only a subset of the market and, two, the Wave will be a further subset of the vendor catalog the analyst assembled.

For vendors in this market these points should send a shiver down their spines. If they Continue reading

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

Using five rights to avoid a wrong when it comes to purchasing Gartner or Forrester services

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You can minimize analyst firm price hikes by buying the right services from the right firms at the right price.  This post is the first entry in a series* that will discuss how buyers of industry analyst services can manage their analyst contracts and minimize the impact of price hikes on their budgets.

Since Gene Hall took over as Gartner’s CEO in August 2004, he has diligently worked to raise Gartner’s ASP (average selling price) by eliminating discounts, enterprise-wide agreements and competitors while instituting price hikes for legacy products and launching new premium services. Under the cover that Gartner offers, other firms – especially Forrester – have been raising their prices as well. While it is entirely the firms’ right to price their products as high as the market will bear, these price increases are putting a burden on clients’ budgets. As a consequence, IT managers and vendor market research buyers need to carefully evaluate their analyst services purchasing decisions to ensure that they are maximizing the return on their purchase.

There is the old saying in the US and perhaps elsewhere that “two wrongs do not make a right.” For this series, we are going to flip that saying around with the idea that “five rights avoid a wrong.” The right actions that analyst services buyers need to take are: 

  • Right reasons – Evaluate why you are purchasing analyst services
  • Right services – Align the services you buy to better match the Continue reading

What is the business value of inquiry for vendors

icon-phone-headset.jpgSageCircle promotes the use of inquiry and we have offered suggestions on various topics for both Enterprise IT research consumers and Communications and IT vendors.  In general, vendors spend far less time doing inquires than they should.  This both decreases the business value they are receiving from the analyst contract and misses some important soft dollar benefits that are hard to achieve in other ways. Not getting value from the inquiry contract also contributes to the perception of some vendor executives that advisory analysts like Gartner and Forrester are “pay for play,” otherwise why spend the money on the annual contract.   In this post we will look less at the techniques and more at the realized benefits of a program of regular analyst inquiry.

Gaining real information

The stated purpose for inquires is to gain greater depth and understanding of an analyst’s research and opinions.  As always, you should review the currently published materials before scheduling a briefing.  However, inquiry can provide insights into an analysts’ work-in-progress and allow you to Continue reading

Research consumer’s turn — How industry analysts can be better prepared for inquiries

icon-phone-headset.jpgFor the most part the SageCircle blog concentrates how various members of the tech analyst ecosystem interact more effectively with the analysts (e.g., AR best practices and research consumer tips). This post is an experiment to give the community a chance to give a few friendly tips to the analysts.

SageCircle heavily encourages the use of inquiry for both communications and IT vendor AR teams and end-user client researcher consumers.  While most analysts are well prepared for inquires we have personally experienced and received comments from members of the analyst ecosystem about those analysts that might have needed a bit more coffee before getting on the phone. One not so amusing story is the analyst who could not discuss the research he had written, could not remember writing it and Continue reading

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

Using inquiry… Influence the analysts’ research agenda

icon-phone-headset.jpgWe have repeated stressed the importance of inquiry, both from the role of the vendor and that of the research consumer.  Obviously it can be used to obtain information as well as inform the analyst.  Another aspect of inquiry is the use of it to influence the research agenda of an analyst or a firm on behalf of either IT clients or vendors.

From the IT client perspective it can be very valuable to align the research agenda in the direction of your specific research needs.  Analysts rate client inquiry highly in understanding the market direction.  Your questions and observations, coupled with those of other clients, often cause shifts in the planned Continue reading

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