Current Analysis experiences layoffs

Logo - Current Analysis - v 2SageCircle has received credible intelligence that Current Analysis has  initiated a job action resulting in analyst lay offs. We will continue to provide updates as we learn new information.
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  • Update: 9/3/09 5:56 am PT -Initial post. Sent request for confirmation to Current Analysis’ press office 
  • Update: 9/3/09 6:14 am PT – Initial analyst added to list
  • Update: 9/3/09 6:51 am PT – Official statement from Current Analysis posted
  • Of course, layoffs impact real people with families and obligations. Often AR people are genuinely friendly with the analysts they work with and this sort of news can be a shock. Unfortunately for AR professionals, analyst firm layoffs also raise important issues that need to be addressed ASAP no matter how much sympathy they feel for the analysts caught in the layoffs.

    Related reports and observations

    To be added

    Current Analysis  Official Statement

    From: Spinelli, Natalie
    Sent: Thursday, September 03, 2009 6:46 AM

    We did make some changes to the structure of our services and we are creating some new services, but NO services or coverage areas were eliminated. Details of the new organization, service Continue reading

    Analysts chattering on Twitter – the genie is out of the bottle

    icon-social-media-blue.jpgThere is an interesting blog post by Redmonk analyst James Governor on Industry analyst relations and Twitter: The Dark Side and a related one by Marketing Strategies for IT Vendors analyst Merv Adrian AR: Tiering Analysts Is Good, But Don’t Play Childish Games. These posts bring up several issues (e.g., tiering analyst lists, confidentiality, and transparency), but the one we want to address in this post is the issue of analysts tweeting about planned vendor briefings and how some AR professionals would prefer analysts not to do so. 

    Both Merv (“But this “pssst…don’t tell anyone we’re talking” thing is something else entirely. It smacks of gamesmanship…”) and James (“The first rule of vendor briefings is… don’t talk about vendor briefings. That is just crazy.”) do not like the idea of being asked not to tweet about an upcoming vendor briefing. To a certain extent they have a point. Being asked not to tweet runs counter to the whole ethos of social media and sharing information. However, some analysts are using their tweeting as a marketing tool by in essence saying “See how important I am? I am getting briefed by Acme Software! Don’t you want to brief me too?”

    While we see the analysts’ perspective, these and other analysts with the same opinion are not looking at from the vendor’s point-of-view. Knowing that a vendor is briefing an analyst provides AR at a competitor with valuable competitive intelligence. In fact, harvesting useful intelligence about what a competitor is doing with the analysts is one of the reasons SageCircle teaches vendors why AR teams need to be on Twitter and other forms of social media. However, there is an underlying tension with wanting information about your competitor, but not having information about your activities publicly disseminated.

    So in this brave new world there are implications for both AR and analysts.

    Analyst relations – Get over it. The Twitter genie is out of the bottle and there is no way to stuff that critter back. AR needs to adapt to the changed environment by deciding how to deal with Continue reading

    Listing of analyst firms who have laid off analysts in 2009

    This is a simple index of posts covering analyst layoffs at various firms. If you hear of job actions at analyst firms, please contact SageCircle at 503-636-1500 or “info [at] sagecircle [dot] com” with tips and insights.

    1. Aberdeen Group (January 2009)
    2. AMR Research (January 2009)
    3. Burton Group (January 2009)
    4. Current Analysis (September 2009)
    5. Enterprise Management Associates (May 2009)
    6. Forrester Research (February 2009)
    7. Gartner (January 2009)
    8. IDC (April 2009)
    9. In-Stat (February 2009)
    10. iSuppli (January 2009)
    11. The 451 Group (February 2009)
    12. TowerGroup (July 2009)
    13. Yankee Group (January 2009)

    Analyze social media traffic of analysts to determine your workload

    icon-social-media-blue.jpgA common issue that AR managers bring up when discussing why they currently don’t follow analysts on blogs and Twitter is that it would be too much work. Hmm, maybe it could be a lot of work, but really the reality is that it does not take much time per day tracking posts and tweets. Why? 

