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

ZL Technologies files amended complaint against Gartner

This information was provided originally as a comment to an existing blog post. It is being promoted to a full blog post to ensure that the news receives proper attention.

ZLTI v Gartner in logos

Tip o’ the hat to Rob Elliott of ZL Technologies for this update…

On December 4, 2009, ZL Technologies filed an amended complaint against Gartner, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The Court granted ZL the opportunity to clarify and augment our earlier allegations of defamation and trade libel.

In the first round of ZL’s legal dispute with Gartner, Gartner argued to the Court that its rankings and other statements in the proprietary “Magic Quadrant Reports” are merely opinions that are not based upon fact, and that they are understood as such by the readers of those reports. However, Gartner’s Continue reading

What Forrester Research’s acquisition of Strategic Oxygen says about Forrester

logo-forrester.gifOn December 1, 2009, Forrester Research announced the acquisition of Strategic Oxygen from Monitor. Strategic Oxygen provides marketing professionals with data to help target marketing campaigns more effectively. While of interest to Technology Product Management & Marketing Professionals, it will be a separately-priced offering and not included in that RoleView. 

This acquisition is of little interest to analyst relations (AR) teams as Strategic Oxygen does not track IT or telecommunications markets nor does it advise enterprise technology buyers on products from vendors like Accenture, Cisco, IBM, or SAP.

In a case of bad luck from a publicity point-of-view, Forrester announced the acquisition on the same day that Gartner acquired AMR Research. The Gartner acquisition overshadowed the Forrester announcement, but that does not mean that Forrester’s M&A move is less significant. Rather, it provides important insights into Forrester’s strategy.

The first insight is that M&A continues to be an ongoing tool for Forrester even though it has been quiet on that front since the JupiterResearch acquisition in July 2008. Forrester is sitting on approximately a quarter-billion in cash, cash equivalents, and short term investments. It also generates very good cash flow from operations so it definitely has the resources for an aggressive M&A strategy. Forrester simply takes a conservative approach to M&A to ensure a high level of success.

The second insight is that Forrester continues to look beyond the IT organization. Forrester did not have a significant presence in the IT organization prior to closing its acquisition of Giga in early 2003. The Giga acquisition gave it a substantial footprint in the IT organization, likely making it the number two end user advisory firm after Gartner. While Forrester’s end-user clients provide a steady revenue stream, it has done its recent primary investment in expanding its 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

Are you checking for the year-end prediction research notes?

Well, it’s that time of the year when thoughts turn to holiday parties, mistletoe and… the annual deluge of analyst predictions for the coming year. For example, the rollout of Gartner Predicts research notes started in November with 44 published so far. Another example is IDC starting its series of industry Top 10 Predictions webinars and reports. There are many more examples from single practitioners to major firms. 

Many in the vendor community dismiss the annual flurry of predictions because they perceive them to be fluff with extremely short shelf lives. It is also easy to miss these annual notes if you have alerts keyed to your company name because companies are not often mentioned in the notes. However, your sales people can be blindsided by one of these notes if the analyst denigrates your market, even if your company is not directly mentioned. Don’t be surprised if the content of a prediction appears to be a little wild-eyed and out of character for your favorite sober-sided analyst – they are encouraged to write in an edgy style in order to be entertaining and perhaps get press attention.

Don’t forget to check the firms’ press releases as well, because they can differ from the original prediction. For example, a Gartner prediction in Continue reading

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