Forrester or Gartner launch a client-only social network – Looking ahead to 2010

Ticon-crystal-ball.jpghis 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.

As 2009 comes to a close there are only a few examples of analyst-created communities built on social networks. One example is the IDC Insights Community, which was launched in March 2009 and is built on a white-label social network platform. This is an open community that anybody, including competitors to IDC, can register to join. This is an interesting experiment by IDC as it potentially enhances IDC’s ability to increase its visibility with enterprise clients.

While 2010 will see more analyst-operated open communities built on free tools like LinkedIn Groups or purchased social networking platforms, the most interesting and controversial communities will be the “gated communities” that Forrester and/or Gartner might launch. These closed communities would only be available to clients of the firms.

Social media purists will no doubt howl that a closed social network violates the spirit of communities and that the firms are dumb for not using the communities a marketing tool to build awareness to non-clients. Perhaps these objections are valid, but there are valid reasons why closed, managed communities will actually be welcomed by enterprise end users.  Not everybody is comfortable with the rough-and-tumble attitude of some open communities. In some cases a Continue reading

Acquisitions continue to remake the analyst landscape – 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.

It does not take a magical crystal ball to predict that there will be acquisitions in the analyst market. Acquisitions have always been a business tool of analyst firms. However, there are some potentially interesting developments on the acquisition front for 2010 and beyond.

Roll ups to take on Gartner and Forrester – One of the ways that Gartner was able to achieve its market dominance was 60+ acquisitions in the 1990s under the leadership of then CEO Manny Fernandez.  Since then there has been only one serious attempt to use a roll up strategy to develop a competitor to Gartner and Forrester. That was by Monitor Clipper Partners in 2004, who attempted to buy META Group to combine with the earlier acquisition of Yankee Group to form the core of a new broad-based major analyst firm. This plan was derailed by Gartner CEO Gene Hall’s smart and strategic grab of META. In stark contrast to the last ten years, 2010 could see three firms use a roll up strategy: Corporate Executive Board, IDC (for Insights units) and Ovum-Datamonitor.

Mid-sized firms get gobbled up – As Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research demonstrates, being a mid-sized firm with a price tag in the tens of millions dollars does not deter determined acquirers. There are a number of potential acquiring firms with the financial resources to buy a mid-sized firm. One firm likely being wooed by potential acquirers is the Burton Group, which has a solid reputation, desirable research coverage, a sales force, and a client base that includes enterprises and government agencies.

Forrester continues adding resources for marketing professionals – Forrester continued its push deeper into research and services relevant to marketing professionals with its recent acquisition of Strategic Oxygen. In 2010, Forrester is likely to continue adding assets for its Marketing and Strategy Professionals Client Group. While this strategy is certainly reasonable because it helps Forrester stay out of the path of Gartner, it risks diluting its Continue reading

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

Analyst Ecosystem News – Comings and goings, company news

Tip o’ the hat to the tipsters who provided us with the following tips. Most prefer to be anonymous.

 Arrivals:

Ptak, Noel & Associates – Mike Karp (email) joins Ptak, Noel covering storage and storage services.  Mike will be working out of offices in the Boston area.

Departures:

Freeform Dynamics – David Tebbutt (Twitter) covered social and environmental computing

Gartner – Jim Lundy (Twitter) covered social media has left for Saba (vendor)

Company News:

ARinsights enables users to view analyst photos on their smart phones. Using ARchitect™’s Outlook plugin, AR managers can quickly and easily create an Outlook contact that includes the analyst’s picture. This can be incredibly handy if you are Continue reading

Highly recommended – Participating in the Gartner Quarterly AR Call on January 7, 2010

The topic we hear analyst relations (AR) professionals and other vendor staff talk the most about is Gartner. There is always something brewing about the Gartnerians’ business model, research methodology, product management and policies that gets under the skin of AR pros around the globe. While there is widespread feeling in the AR community that Gartner does not listen to us, we think that a productive use of an hour is participating in the Gartner Quarterly AR Call and telling the Gartner executives exactly what is on your mind. With a variety of GVPs and VPs participating, we think that AR pros should give these executives the benefit of the doubt that they will listen to well reasoned observations with positive suggestions about how to correct the situation. To register, click here.

