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

Forrester buying Jupiter – smart, but not a big deal

There has been commentary in the blogosphere about the larger meaning of Forrester’s acquisition of JupiterResearch. Typically this commentary has focused on points like the analyst industry is consolidating and that major firms are losing relevance and influence in the age of blogs and other social media. It is our opinion that this commentary is wrong and that the acquisition of Jupiter by Forrester does not portend some deep consolidation of the analyst industry due to the rise of the blogosphere, rather it is business as usual. 

To get some perspective, let’s look at a little history of the analyst industry.

Analyst firms have long used acquisitions to fill gaps in coverage and geography or pick up client bases. For example, in the last 15 years since Gartner went public for the second time, it has made over 70 acquisitions to pick up expertise in specialized coverage, get into new markets (e.g., learning software), and to broaden its footprint in Continue reading

Forrester acquires JupiterResearch – will the analysts stay or walk?

logo-forrester.gifForrester Research acquired JupiterResearch for $23 million in cash plus assumed liabilities. JupiterResearch joins Forrester’s Marketing & Strategy Client Group. Click here to read the press release and click here to read a blog post by analyst Josh Bernoff.

The key question for any analyst firm merger & acquisition (M&A) activity is whether the acquired analysts – the core intellectual property value – stay with their new employer or leave. For example, in the case of Gartner’s acquisition of META more than 50% of the analysts left voluntarily or through buyouts within a few months.

Our initial impression is that the JupiterResearch acquisition is more of an expansion of Forrester’s services than a consolidation move to eliminate a competitor. This is similar to Forrester’s Giga acquisition, but different from Gartner’s grab of META which was clearly a strategic move to Continue reading

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