Highly recommended – Participating in the Gartner Quarterly AR Call on January 7, 2010

The topic we hear analyst relations (AR) professionals and other vendor staff talk the most about is Gartner. There is always something brewing about the Gartnerians’ business model, research methodology, product management and policies that gets under the skin of AR pros around the globe. While there is widespread feeling in the AR community that Gartner does not listen to us, we think that a productive use of an hour is participating in the Gartner Quarterly AR Call and telling the Gartner executives exactly what is on your mind. With a variety of GVPs and VPs participating, we think that AR pros should give these executives the benefit of the doubt that they will listen to well reasoned observations with positive suggestions about how to correct the situation. To register, click here.

This particular AR community will be a little more — and a little less – interesting than most. More interesting because the focus is on the details of how AMR is going to be integrated into Gartner (click here for a round up of SageCircle posts on the AMR acquisition by Gartner). Less interesting if AMR is not relevant to your AR program or if you are not an enterprise research client of AMR.

This particular call should also prove to be interesting to enterprise (aka end user) clients of AMR Research. While the focus is on issues of interest for AR professionals, enterprise clients of AMR should be able to pick up important intelligence about what is happening with their favorite AMR analysts and that could impact contract renewal decisions.

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 December 3rd AR Community Call
  • Commentary on Points from Gartner AR Community Call
  • Recommendations for Research Clients
    • Enterprise
    • Vendors
  • Recommendations for Vendor AR Teams

—- Text from Gartner’s email —-

Dear Colleague:As promised during our Continue reading

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.

SageCircle AR Podcast for December 15, 2009

SageCircle AR Podcast ArtworkThe AR podcast is a review of the latest news and trends in the analyst ecosystem along with tips and tricks for analyst relations professionals and analyst research consumers. SageCircle strategists Dave Eckert and Carter Lusher co-host this bi-weekly program. You can find all the SageCircle podcasts on our podcast page.

Visit the podcast page to download the MP3 file or listen to the episodes on your computer.  Click here to subscribe to the podcast within iTunes

SCP 15: Table of contents. Numbers in parentheses refer to minutes:seconds when the article starts within the podcast.

[00:00]  Opening

[01:06]  News – Gartner acquires AMR Research

[09:10]  How likely is it that Gartner will retain AMR analysts and sales representatives

[14:37]  Interview with Datamonitor-Ovum Research Fellow Jonathan Yarmis about his role

[21:06]  How the new Datamonitor-Ovum will encourage collaboration between Continue reading

Ovum ups the ante in campaign to recruit AMR analysts and sales representatives

Tip o’ the hat to the tipsters who sent in information about this Ovum news

Updated 12/16/09 1:32 pm PT – Added photo of truck outside Gartner’s HQ

Here is the Ovum truck making the rounds around Gartner main offices on Top Gallant Road in Stamford, CT (click on the picture to enlarge). Carter’s office use to be on the second floor nearest Top Gallant Road. Carter says that this truck would be quite visible from any of the window offices.

Please read the comments below. A Guerilla Billboards staffer mentions that a member of Gartner’s legal team came out and told the driver to get lost. Interesting.

As SageCircle reported in Special offers for AMR Research’s clients, sales professionals and analysts Ovum is one of the firms that is making a play for AMR’s sales and analyst staff. This is a common tactic by competing firms immediately after the announcement of a sizeable acquisition. However, offers like these do not necessarily result in the pickup of key staff because there is little effort put into the campaign. Usually there is just an announcement on the poaching firms’ websites and maybe a few phone calls to staff at the targeted firm.

Ovum has demonstrated that it is willing to increase the stakes by actually investing in getting the attention of the staff at the targeted firm. SageCircle has received reports about the rolling billboard that Ovum put on the streets of Boston to circle the Gartner and AMR Research offices (see picture). While this technique is likely a modest expense it does demonstrate that Ovum is serious about expanding its presence in the US market where it has a relatively small presence. In addition, it is a nifty publicity stunt sure to get some notice.

This development could work to the advantage of enterprises and vendors looking to wrap up contracts before Continue reading

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

Questions from the SageCircle webinar on Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research

There were many excellent questions asked at SageCircle’s webinar where we analyzed Gartner’s acquisition of AMR (click here for our original blog post). Here are a few of the questions and our answers:

 Question: Do you think that there will be an examination of this M&A event based on anti-trust considerations?