This particular AR community will be a little more — and a little less – interesting than most. More interesting because the focus is on the details of how AMR is going to be integrated into Gartner (click here for a round up of SageCircle posts on the AMR acquisition by Gartner). Less interesting if AMR is not relevant to your AR program or if you are not an enterprise research client of AMR.

This particular call should also prove to be interesting to enterprise (aka end user) clients of AMR Research. While the focus is on issues of interest for AR professionals, enterprise clients of AMR should be able to pick up important intelligence about what is happening with their favorite AMR analysts and that could impact contract renewal decisions.

Replay of the webinar “SageCircle Analysis of Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research” is now available. To receive a link and password to watch a streaming version of the webinar please email “info [at] sagecircle [dot] com”. Please include your job title and company name. Agenda:

  • Basics of the deal
  • SageCircle Analysis of AMR’s and Gartner’s Motivation
  • Highlights from Gartner December 3rd AR Community Call
  • Commentary on Points from Gartner AR Community Call
  • Recommendations for Research Clients
    • Enterprise
    • Vendors
  • Recommendations for Vendor AR Teams

—- Text from Gartner’s email —-

Dear Colleague:As promised during our Continue reading

Gartner acquires AMR Research – roundup of posts

SageCircle has published a number of posts concerning the acquisition of AMR Research by Gartner, Inc. This blog post will be a convenient go-to place for a roundup of other SageCircle articles. The posts are listed in reverse chronological order.

In addition to this public information, SageCircle Advisory and Online SageContent Library received a SageFlash with deeper analysis and more recommendations. Furthermore, many clients used the event as the trigger for an inquiry with a SageCircle strategist to discuss the implication of AMR being swallowed up by Gartner.

  1. Highly recommended – Participating in the Gartner Quarterly AR Call on January 7, 2010
  2. Ovum ups the ante in campaign to recruit AMR analysts and sales representatives
  3. Analyst departures start at AMR Research
  4. Questions from the SageCircle webinar on Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research
  5. Special offers for AMR Research’s clients, sales professionals and analysts
  6. Announcing the SageCircle free webinar on Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research
  7. Gartner Acquiries AMR Research for $64m

Replay of the webinar “SageCircle Analysis of Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research” is now available. To receive a link and password to watch a streaming version of the webinar please email “info [at] sagecircle [dot] com”. Please include your job title and company name. Agenda:

  • Basics of the deal
  • SageCircle Analysis of AMR’s and Gartner’s Motivation
  • Highlights from Gartner AR Community Call
  • Commentary on Points from Gartner AR Community Call
  • Recommendations for Research Clients
    • Enterprise
    • Vendors
  • Recommendations for Vendor AR Teams

What should you do if one your top ranked analyst firms is involved in a merger & acquisition event?

SageCircle is your hotline for breaking analyst newsM&A will be part of the analyst ecosystem in 2010 and beyond. Whenever there is a significant event in the analyst market, SageCircle clients receive an immediate SageFlash with analyis and recommendations on the steps research consumers and AR should do. In addition, Advisory clients can schedule a phone-based inquiry to discuss how to apply these steps to their particular situation. We can do individual calls as well as a teleconference for an enterprise’s or vendor’s entire team.
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Non-clients can quickly and easily sign up for a two-hour Advisory Hour Block for only $495. Please give SageCircle a call at 503-636-1500 if you want to discuss the implications of this layoff.

SageCircle AR Podcast for December 15, 2009

SageCircle AR Podcast ArtworkThe AR podcast is a review of the latest news and trends in the analyst ecosystem along with tips and tricks for analyst relations professionals and analyst research consumers. SageCircle strategists Dave Eckert and Carter Lusher co-host this bi-weekly program. You can find all the SageCircle podcasts on our podcast page.

Visit the podcast page to download the MP3 file or listen to the episodes on your computer.  Click here to subscribe to the podcast within iTunes

SCP 15: Table of contents. Numbers in parentheses refer to minutes:seconds when the article starts within the podcast.

