Forrester or Gartner launch a client-only social network – Looking ahead to 2010

Ticon-crystal-ball.jpghis post is one in a series where SageCircle pulls out the crystal ball and looks ahead to what happens in the analyst ecosystem in 2010. See below for links to all posts in this series.

As 2009 comes to a close there are only a few examples of analyst-created communities built on social networks. One example is the IDC Insights Community, which was launched in March 2009 and is built on a white-label social network platform. This is an open community that anybody, including competitors to IDC, can register to join. This is an interesting experiment by IDC as it potentially enhances IDC’s ability to increase its visibility with enterprise clients.

While 2010 will see more analyst-operated open communities built on free tools like LinkedIn Groups or purchased social networking platforms, the most interesting and controversial communities will be the “gated communities” that Forrester and/or Gartner might launch. These closed communities would only be available to clients of the firms.

Social media purists will no doubt howl that a closed social network violates the spirit of communities and that the firms are dumb for not using the communities a marketing tool to build awareness to non-clients. Perhaps these objections are valid, but there are valid reasons why closed, managed communities will actually be welcomed by enterprise end users.  Not everybody is comfortable with the rough-and-tumble attitude of some open communities. In some cases a Continue reading

AR teams will get in trouble with executives for being surprised by analysts’ social media commentary – Looking ahead to 2010

icon-crystal-ball.jpgThis post is one in a series where SageCircle pulls out the crystal ball and looks ahead to what happens in the analyst ecosystem in 2010. See below for links to all posts in this series.

The vast majority of analyst relations (AR) teams are not regularly monitoring their most relevant analysts’ social media usage. However, this lack of attention could prove to be politically dangerous in 2010.

Many AR professionals have been confronted by executives at their companies with negative press quotes by the analysts. Often the executives demand to know why the analyst made the negative comment and what AR is going to do about it. Up through the early Internet age, while troublesome because it caused a fire drill, it was reasonable for AR not to be aware of a particular quote because a comprehensive press clipping service would have been too expensive. However, as the Internet and search tools matured, it has because harder for AR to justify ignorance about press quotes. This provides the added danger of damaging AR’s credibility for not being on top of the situation.

As more analysts adopt social media, sometimes chaotically, AR now has to anticipate being confronted by an executive wanting to know about some analyst’s negative blog post, tweet, or comment made in a social network. Just as with press quotes today, AR cannot feign ignorance about the negative comments made in social media. This is because it is perceived to be free and “easy” to monitor social media. Thus, an AR team that is not aware of an analyst social media comment brought to its attention by an executive will be in grave danger of having its credibility questioned. This could give rise to a new group tasked with social media influencer relations that would take over working with key 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

An experiment – Sites or blogs that discuss SAP pricing and contracts

icon-social-media-blue.jpgIn our ongoing discussions about the role of the IT and telecommunications industry analysts one question always come up is “Why would anybody pay for analyst research when there is so much free information available on the web and blogs?” We have addressed this issue from a variety of points – many times in blog posts – with one of the answers being that the advisory analysts provide personalized information that can save an enterprise money, in some cases many times the cost of the analyst contract.

Periodically to test this theory, SageCircle searches the web and blogs for information about a particular vendor’s pricing, discounts, terms and conditions, and so on. Even though we are crackerjack web researchers we can never find detailed information of this nature. This time around we are enlisting the community to see if you can provide us with links to relevant sources.

We are looking for websites, blogs, social networks, Twitterers, and such that provide information and advice on SAP contracts and pricing. SAP was selected for this experiment because it is a huge global software vendor with complex contract negotiations. SAP is also a popular topic of conversation between enterprise IT managers and advisory analysts like Gartner, Ovum, Forrester, AMR, and so on. What we are looking for are sites or blogs that provide fact-based detail on, implications of, and advice on how to deal with the following points:

  • SAP pricing
  • SAP discounts
  • SAP maintenance fees
  • SAP upgrade fees
  • SAP contract terms and Continue reading

Twitter Lists – A dual-edged sword for analyst relations

icon-social-media-blue.jpgTwitter has rolled out a new feature called “Lists” that permits any user to publish a list of Twitter handles. If someone else clicks on that list (e.g., simple example) they can easily see all the tweets from everybody on that list. Also by clicking on the “View List Page” to the right of the list title, you can see all the handles associated with that list. This new feature makes it very easy to follow a list so that you can go to it with a single click. 