 Answer: SageCircle strategists are not lawyers so we cannot discuss the legal aspects of this particular event. It is true that Gartner is without a doubt the dominate enterprise advisory analyst firm so even the acquisition of a relatively tiny competitor – AMR is about 3% the size of Gartner – does raise questions about competition in the marketplace, pricing power, and so on.  However, even though this is a big deal in the analyst ecosystem, overall it is very small and not likely to get the attention of regulators, either in the US or Europe. Of course, some large company or coalition of companies could hire some high-powered law firm to “encourage” the anti-trust regulators to examine the deal, which has happened in other anti-trust cases in the technology marketplace. But who would lead and fund such an effort? Forrester? Unlikely as even CEO George Colony describes his firm’s relationship with Gartner as a duopoly which confers significant advantages to both firms. Maybe a firm like Datamonitor-Ovum might be interested in doing so. A vendor? Most vendors would not want to take up this task for fear of reprisal. Maybe Oracle would because Larry Ellison has gone after Gartner and specific analysts in the press in the past. So while it is not impossible for this M&A event to get the attention of regulators, we do not give it high probability that it will.

Question: Do you believe there will be healthy collaboration between Gartner and AMR analysts? Given that Gartner plans to keep the two teams separate, do you anticipate more of the silo approach as currently exists within Gartner?

Answer: It is very unlikely that there will be collaboration between the various analyst teams at Gartner and AMR. Gartner does not have a history or culture of collaboration, nor has it invested in a knowledge management and collaboration infrastructure. In addition, Gartner analysts are scattered all around the globe with many working out of their homes.  This limits the chances for “water cooler” discussions. Finally, there is the point 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 News – People on the Move

Icon - newsTip o’ the hat to many tipsters who provide us with the following tips. Alas, they are all shy so they requested that their names not be used. 

Arrivals:

  • Forrester – Nigel Fenwick (Twitter, personal blog) covering CIO issues
  • Forrester – Augie “August” Ray (Twitter, personal blog) covering social computing
  • SynergyACG – Eve Griliches (Twitter) covering telecommunications equipment. Prior to SynergyACG Eve was a Director at IDC.

Departures:

AMR Research executives gives an indication on the strength of their business

logo-amr-research.gifWith only two public companies,* Forrester and Gartner, in the advisory analyst/market research industry it is difficult to obtain details about how analyst firms are doing in this economy. Frankly, most firms will not share publicly their sales and client numbers. As a consequence, SageCircle looks for other data points about what is happening in the analyst market. 

AMR Research CEO Tony Friscia and CRO Bruce Richardson made some interesting statements about AMR’s sales in the October 30th “AMR Research’s First Thing Monday” podcast titled “SAP’s Earnings Call” (available on iTunes and AMR’s podcast webpage). While discussing the state of the ERP market, Tony said:

“…Let’s look at this through the lens of our business. I think in many ways our business is a leading indicator. When a recession is looming we see a downturn and how companies work with us. When things are getting better we tend to see ahead of the curve. Are we seeing the end of a cyclical trend? Our business in the last three months has been very, very strong. …”

Because Tony was using this point about AMR sales in the context of a broader discussion about the ups-and-downs of the enterprise software market in a recession, SageCircle interprets it as likely true and not spin to make AMR look better. Certainly AMR had a large layoff in the first week of January. In addition, Tony and Bruce were both ‘gloom gus’es during many podcasts through Continue reading

A potpourri of observations on social media and the analyst ecosystem

icon-social-media-blue.jpgTime to take a minute to check in with what’s up with the analyst ecosystem and social media.

Atwitter about Twitter – Twitter continues to be a hot topic in general with some negative backlash developing (e.g., Morgan Stanley’s report that teens do not care for Twitter and Nielsen’s research that millions are “Twitter quitters”). So what? It does not matter how many millions of users don’t use Twitter after signing up or how many millions follow some actor or talk show host. What matters for AR teams is whether their most relevant analysts are using Twitter and how it is being used.

Forrester and Gartner Blog Traffic: Nothing to sneeze about – We caused a bit of a buzz when we compared the traffic hits on Jeremiah Owyang’s personal blog to Gartner’s and Forrester’s corporate websites in Don’t underestimate the visibility a blog can provide an analyst because Jeremiah’s blog had twice the traffic of the two corporate websites combined. Looking at the firms’ own blog networks shows good traffic to them as the graphic illustrates (click here or graphic to enlarge). Forrester’s team blogs have averaged 65,000 unique visitors per month over the last year. The Gartner Blog Network has grown steadily since its September 2008 launch to 29,000 unique visitors in July.