[00:00]  Opening

[01:06]  News – Gartner acquires AMR Research

[09:10]  How likely is it that Gartner will retain AMR analysts and sales representatives

[14:37]  Interview with Datamonitor-Ovum Research Fellow Jonathan Yarmis about his role

[21:06]  How the new Datamonitor-Ovum will encourage collaboration between Continue reading

Ovum ups the ante in campaign to recruit AMR analysts and sales representatives

Tip o’ the hat to the tipsters who sent in information about this Ovum news

Updated 12/16/09 1:32 pm PT – Added photo of truck outside Gartner’s HQ

Here is the Ovum truck making the rounds around Gartner main offices on Top Gallant Road in Stamford, CT (click on the picture to enlarge). Carter’s office use to be on the second floor nearest Top Gallant Road. Carter says that this truck would be quite visible from any of the window offices.

Please read the comments below. A Guerilla Billboards staffer mentions that a member of Gartner’s legal team came out and told the driver to get lost. Interesting.

As SageCircle reported in Special offers for AMR Research’s clients, sales professionals and analysts Ovum is one of the firms that is making a play for AMR’s sales and analyst staff. This is a common tactic by competing firms immediately after the announcement of a sizeable acquisition. However, offers like these do not necessarily result in the pickup of key staff because there is little effort put into the campaign. Usually there is just an announcement on the poaching firms’ websites and maybe a few phone calls to staff at the targeted firm.

Ovum has demonstrated that it is willing to increase the stakes by actually investing in getting the attention of the staff at the targeted firm. SageCircle has received reports about the rolling billboard that Ovum put on the streets of Boston to circle the Gartner and AMR Research offices (see picture). While this technique is likely a modest expense it does demonstrate that Ovum is serious about expanding its presence in the US market where it has a relatively small presence. In addition, it is a nifty publicity stunt sure to get some notice.

This development could work to the advantage of enterprises and vendors looking to wrap up contracts before Continue reading

Analyst departures start at AMR Research

12/10/09 9:35 am PT - Initial post

SageCircle received a credible tip and subsequently confirmed that AMR Research VP Lora Cecere, who managed a team of analysts on how to drive greater value from the supply chain, is leaving AMR. At this point we do not know the circumstances, e.g., whether Lora left voluntarily or was part of a downsizing due to Gartner’s acquisition. SageCircle had received reports that Lora was one of AMR’s top producers. Lora had been at Gartner from 2000-02.

This comes in wake of the Gartner SVP of Research Peter Sondergaard’s announcement that all analysts had been given offer letters to stay with the new AMR. This could be the case of an analyst deciding not to join the new firm or AMR doing some downsizing prior to the official takeover by Gartner to spare the new owners the task of laying off analysts they said they would retain.

If you have tips about analysts who are leaving AMR Research or related research areas at Gartner, please send them to “info [at] sagecircle [dot] com” and we will confirm them before posting them.

Replay of the webinar “SageCircle Analysis of Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research” is now available. To receive a link Continue reading

ZL Technologies files amended complaint against Gartner

This information was provided originally as a comment to an existing blog post. It is being promoted to a full blog post to ensure that the news receives proper attention.

ZLTI v Gartner in logos

Tip o’ the hat to Rob Elliott of ZL Technologies for this update…

On December 4, 2009, ZL Technologies filed an amended complaint against Gartner, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The Court granted ZL the opportunity to clarify and augment our earlier allegations of defamation and trade libel.

In the first round of ZL’s legal dispute with Gartner, Gartner argued to the Court that its rankings and other statements in the proprietary “Magic Quadrant Reports” are merely opinions that are not based upon fact, and that they are understood as such by the readers of those reports. However, Gartner’s Continue reading

Questions from the SageCircle webinar on Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research

There were many excellent questions asked at SageCircle’s webinar where we analyzed Gartner’s acquisition of AMR (click here for our original blog post). Here are a few of the questions and our answers:

 Question: Do you think that there will be an examination of this M&A event based on anti-trust considerations?