    • There are not many analysts in any particular market who use social media
    • Tools are available (e.g., RSS readers and Twitter Search) that make it easy and fast to track posts and tweets

    Something that AR should do is work from facts and not assumptions so we recommend that AR managers conduct an analysis of their top analysts’ use of social media. This analysis should cover at least the previous three weeks to smooth out changes in usage due to travel, special events like analyst summits, holidays, and so on. Data to be gathered includes the number of blog posts for both firm and personal blogs and the overall number of tweets  

    The analysis concentrates on the average number of social media publications per day. In the tests and beta client engagements of our new SageToolTM Analyst Social Media Traffic Analysis (see graphic) we found that most analyst lists only had a small percentage of analysts that actively used social media and that the volume of traffic was modest. Of course there are Continue reading

    Forrester’s blogs – Observations while building the new SageCircle Forrester Blog Directory

    icon-social-media-blue.jpgToday SageCircle is launching a new directory for tracking the Forrester analysts who blog. You can find it in the left-hand navigation menu section Directories. Look for Blog Directory - Forrester

    The reason why a directory is needed even though Forrester has a blog home page is how they have organized their blogs. Forrester’s analyst blogs are centered on particular “roles,” which is now Forrester’s standard approach to research management. Forrester blogs are typically team written with various analysts contributing posts. That causes a problem for people, end users or vendors, who want to know which analyst posts to which blog. The blog home page lists the blogs, but not the analysts who contribute to them. Therefore SageCircle has done the work of identifying which analysts contribute to which blogs and put that information in our Forrester blog directory.

    But wait! There’s more! Some of the Forrester analysts have personal blogs where they post significant commentary as well. So we are including the personal blogs as well.

    While our research was mainly to find names for the directory, we did gather up some other interesting tid-bits about the blogs as well.

    Contributors – Most of the blogs have Continue reading

    Do I place my bets on AR-Sales partnering or adopting social media?

    icon-dollar-euro.jpgQuestion: If I had to choose between starting an AR-Sales partnership or launching a social media initiative, which way should I go? If I did both, but with limited resources, how should I divide my efforts?

     During the happy hour after the first session of our STRATEGIC ISSUES advanced AR seminar, one of the attendees asked these great questions. Both Dave and Carter answered immediately and in unison:

         “AR-Sales!”

    Why? Even a simple AR-Sales partnership pilot will give the AR team an opportunity to gather real world examples of the analysts impacting sales opportunities. These types of hard sales numbers, even in anecdotal form, are powerful tools for illustrating the strategic value of AR. In addition, a pilot project can Continue reading

    AMR retrenches to focus on core, lays off reported 10%

    logo-amr-research.gifMore information to follow. Check back frequently for updates.

    • Update 1 – 1/9/09 6:40 am PT -Initial list of analysts
    • Update 2 – 1/9/09 7:19 am PT – Added name to list
    • Update 3 – 1/9/09 8:24 am PT – Initial analysis added
    • Update 4 – 1/9/09 11:19 am PT – Statement from AMR CEO added
    • Update 5 – 1/12/08 5:36 am PT – Added name to list
    • Update 6 – 1/12/08 2:24 pm PT – Added three names to list

    Statement from Tony Friscia, CEO, AMR Research

    Via email — “It is true that we eliminated some positions (about 10%) across each department in the company due to the economy. While this includes several research positions, we are not eliminating any coverage areas. This also does not impact client services. We are eager to see the economy turn around soon.”

    Analysis

    This appears to be a case of a firm retrenching to its core coverage and market. In late 2007 AMR started expanding on its enterprise applications and supply chain base to address more horizontal topics (e.g.,see Interview with AMR CEO Tony Friscia and VP Jonathan Yarmis on AMR’s new “emerging and disruptive technologies” service). Expansions like this require not just analyst horsepower, but also the ability to get the sales force to understand the new selling propositions and prospect base for the new research. This retrenchment could be an acknowledgement that this type of expansion in this economic client is not something that AMR could afford.

