Make sure to attend relevant Magic Quadrant presentations at Symposium ITxpo Marketplace Theater (part 4 of 7 about Gartner’s Q3 AR Call)

Gartner’s Analyst Relations team holds a quarterly conference call for the analyst relations (AR) community. SageCircle occasionally will post about the call, but for this particular call there was so much information that we have a seven-part series to highlight details and provide commentary. See below for links to all seven posts.

Logo - Symposium 2009One of the recommendations that the Gartnerians gave on the AR Call was to attend some Magic Quadrant (MQ) presentations at the ITxpo Theater. This is a suggestion that we heartily endorse.

AR professionals are probably so tired of thinking about the MQ and arguing with the analysts – especially if the update project was relatively recent – that it would be easy to blow off this opportunity. However, attending a presentation like this can provide some excellent opportunities to gather some insights such as:

  • How analysts tend to position the research to end-user clients
  • How analysts engage their end-user clients when answering questions about the MQ
  • Intelligence when the MQ might be updated
  • Intelligence about how the market criteria are evolving
  • Intelligence about how the analyst might rearrange the dots if it has been many months since the last update

SageCircle Technique:

  • AR teams should identify and prioritize which MQ presentations to attend
  • AR should chat with the end users after a presentation to learn more about how they use the Continue reading

So you were left off a Wave or Magic Quadrant – what next?

We don't exist according to ForresterIn January 2009, The Forrester Wave™: Community Platforms, Q1 2009 was published. This happened to be the inaugural publication of a Wave for this particular market. The primary author of this Wave was Jeremiah Owyang (bio, Twitter handle, blog) who conducted an incredibly transparent – for a Forrester or Gartner analyst – process for the creation of this Wave (see list of relevant blog posts at the end of this post). Jeremiah’s use of social media gave vendors in this nascent market plenty of opportunity to know what was going on with this research.

As is with the case with any piece of analyst research covering a new, dynamic, and extremely fragmented market only a fraction of the possible vendors can be fit into the time and space available. In this case, it was nine of more than 100 vendors. Neighborhood America, a social networking platform vendor, was left off the Community Platform Wave and did not take kindly to the exclusion. Neighborhood America created a web page, “Why weren’t we included in the Forrester Wave Report?”, to tell its side of the story. They also put a link on their home page (graphic above) to make sure visitors knew to go to the page. The explanation was reasonably well done (SageCircle would have counseled some additional text to provide context) and did not overtly attack either Forrester or the analyst. The latter part is important because an attack would have looked like sour grapes by a sore loser.

This was a very smart step to do. You can see the Community Platforms Wave graphic on Flickr and the PDF of the research note is easily available for free on the web. As a consequence, Neighborhood America prospects might see the graphic or Wave research and decide to drop them from a pending sales opportunity without further information. While Neighborhood America’s response will not get the breadth of readership that a Forrester research note will, it is a useful exercise.

SageCircle does not know the exact details about why Continue reading

Vendors, through reprints, help keep the analysts influential

There is an inherent contradiction in vendors saying the industry analysts are not relevant in the age of social media, while at the same time spending tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on research reprints like the Gartner Magic Quadrant or Forrester Wave. If the analysts are no longer influential – some vendor executives actually make that declarative of a statement – then why are their companies wasting the money spent on reprints? Reprints are not chump change as Gartner in its Q1 earnings call revealed that it makes about $7 million per year in reprint rights. Plus, our Google Alerts set up for the Gartner Magic Quadrant and the Forrester Wave come in every day – without exception – with multiple new hits on vendors bragging about their positions on one or more of these iconic research graphics. 

A small irony is that the vendors promoting analyst research in press releases, blog posts, Twitter tweets, reprints on websites, and quotes in sales presentations only help to reinforce the perception among enterprise technology products and services buyers that these analysts matter. To a certain extent, vendors are spending their money in order to do brand marketing for the analysts. Pretty good deal for the analyst firms, eh? Of course, the two biggest beneficiaries of this largess are Gartner and Forrester.

SageCircle has previously Continue reading

Former Forrester analyst criticizes the Wave… but why did he wait?

Source: Corporate Integrity website

Source: Corporate Integrity website

Michael Rasmussen (blog, bio, Twitter) is a former Forrester analyst now with his own boutique firm, Corporate Integrity. In his recent blog post The Forrester GRC ‘Ripple’ (OOOPS . . . I Mean, ‘Wave’) Michael calmly dissects the Wave methodology and makes several suggestions for improving it. It is well worth the read. 

However, this SageCircle blog post is actually in response to a Twitter direct message Carter received about Rasmussen’s post: “while part of me admires Rasmussen for offering critique, why didn’t he do so while AT Forrester? Hints at sour grapes.”

Probable Answer: It was only after he left the firm could he see the problem in the methodology

Major firms are constantly tweaking their methodologies with input from the analysts. But that is typically done around the edges with the goal of increasing the efficiency, fixing minor problems, or silencing vendor complaints. Frankly, it is the rare analyst at a major firm who takes the time to do an in-depth analysis of her firm’s research methodology to see where it is really broken. This lack of observations occurs for a variety of reasons:

  • Analysts are too busy with day-to-day activities
  • They drank the kool-aid that what the firm does is perfect
  • “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” attitude toward things that appear to be working

So Rasmussen should not be criticized for not criticizing the Wave methodology when he was an employee of Forrester. Rather than think of this post as “sour grapes,” it is much more likely that he did not have an “ah, ha!” moment until he was on the outside looking in.  We all know that hindsight is 20-20.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Research consumers and AR professionals should develop a deep understanding of the methodologies used by their key analysts
  • Research consumers should press analysts for detail on 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

Best practice for responding to analyst draft research

This best practice comes from guest contributor Gerry Van Zandt (Twitter handle), AR manager with HP Services.

Often (as you know) analysts will provide drafts of research notes or event-reaction pieces to vendors to review for inaccuracies.  You have a limited opportunity to provide a response or comment and need a process for action. Here are tips on how best to respond to draft research:

  • Be prompt — Help the analyst(s) by meeting the often very tight deadline they are providing for feedback. Respect the analyst’s business and don’t Continue reading
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