 Answer: SageCircle strategists are not lawyers so we cannot discuss the legal aspects of this particular event. It is true that Gartner is without a doubt the dominate enterprise advisory analyst firm so even the acquisition of a relatively tiny competitor – AMR is about 3% the size of Gartner – does raise questions about competition in the marketplace, pricing power, and so on.  However, even though this is a big deal in the analyst ecosystem, overall it is very small and not likely to get the attention of regulators, either in the US or Europe. Of course, some large company or coalition of companies could hire some high-powered law firm to “encourage” the anti-trust regulators to examine the deal, which has happened in other anti-trust cases in the technology marketplace. But who would lead and fund such an effort? Forrester? Unlikely as even CEO George Colony describes his firm’s relationship with Gartner as a duopoly which confers significant advantages to both firms. Maybe a firm like Datamonitor-Ovum might be interested in doing so. A vendor? Most vendors would not want to take up this task for fear of reprisal. Maybe Oracle would because Larry Ellison has gone after Gartner and specific analysts in the press in the past. So while it is not impossible for this M&A event to get the attention of regulators, we do not give it high probability that it will.

Question: Do you believe there will be healthy collaboration between Gartner and AMR analysts? Given that Gartner plans to keep the two teams separate, do you anticipate more of the silo approach as currently exists within Gartner?

Answer: It is very unlikely that there will be collaboration between the various analyst teams at Gartner and AMR. Gartner does not have a history or culture of collaboration, nor has it invested in a knowledge management and collaboration infrastructure. In addition, Gartner analysts are scattered all around the globe with many working out of their homes.  This limits the chances for “water cooler” discussions. Finally, there is the point Continue reading

Special offers for AMR Research’s clients, sales professionals and analysts

Not surprisingly, the acquisition of AMR Research by Gartner is inspiring other analyst firms to launch campaigns to capture AMR clients, sales team members, and even analysts. 

Two firms that have already announced client switch campaigns include Ovum (see here) and Ventana Research (click here). For research consumers who are looking for market and product/services insights and advice, rather than access to a firm for influencing purposes, this could be an opportunity to purchase access to analysts at a very competitive rate. At a minimum, enterprises and vendors with AMR contracts coming up for renewal should talk to Ovum and Ventana, if these firms have research relevant to you.

Ovum is also interested in talking with AMR analysts and sales representatives. For more information, please contact Rosemary Masterson (email).

Any analyst firm with special deals for AMR or Gartner clients, sales representatives, or analysts should notify SageCircle at Continue reading

Are you checking for the year-end prediction research notes?

Well, it’s that time of the year when thoughts turn to holiday parties, mistletoe and… the annual deluge of analyst predictions for the coming year. For example, the rollout of Gartner Predicts research notes started in November with 44 published so far. Another example is IDC starting its series of industry Top 10 Predictions webinars and reports. There are many more examples from single practitioners to major firms. 

Many in the vendor community dismiss the annual flurry of predictions because they perceive them to be fluff with extremely short shelf lives. It is also easy to miss these annual notes if you have alerts keyed to your company name because companies are not often mentioned in the notes. However, your sales people can be blindsided by one of these notes if the analyst denigrates your market, even if your company is not directly mentioned. Don’t be surprised if the content of a prediction appears to be a little wild-eyed and out of character for your favorite sober-sided analyst – they are encouraged to write in an edgy style in order to be entertaining and perhaps get press attention.

Don’t forget to check the firms’ press releases as well, because they can differ from the original prediction. For example, a Gartner prediction in Continue reading

Announcing the SageCircle free webinar on Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research

seminar.jpg

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Replay of this webinar is now available. To receive a link and password to watch a streaming version of the webinar please email “info [at] sagecircle [dot] com”. Please include your job title and company name. Agenda:

  • Basics of the deal
  • SageCircle Analysis of AMR’s and Gartner’s Motivation
  • Highlights from Gartner AR Community Call
  • Commentary on Points from Gartner AR Community Call
  • Recommendations for Research Clients
    • Enterprise
    • Vendors
  • Recommendations for Vendor AR Teams

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Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research is very interesting for a number of reasons, but it also raises a number of critical questions. To complement our blog post (click here) on the acquisition, SageCircle is offering a free webinar to expand our analysis as well as suggestions for how clients of either firm as well as vendor AR teams should respond.  Following our short presentation we will have ample time for questions. 

Our webinar is at 10 am US PT on Thursday, December 3rd (click here to register). Please feel free to forward this invitation to your colleagues.

Not by coincidence, we scheduled our webinar after Gartner’s AR Community Call, which is this Thursday, the 3rd, at 7:30 am US PT. You can register here, which we recommend you do.

This means during our webinar we will also discuss what Gartner said in its AR Community Call and how it might differ from our analysis.