    One interesting data point is the Continue reading

    Gartner has a channel on YouTube

    Gartner Channel on YouTubeA quick reminder that Gartner periodically posts videos to the Gartner Channel on YouTube. Most recent videos are quick interviews with analysts and guest speakers at Symposium.

    While not a source of in-depth insight into analyst opinion, these videos can provide both IT managers and vendor analyst relations (AR) professionals with interesting data points. Well worth following.

    This Holiday Season Don’t Play Santa Claus to the Analysts [AR practitioner question]

    question-mark-graphic.jpgWe are starting to get the annual round of inquiries about what is the best gift for AR to send to analysts during the holiday season. Common Items that vendors have sent in the past include bottles of expensive wine, boxes of chocolates, consumer electronic gadgets, pen sets, clocks, Steuben glass trinkets, and so on. This annual exercise can produce anxiety in AR staff and distract from the true strategic mission of AR, which is generating leads and assisting sales to close business. 

    Frankly, this annual exercise is a waste of precious time and resources. Why? Analysts receive so many packages during the holidays that any one package does not stand out. Many items are not even kept by analysts, either ending up in the trash or in the coffee room for administrative staff to pick through.

    While some analysts like gifts, many others cannot Continue reading

    Yankee analysts – Ovum and IDC are hiring

    Update: 8/28/08 11:13 am PT – SageCircle has already forwarded contact information for four former Yankee analysts to analyst firms. If you are in contact with any former analysts please let them know about this free service.

    SageCircle has been contacted – via Twitter - by IDC and Ovum indicating that they would be delighted to talk with former Yankee analysts about career opportunities. If interested, send your contact information to “info [at] sagecircle.com” and we will pass the information to the appropriate managers at the firms.

    Are the vendor-centric analyst firms heading for tough times? Will end-user centric analyst firms do fine?

    Forrester and Gartner both posted double digit gains in Q2FY08 while IDC and Yankee Group are laying off analysts. What’s up? 

    One explanation might be the difference in client base composition of the two types of analyst firms. Forrester and especially Gartner get most of their revenues from end user clients and much less from vendors. For example, we estimate that over 70% of Gartner’s revenues come from IT managers in corporations. Contrast that with IDC where we estimate that it gets over 85% of its revenue from technology vendors. This difference is very relevant because enterprise end users don’t dramatically decrease their spending on analyst contracts during an economic downturn, they are pretty steady. Often they are using analyst information to validate and justify IT expenses.  Vendors, on the other hand, dramatically change their spending on analyst contracts during economic downturns. This is because most analyst services are paid by marketing budgets, which are usually the first to be cut as an economic recession approaches.

    This was the pattern during the last major tech economic downturn, 2000-2003, during the post-Y2K period and concurrent ecommerce Dot Bomb. While Gartner’s vendor business cratered during this period, its end-user business was reasonably Continue reading

    Yankee Group official statement – List of analysts laid off

    As SageCircle receives more information about which Yankee Group analysts have been caught in this reorganization we will add them to this list.

    Updated: 8/28/08 9:05 am PT - Removed Nick Spencer from list per his request. According to Mr. Spencer: “left YG some weeks ago to take a position at RIM.”

    Updated: 8/27/08 6:00 pm PT – According to source, Yankee will retain only 28 analysts. According to the ARinsights’ ARchitect analyst database, Yankee had 82 analysts before this reorganization.