It is very easy to create a list, just click on “New List” in the right hand navigation bar of your Twitter.com page; type in a title; select the Privacy status of Public or Private; and start adding handles to your list. Adding handles can be done from a simple search function, your “Following” or “Followers” list (Lists icon to right of the avatar), or from someone’s profile page. Your list will then show up in the right hand navigation bar. Lists can be broad (e.g., Gartner’s single list of all analysts) or targeted (e.g., Forrester’s multiple lists of analysts by client type).

You can find links to the analyst firm Twitter Lists on Carter’s Twitter page www.twitter.com/carterlusher. As of this blog post, seven Lists by analyst firms have been identified. If you have found other analyst firm Lists please sent a link to “info [at] sagecircle [dot] com” and we’ll add them to the list of lists.

However, there are more aspects to Twitter Lists than the ones mentioned above. SageCircle clients can set up an inquiry to get a quick tutorial on Twitter tips and tricks, which includes the use of Lists.

This new Twitter feature can be a useful tool for analyst relations (AR) teams. For instance, there could be a List for all the member of the AR team to make it easy for analysts to find all the relevant AR team members to follow. There could be lists for your company’s thought leaders or the domain experts for a particular product or market. These are all great ways to promote your colleagues or others and increase their followers, especially analysts.

What about an AR team’s analyst lists? Could they be turned into a Twitter List so that it would be easy for AR’s colleagues to find and follow relevant analysts? While simple to do, would you want to publish a list of your analysts for the entire world – including your competitors – to see? We think not and do not recommend that Continue reading

A potpourri of observations and comments about the analyst ecosystem and social media

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThis is the Explanation Mark! blog post.

 Analyst leaves Forrester! – The fact that an analyst leaves a prominent firm (in this case Forrester security analyst Natalie Lambert to vendor Citrix) is not news. People change jobs all the time for a variety of reasons. Even in a recession. What is interesting is how open the news has been with the analyst and Forrester tweeting and blogging (e.g., see this post) about it. In the past, analyst firms were loathe to admit that an analyst had walked out the door, only telling clients and others on an individual basis to keep the word from spreading. Luckily that attitude is no longer possible because social media means that the word will get out sooner than later. So kudos to Forrester for being open about the change.

70 new entries in the Analyst Twitter Directory in the last week! – We did two updates to the Analyst Twitter Directory with the result being that the number of analysts in the directory went over 900. You might want to check out the AR Twitter Directory as it has 48 new entries.

Which analysts actually tweet? Pshaw! It doesn’t matter! – After SageCircle tweeted about the Analyst Twitter Directory getting near 900, there was this reply by HCL AR wizard and former Gartnerian @robert_desouza “the correct stat would be how many actually tweet of the 899.” Then HP AR guru @gerryvz tweeted “Yes it would be an interesting project to stack-rank Twanalysts by frequency, insight qual & market influence.” To both twits we say “Pshaw!” That is because ranking all the analysts in the directory by volume or insight is not relevant. What is relevant for AR teams is whether Continue reading

Can I use a newsletter to promote my AR blog? (AR Practitioner Question)

Question: The following question was asked during a Blogging for AR webinar “Can I use a newsletter to promote my AR blog?”

The answer is “yes.” A newsletter is one of many tools AR should be using to increase the visibility and traffic to its blog. A regular newsletter (e.g., sent the last Wednesday of every month) could highlight some or all posts on a blog with a simple one sentence tease with the link to the post. Do not include the full post as you would want the analyst to get in the habit of visiting your blog. In addition to promoting the blog, this regular – and short – newsletter could include news about events, links to especially important financial statements or other web posted information, and even links to press releases, if they were highly relevant to analysts.

SageCircle Technique:

Other techniques for promoting an AR blog include:

  • Include a link to the blog in your email signature block
  • Include a link to the blog in any Continue reading
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