Gartner surprised by new competitors that steal enterprise clients – 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.

 Gartner is the dominant player in the analyst market with more than a 40% market share according to information market research firm Outsell, Inc. When it comes to the enterprise technology product and services buyer market (typically IT managers), Gartner extends this dominance to approximately 70% to 75% according to SageCircle estimates. If Gartner continues to execute as it has the last four years it will see its market share grow, even as the total market grows as well.

Gartner has achieved this dominance through both hard work and dumb luck. Hard work as represented by making more than 70 acquisitions since 1994, doubling the sales force since 2004 to nearly 1,000 representatives, and creating mindshare with recurring research deliverables like the Magic Quadrant, Hype Cycle, and Gartner Symposium. The dumb luck comes in the form of competitors that focus on vendors rather than end users, fail to build sales and marketing functions, and/or are complacent to the point of being Gartner’s implicit junior partner even though they have the resources to invest in more effective competition.

While there are no signs that Gartner is going to get lazy or stupid next year, 2010 might see its luck run out when it comes to ineffectual or complacent competition. SageCircle sees firms that bring attitude, business attributes, and wiliness to invest to the game unlike others in the past decade. Some examples include:

  • Altimeter Group – While still tiny, with only four analyst/consultants, Altimeter Group has tremendous enterprise visibility and mindshare due to its principals’ exquisite exploitation of social media, conventional speaking opportunities, press quotes, and client contacts from their Forrester tenures. This market awareness should prove to be a significant lead generator that other more established analyst boutiques can only envy. It has made an important investment by starting to build a sales organization. Its current Achilles’ heel is that it is perceived as mostly a Continue reading

TowerGroup acquired by Corporate Executive Board

Logo - TowerGroup10/13/09 2:25 pm – TowerGroup announces acquisition by Corporate Executive Board

Corporate Executive Board has announced that it will acquire TowerGroup from MasterCard Advisors for an undisclosed price. MasterCard Advisors, a subsidiary of MasterCard International, acquired TowerGroup in February 2004 from Reuters Enterprise. Reuters acquired TowerGroup in 1999.

Many of you might not be familiar with the Corporate Executive Board. The CEB is a research and education firm that delivers data and tools, best practice research, and peer insight to enterprise executives and professional staff. It is a public company (NASDAQ: EXBD) with revenue of $228m and net income of $18m in 1H09.  It has more than 5,100 client companies and 120,000 members. Its business model is primarily built on annual subscriptions with access to published research, inquiries with researchers, and access to peers through networking councils. So CEB sounds like an IT advisory analyst firm like Gartner in many respects. However, CEB does not research technology markets and vendors like a Gartner or IDC, rather it focuses on best practices for managing a corporate function. 

SageCircle has been briefed by TowerGroup. Our analysis is that the TowerGroup acquisition is clearly an expansion of Corporate Executive Board’s services and not 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 keep META out of Yankee Group and kill a competitor. Regardless of motivation, it is still possible that Continue reading

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