    Updated: 8/27/08 10:57 am PT – 12 names added

    Updated: 8/27/08 10:31 am PT – seven names added. Also, the overall number of layoffs is being reported at 25% of headcount, not the originally thought 10%

    Updated: 8/26/08 3:14 pm PT - one name added

    Sign up for the free SageCircle Coffee Talk “What to do when an analyst is laid off” on Tuesday, September 2nd, at 8:30 am US Pacific time. Register at http://www.sagecircle.com/pages/Coffee_talk

     

    Here is the official statement that Yankee Group provided SageCircle on 8/26/08:

    “Yankee Group is making changes to better align the company for success. Known as Continue reading

    Yankee Group reorganizes and lays off approximately 10% of analysts

    SageCircle has learned that Yankee Group has initiated a round of analyst layoffs. At this time the exact number of staff and coverage is not known, but we have heard that 10% might be the size of the action. AR teams need to hope for the best for their favorite Yankee analysts, but plan for the worst.

    Of course, layoffs impact real people with families and obligations. Often AR people are genuinely friendly with the analysts they work with and this sort of news can be a shock. Unfortunately for AR professionals, analyst firm layoffs also raise important issues that need to be addressed ASAP no matter how much sympathy they feel for the analysts caught in the layoffs.

    The stark reality is that an analyst firm will not admit that they have pushed critical intellectual property out the door. Because none of the major analyst firms – including Yankee – have knowledge management Continue reading

    Q&A from SageCircle’s “Introduction to Twitter for AR” webinar – Firm handles, retweet, protocols and more

    icon-social-media-blue.jpgAt the four sessions of the “Introduction to Twitter for AR” webinar held in August, there were some interesting questions that came up. Here are answers to some of the questions.

    Shameless Marketing – If you missed the webinar, you can schedule a SageCircle “AR Briefing” on Twitter for you and your colleagues. Click here for a brochure or contact us at 650-274-8309 for more information.

    Q: What about firms that follow you? Do you recommend letting them follow you? (e.g., Gartner)

    A: Firm handles (e.g., @forrester, @Gartner_inc and @the451group) are typically used to promote the firm. For example, @the451group is used to announce research note publications and @Gartner_inc is used by the Gartner PR team as a press release wire. @forrester is often used at Forrester events to facilitate info to attendees and accept questions during sessions. There is little or no downside to letting them follow you. On the other hand, you should carefully consider whether you should follow them. Because they are marketing tools, they could add clutter to your timeline without necessarily giving you useful information.

    Q: Why retweet? To pass along a tweet to others?

    A: Retweets are used for a couple of purposes. One is to give your reply some context by including Continue reading

    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

    Analyst firms should notify vendors about staff changes

    Especially vendors with scheduled briefings, consulting days, or key projects by analysts  who submit their resignations

    Analyst relations (AR) professionals are sometimes blindsided in the final preparations for a long scheduled briefing, analyst summit, or analyst consulting day (aka SAS) to discover that the analyst had submitted his or her resignation several weeks before. Worse yet are situations where the vendor has just conducted a briefing only to learn days later that the analyst has just left the firm. Either way it is bad for AR who now has to scramble to change plans and could experience the wrath of executives who perceive that AR just wasted their time by being uninformed.

    For a variety of reasons, analyst firms are reluctant to admit that an analyst is leaving the firm. However, these reasons are insufficient for withholding critical information from AR teams who work hard to facilitate the flow of information from the vendor to the analyst firms. It is not appropriate for the firm to arrange a last minute substitution without Continue reading

    Why analysts matter – “I get asked daily in one medium or another who to buy”

    Some analyst relations (AR) managers are lucky in that their executives really get the analysts and their impact on the vendor’s leads and sales deals. Alas, not all AR professionals are so lucky. However, there is a resource to use to educate* executives about the impact of the analysts – the analysts’ own words. For example, here is a throwaway line by Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang in Starting the Forrester Wave: White Label Social Networks and Community Platforms:

              “I get asked daily in one medium or another who to buy”

    Jeremiah is very good about keeping vendors and end-user clients alike up-to-date on what he is working on via his blog posts. This particular line was not bragging, but explaining one purpose of the Forrester Wave, which is to help technology buyers develop their short list of vendors to invite to a bid. Because it was not the main purpose of the post, I think that makes it even more powerful education tool as it Continue reading

    Right reasons – Evaluate why you are purchasing analyst services [Purchasing Analyst Services, Part 2]

    icon-budget-cuts-105w.jpgThere are many reasons why companies, enterprises, and vendors buy analysts services. Unfortunately, many buyers do not carefully document their reasons for acquiring analyst services which often leads to buying the wrong services from the wrong firms.

