This analysis does not look at areas of interest to investors, but seeks to pull out insights that are relevant to clients and prospects of Forrester Research, the number two advisory analyst firm, as well as communications and IT vendor analyst relations (AR) teams.
This post is part one of two parts when it comes to an analysis of the Forrester Q3 earnings. This is because the 10-Q, which will come out within two weeks of the earnings call, has more detail than the currently available 8-K and the earnings call. We will review that document when it is available.
The key take away from Forrester’s Q3 2009 earnings announcement is that Forrester is weathering this economic downturn much better than the last recession. In that recession, Forrester saw revenues plunge ~34% and experienced a broad and deep reduction in staff. After three quarters in 2009, overall revenue is only down 3% with research revenues actually up 2%. Headcount is 960, down 8% from 2008 year end, but still 23% higher than YE2007. In addition, Forrester currently has 16 sales and 4 research openings so it is not simply reducing headcount, but selectively filling positions as well. Furthermore, CEO George Colony told the Wall Street analysts on today’s call that he plans on adding 10 to 20 sales headcount in the 4th quarter (it is not clear if this expansion includes or is incremental to the current sales job openings on the website). This contrasts with the 51% reduction in staff from YE2000 to YE2002. Finally, at the end of Q3 2009 Forrester is sitting on $280m in cash and short term investments.
Why should this matter to enterprise clients and vendor analyst relations (AR) staff? Because Forrester is not in survival mode it has not had to slash sales or research headcount. Rather it has continued to keep the client–facing staff at a level that makes retaining existing and adding new enterprise clients relatively straightforward. This means that Forrester’s ability to maintain its research agenda and marketplace influence are not being seriously imperiled as 2009 comes to a close.
For AR teams this means that there is unlikely to be disruptive analyst turnover that would negatively impact analyst lists and interactions plans. Unfortunately, there is still the likelihood that sales representatives and analysts will be hitting the vendor community hard for incremental consulting/service units engagements and Roleview seats. Vendors should realize that not buying (more…)