SageCircle Advisory clients are encouraged to Continue reading

Gartner Acquiries AMR Research for $64m

12/1/09 7:01 am PT – Initial post. Analysis to follow.

12/1/09 11:38 am PT – Analysis added

12/2/09 7:00 am PT – Free SageCircle webinar on acquisition

Replay of the webinar “SageCircle Analysis of Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research” is now available. To receive a link and password to watch a streaming version of the webinar please email “info [at] sagecircle [dot] com”. Please include your job title and company name

Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research for $64m, approximately 1.5x revenues, is interesting in that it does not seem to fit neatly into any one of these rationales: 

  1. Additive to expand research coverage, consulting, events and other services
  2. Acquire client base
  3. Acquire sales representatives
  4. Take out direct competition to improve pricing power
  5. Prevent competition from grabbing an asset that would be used against Gartner

First:

Approximately 75% of AMR’s enterprise clients were in manufacturing/supply chain which is not consistent with Gartner’s core CIO organization. Gartner CEO Gene Hall has doubled down on IT since taking over in 2004 and eliminated non-IT focused business such as Vision Events. So does this represent a change in strategy? Perhaps the Datamonitor-Ovum strategy of going after both business and IT leaders has caused Hall to modify his approach?

AMR is primarily focused on ERP/enterprise applications, manufacturing, supply chain, retail, and sourcing. While Gartner does have some overlap, it is very uneven from one area to another. While Gartner does have a manufacturing vertical, the number of analysts is small, only seven. Furthermore, Gartner does not have brand equity in the manufacturing space so acquiring AMR manufacturing assets makes sense. Gartner’s retail analysts number just six so combining those with AMR’s analysts also makes sense. However, AMR has lost one of its top retail analysts, Janet Sherlock, just this week. Sourcing is an area that is one of Gartner’s strengths with 40 analysts listed in that space. AMR’s sourcing research took a huge blow when Phil Fersht left in late September so that particular area might not be of interest to Gartner. ERP and supply chain are grouped together at Gartner with 27 analysts. While Gartner has a strong reputation in enterprise applications, including ERP, it has less of a brand in supply chain so combining AMR supply research would be logical.

AMR’s event business is tiny in comparison to Gartner’s with only two or three targeted events per year with approximately 500 to 700 attendees each. Even if Gartner wanted to expand into other types of enterprise clients, it would not have to buy AMR to launch these types of events.

Enhancing Gartner’s advisory/consulting assets might be a possible motivation. As published research becomes more and more commoditized, enterprise clients turn to analyst firms for personalized advice and targeted consulting. Gartner has kept its analyst team relatively constant at 650 even as it has more than doubled the sales force to 952 since late 2004 (according to Continue reading

Analyst Ecosystem News – People on the Move

Icon - newsTip o’ the hat to many tipsters who provide us with the following tips. Alas, they are all shy so they requested that their names not be used. 

Arrivals:

  • Forrester – Nigel Fenwick (Twitter, personal blog) covering CIO issues
  • Forrester – Augie “August” Ray (Twitter, personal blog) covering social computing
  • SynergyACG – Eve Griliches (Twitter) covering telecommunications equipment. Prior to SynergyACG Eve was a Director at IDC.

Departures:

SageCircle AR Podcast for November 17, 2009

SageCircle AR Podcast ArtworkThe AR podcast is a review of the latest news and trends in the analyst ecosystem along with tips and tricks for analyst relations professionals and analyst research consumers. SageCircle strategists Dave Eckert and Carter Lusher co-host this bi-weekly program. You can find all the SageCircle podcasts on our podcast page.

Visit the podcast page to download the MP3 file or listen to the episodes on your computer.  Click here to subscribe to the podcast within iTunes

SCP 13: Table of contents. Numbers in parentheses refer to minutes:seconds when the article starts within the podcast.

[00:00]  Opening

[01:02]  News (ZL Technology/Gartner lawsuit; analyst firm hiring; Twitter Directories; HENRY Corporation expands)

[07:54]  Fact Checking Magic Quadrant Leaders Inflation Accusation

[15:53]  Does it matter how much Continue reading

Is Gartner inflating the number of Leaders on Magic Quadrants?