    Two prime beneficiaries of this type of mistake are Gartner and Forrester because they are often the only firms with any significant mindshare with buyers. They also have the largest sales forces knocking on doors. Because both firms are the highest priced – and raising prices further still – going with the well known brands as a default can be an expensive mistake. That is not to say that Forrester and Gartner cannot deliver business value at market rates on particular topics, but other firms might deliver equal or better advice for less money.

    Buyers should carefully examine the desired outcomes for using analyst research and recommendations. For instance, if a CIO wants to ensure that her budgets for a industry specific technology are in line with others in her market, then going with a firm with a strong research team in that vertical is important. Another example is a vendor looking to Continue reading

    Notes from Gartner’s Quarterly AR Call – Themes are royalty, expanded editorial calendar, org changes

    On Thursday, June 19th Gartner’s Vendor Relations team held its regular quarterly analyst relations (AR) call. Because the Gartnerians do not currently offer a transcript of the call, just a replay, SageCircle is providing detailed notes.

    SageCircle Advisory clients are encouraged to schedule an inquiry to discuss the call and how to apply the insights to their specific situations.

    Themes – Research themes are important organizing principles like topics, roles and industries. Gartner themes cut across all boundaries and most research organizations write themes for their perspective. Themes are coordinated by the Senior Research Board. Themes are usually new or emerging topics, though some are existing topics with new relevance or enhanced impact. You should expect to get questions about themes during briefings and anticipate analysts using themes as a point-of-reference. Listed are the existing themes with their “champions.”

    UBM buys Informa who bought Datamonitor who bought Ovum who bought…

    In a classic “big fish eating a smaller fish eating a smaller fish” scenario, UK-based UBM announced its plan to acquire Informa. Informa earlier acquired Datatmonitor, which had acquired Ovum and Butler. Ovum, of course, had made three rapid fire acquisitions (i.e., RHK, Summit Strategies, Orbys) of its own before Datamonitor acquired it.

    These serial acquisitions are distracting to management and analysts alike so research quality and timeliness could suffer.  Also, some analysts will likely think “that’s it” and start developing a personal exit strategy. Because analysts are the core of any firm, anything that could cause them to walk could dramatically impact the relevance of the firm to your AR strategies and analyst lists. Besides the impact on analysts, this latest merger might be the last straw for sales representatives and client service personnel as well.  As a consequence, AR teams need to be proactive in ascertaining potential pitfalls and opportunities this latest industry M&A move might provide.

    SageCircle Technique: Steps* to immediately take:

    • Ascertain whether any of your primary analysts might be affected
    • Schedule inquiries with key analysts to Continue reading

    Why AR is more important than PR for a Startup [Startup Saturday]

    rocket-for-startups.jpgResearch by SageCircle, H&K (in multiple Technology Influencer Studies conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates), Lighthouse AR and other AR advisory groups has consistently shown that the most significant influence on purchases is peer recommendation and personal contacts.  Second is industry analyst opinion, which leads all other influence including advertising and PR.  For a startup attempting to break into an existing market or carve out a new market space this is critical information.

    For a startup, traditional PR is certainly important and should not be ignored, but allocation of resources to AR can provide a higher ROI.  Press is very transient and even an outstanding article or mention does not have staying power over the long run if it gets buried in the clutter of a Google search.  Analyst reports have a much longer shelf life and may be referred to months after they are published as a relevant research note is more likely to surface during a research search on the analyst firm website.  Good research consumers will then contact the analyst firm for an update or discuss the report during an inquiry.

    Industry analysts also convey information at industry events, act as sources for reporters, and can even have influence on Wall Street.  It is therefore critical that they are Continue reading

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