Forrester Gartner blog networks traffic - small 

Social media metrics, useful but not “special” – As we were working on Continue reading

People on the Move in Analyst Relations – Ryan Mahoney

ryan mahoneyRyan Mahoney  (Twitter) has joined i2 Technologies, Inc. as Analyst Relations Manager.

Ryan joins i2 from AMR Research where he was a client research analyst. This will be an interesting transition for Ryan as having been an analyst at one of – if not the – leading analyst firms when it comes to supply chain coverage will provide him with useful insights. However, if Carter’s experience of going from being a Gartner Research Fellow to AR is any indicator, Ryan will find a few interesting surprises along the way.

Please join us in congratulating Ryan and wishing him great success in his new position. 

 Logo - i2

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Are you or someone you know on the move? Please let us know and we’ll Continue reading

Acquisitions of analyst firms are likely, so who would be buyers and targets?

question-mark-graphic.jpgQuestion: A common question SageCircle has been receiving concerns the likelihood that there will be acquisitions of analyst firms during the current recession.

During a recession, companies with strong balance sheets often acquire companies with weaker financials because the purchase price has been cut. Both Gartner (cash at September 30th was $145.2 million) and Forrester (NASDAQ: FORR, cash and marketable securities at September 30th were $254 million) have a history of acquisitions.  They also have dedicated M&A teams and CEOs that assure Wall Street during quarterly earnings calls that acquisitions remain a potential tactic “at the right price.” As a consequence, there is always the possibility that one or more small or mid-sized firms will be acquired by one of the two major public firms. 

Who could be acquired? Almost any firm. Obviously mid-sized firms like AMR Research that have gone through recent job actions could be thought to be shoring up their finances to ride out the recession… or make themselves a more attractive acquisition target by reducing cost structure or eliminating duplicate reearch coverage.

Who could be buyers? While Forrester and Gartner have the requisite strong balance sheets and motivations, they are not the only potential buyers of analyst firms. Companies that have made analyst firm acquisitions over Continue reading

Role of social media in uncovering the Gartner and AMR analyst layoffs

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThe last few days have been interesting regarding the layoffs at Gartner and AMR. Laying off workers (about 1% of analysts for Gartner so far), canceling unprofitable events (such as Spring Symposium), and so on are so typical for any company in this economic environment. In fact, more layoffs or other services cancelations would not be atypical. 

However, what makes this situation more interesting is the role social media played in bringing the layoffs to the attention of stakeholders in the analyst ecosystem. In the past the analyst firms were able to get away with keeping layoffs under the radar screen because any one client, end user or vendor, would only discover “missing” analysts that they personally interacted with on a regular basis. This process of discovering missing analysts would also occur over days or weeks because few clients have frequent contacts with multiple analysts. When layoffs occurred under the radar nobody got the big picture about all the departures and put the pieces together.

Well, that approach ended on Friday. SageCircle became the hub for information about reports of layoffs and then fed that back to the AR community via Twitter, Facebook and our blog. Our raising the issue then got us more data points via Twitter and email. Very quickly we were able to ascertain that the departures were not just the usual turnover in the employee base, but job actions by AMR and Gartner affecting a number of analysts.

Certainly, Twitter and other social media have been used in other breaking news instances, including natural disasters or terrorist related. However, most members in the analyst ecosystem have been laggards when it comes to adopting social media. This might be the first case of Twitter, Facebook and an AR blog being used to Continue reading

Right firms – Search out alternative services providers that better match your needs for a better price [Purchasing Analyst Services, Part 4]

icon-budget-cuts-105w.jpgOne method for avoiding the price increases that Forrester and Gartner are initiating on a regular basis is to diversify your sources of analyst research and advice. The one usual negotiating trick of playing one vendor off another probably won’t work with Gartner as CEO Gene Hall has been quite emphatic in his quarterly earnings conference calls that discounting by sales reps has been and will continue to be sharply curtailed.  This means you may be better off looking to “boutique” firms for some services. There are hundreds of analyst firms in the market, many with very smart analysts and interesting research. Besides a lower price, there are other potential benefits to going with other firms including: flexibility in service delivery, better customer service, and unique insights.

The difficulty of purchasing from a smaller firm is discovering them in the first place. Forrester and Gartner (as well as the vendor-centric IDC) have tremendous mindshare from tens of thousands press quotes and growing sales forces that drive their brand equity. Very few firms outside of the Big 3 invest in marketing and sales that would give them the market visibility to become a regular addition to buyer short lists.

The next issue is finding alternative firms that can deliver services that meet your needs. Many analyst firms specialize in advising Continue reading

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