SageCircle received an email from a reader asking whether we had seen the newsletter from a boutique analyst firm, which included a comment that Gartner has been increasing the number of Leaders on Magic Quadrants. The clear implication was that this analyst was accusing Gartner of corruption for inflating the number of Leaders in order to extract revenue from vendors in the form of analyst consulting days, research reprints, and so on. Of course, this analyst competes with Gartner for contracts and access to vendor briefings.

SageCircle has not noticed any “Leaders inflation,” but then we have not been doing any systematic, in-depth research which would be required for such an observation. We do note however that Gartner is being sued by ZL Technologies because the MQ that ZL has been listed on since 2005 still has only one (1) Leader and it’s not ZL. So I guess that Gartner gets criticized if it there are too few Leaders or too many.  The joys of being the dominate market player, everybody takes potshots at you.

The boutique analyst firm offered no proof, nor does it describe the research methodology behind the claim, so we cannot evaluate the validity of the claim.  Here are some general observations:

  1. The boutique analyst firm analysts could be looking at only a few MQs relevant to their coverage and these may have been around for a number of years. Maturing markets naturally see the vendors migrate up and to the right as the market consolidates through acquisitions or failures, vendors become better at execution, and so on
  2. The boutique analyst firm analysts do not notice that Leaders are not the only vendors who purchase reprints, vendors in all boxes – incredibly even vendors in the Niche box – acquire reprint rights and promote the MQs they are on. As a consequence, Gartner would not necessarily get incremental revenues because the Challengers and Visionaries might already be purchasing reprints of the Magic Quadrant
  3. We don’t believe there is any “Leaders inflation”

To see if the distribution of vendors around a MQ was skewed in one direction or another, we looked up a random set of MQs just to see what the breakdown was between the various boxes.  Our example set consisted of Continue reading

Gartner won dismissal of ZL lawsuit, but ZL can file an amended complaint

This dismissal by the judge hearing the case does not mean the issue has been settled as ZL Technologies can pursue other legal options.

Related SageCircle posts:

From the Research Magazine website: Round one goes to Gartner in libel battle

5 November 2009 | By Brian Tarran

Gartner has succeeded in dismissing a libel complaint brought by a software company angry at being described as a ‘niche’ player – though the vendor has been granted leave to file an amended complaint.

ZLTI v Gartner in logos

District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel agreed with the IT analyst’s argument that its Magic Quadrant reports and the positioning of ZL Technologies in the ‘niche’ quadrant constituted “non-actionable Continue reading

SageCircle AR Podcast for November 3, 2009

SageCircle AR Podcast ArtworkThe AR podcast is a review of the latest news and trends in the analyst ecosystem along with tips and tricks for analyst relations professionals and analyst research consumers. SageCircle strategists Dave Eckert and Carter Lusher co-host this bi-weekly program. You can find all the SageCircle podcasts on our podcast page.

Visit the podcast page to download the MP3 file or listen to the episodes on your computer.  Click here to subscribe to the podcast within iTunes

SCP 12: Table of contents. Numbers in parentheses refer to minutes:seconds when the article starts within the podcast.

[00:00] Opening

[00:57] News – Forrester’s and Gartner’s 3Q 2009 Earnings Announcements

[07:41] Growing enterprise client base enhances influence and relevance

[10:40] AR-Sales Case Study – Countering a negative research Continue reading

Gartner Q3 2009 earnings

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 the “Big Two” advisory analyst firms as well as communications and IT vendor analyst relations (AR) teams.  

logo-gartner.gifGartner, Inc. (NYSE:IT) announced its Q3 2009 earnings on October 30, 2009. See the end of this blog post for a summary and link to the press release.

In general Gartner’s results were much as expected at this point in a recession. All the key statistics were down year-over-year, but improved (i.e., less bad) quarter-to-quarter sequentially. All statistics are year-over-year and are FX neutral unless noted.

  • Overall revenues: $267.5m, down 7%.
  • Research: $187.7m, down 4%.
  • Events: $16m, down 6%.
  • Consulting: $65.7m, down 16%.

Demonstrating that a well-managed advisory analyst firm can be a cash machine, Gartner generated $55.1m in cash in Q3, only a half-million below Q3 2008. For the full year, Gartner raised its guidance on cash flow to $125m to $135m. Cash and equivalents at the end Q3 2009 was $113m, down from $141m at the end of Q3 2008. During the first nine months of 2009, Gartner primarily used cash to repay $151m in debt. Gartner retains $250m in available credit, which with the $113m in cash should give it the necessary resources to maintain its business as well as conduct M&A activity. On the M&A front, CEO Hall maintained the position that M&A opportunities are being constantly evaluated, but unlike Forrester, who mentioned it was actively evaluating potential deals, he provided no color to that remark.

Pricing

In his remarks CEO Gene Hall mentioned that Gartner’s most recent price increase was holding. Hall also said that Gartner was implementing a price increase on November 1, 2009. Yes, Gartner has been and continues to raise prices even in a recession. This can be attributed to Continue reading

SageCircle AR Podcast for October 23, 2009

SageCircle AR Podcast ArtworkThe AR podcast is a review of the latest news and trends in the analyst ecosystem along with tips and tricks for analyst relations professionals and analyst research consumers. SageCircle strategists Dave Eckert and Carter Lusher co-host this bi-weekly program. You can find all the SageCircle podcasts on our podcast page.

Visit the podcast page to download the MP3 file or listen to the episodes on your computer.  Click here to subscribe to the podcast within iTunes

SCP 11: Table of contents. Numbers in parentheses refer to minutes:seconds when the article starts within the podcast.

[00:00] Opening

[01:09] News – Acquisition of TowerGroup by Executive Conference Board

[05:30] How analysts use inquiry

[09:14] ZL Technologies sues Gartner

[15:56] Bill of Rights for Vendor Continue reading

Gartner, Inc. 3Q 2009 earnings call is scheduled – will it continue to add enterprise clients?

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Gartner, Inc.  (NYSE:IT) announced that its earnings conference call will be on October 30, Friday, at 10:00 a.m. ET. The earnings call is a webcast that you can find on Gartner’s investor relations webpage. This earnings call happens the day after Forrester’s Q3 call.

This earnings call should provide critical insight into whether enterprise technology buyers are changing their advisory analyst contract purchasing behaviors. In recent recessions, IT managers (the typical tech buyer client) have, as a group, been steady in their purchases of Gartner and Forrester services (and Giga and META before they were acquired). Most of the advisory analyst firm research syndicated contract revenue volatility is due to vendors who often cut their marketing budgets steeply during recessions.  Because Gartner is not very vendor centric the earnings call information correlates closely to end user activity. So far in 2009, Gartner has added 555 $1bn+ enterprise clients:

  • 249 new enterprise clients Q1 2009
  • 305 new enterprise clients in Q2 2009

Enterprise technology buyer purchasing patterns are important because they are an important indicator of Continue reading

Gartner Statement about the ZL Technologies lawsuit

SageCircle received the following official statement on October 21, 2009 from Gartner about the ZL Technologies lawsuit. Thanks to Andrew Spender, VP Corporation Communications (Twitter), for sending this.

“We are aware of the complaint filed in California by ZL Technologies regarding their location in a Gartner Magic Quadrant. While it’s not our practice to discuss pending litigation, we do consider this complaint to be completely without merit and have moved to dismiss it in the courts. While we regret that ZL Technology is dissatisfied with its location in the Magic Quadrant, we remain committed to providing our clients with independent research and advice about the products that we cover.” -Gartner, Inc.

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This not the first time that Gartner has been sued nor will it be the last

Software vendor ZL Technologies has sued Gartner, Inc. about the impact of the firm’s research on its business (see the court documents on its website). Needless to say, this has gotten the attention of twits and bloggers. Here are two example blog posts 

There are legitimate criticisms about any particular firm’s research methodology, whether a standalone piece of research or a recurring research deliverable like IDC’s market share models or Aberdeen Axis. SageCircle, vendors, and others have certainly given Gartner suggestions for improving the Magic Quadrant in private meetings, on blog posts, and in public forums like the Gartner Quarterly AR Call. And to be fair, Gartner has tweaked its methodology a little for the Magic Quadrant over the years, but probably more in response to the Forrester Wave than what they hear from the vendors.

ZLTI v Gartner in logos

There is also the issue that many technology buyers who use the Magic Quadrant as an input to decision making do not know how to Continue reading

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