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

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

HENRY Corporation launches – Represents former senior IDC EMEA analysts

Logo - Henry CorporationHere is an interesting announcement concerning the launch of a new ICT market research and marketing services firm that brings together former senior IDC analysts who were caught in IDG’s right-sizing exercise. A few points about the HENRY Corporation:

  • Each analyst is also an independent practitioner, some with a firm name and some under their name
  • With the exception of Martin Hingley (Twitter,  blog), most of the Fellows are not active users of social media
  • With the exception of Simone de Bruin’s LinkedResearch website and to a lesser extent Hingley’s blog, none of the other Fellows have a formal web presence

SageCircle’s initial impression is that HENRY Corporation will be the marketing function as well as sales organization for this group of former IDC senior analysts. As such it will be somewhat more involved with its portfolio of analysts than Valley View Ventures, which acts simply as a sales agent for its associated analysts and boutiques.

Below is a blog post by Hingley on the launch, followed by the official announcement.

Overview from Martin Hingley, one of the original HENRY Fellows:

The Henry Corporation Brings Familiar Experts Back To Support The ITC Industry

What happens when a major market research organization off-loads most of its senior analysts in EMEA? I’m sure it does its best to run its services with newer researchers. However many industry execs will miss the quality of support, ideas and advice that they once had. In the case of my old company some familiar faces, now independent, are also as eager as ever to Continue reading

IDC institutes a 5% across-the-board pay cut for US-based analysts

logo-idc.gifSageCircle has received credible reports that on September 1, 2009, IDC CEO Kirk Campbell sent an email to all US-based analysts about changes to the compensation plan. Salaries and the bonus pool were cut 5%. In addition, the bonus plan for next fiscal year was significantly changed. 

SageCircle clients have already received a SageFlash with additional detail about the news, analysis of the implications, and recommendations. In addition, Advisory clients were encouraged to schedule inquiries to discuss how to apply the recommendations in the SageFlash to their specific situation.

Bottom Line: While Forrester and Gartner both reported reduced Continue reading

A potpourri of observations on social media and the analyst ecosystem

icon-social-media-blue.jpgTime to take a minute to check in with what’s up with the analyst ecosystem and social media.

Atwitter about Twitter – Twitter continues to be a hot topic in general with some negative backlash developing (e.g., Morgan Stanley’s report that teens do not care for Twitter and Nielsen’s research that millions are “Twitter quitters”). So what? It does not matter how many millions of users don’t use Twitter after signing up or how many millions follow some actor or talk show host. What matters for AR teams is whether their most relevant analysts are using Twitter and how it is being used.

Forrester and Gartner Blog Traffic: Nothing to sneeze about – We caused a bit of a buzz when we compared the traffic hits on Jeremiah Owyang’s personal blog to Gartner’s and Forrester’s corporate websites in Don’t underestimate the visibility a blog can provide an analyst because Jeremiah’s blog had twice the traffic of the two corporate websites combined. Looking at the firms’ own blog networks shows good traffic to them as the graphic illustrates (click here or graphic to enlarge). Forrester’s team blogs have averaged 65,000 unique visitors per month over the last year. The Gartner Blog Network has grown steadily since its September 2008 launch to 29,000 unique visitors in July.

Forrester Gartner blog networks traffic - small 

Social media metrics, useful but not “special” – As we were working on Continue reading

Don’t underestimate the visibility a blog can provide an analyst

An interesting exercise is to compare the relative web traffic between the largest advisory analyst firm (Gartner), the largest IT market research firm (IDC) and a very visible analyst who has his own blog. Using the site comparison feature of Compete here is the graphic showing Forrester analyst extraordinaire and social media poster boy Jeremiah Owyang’s (bio, Twitter handle, blog) personal blog Web Strategy by Jeremiah, Gartner.com and IDC.com:

Traffic comparison Gartner.com IDC.com and Jeremiah Owyang blog 

Click here or on the graphic to enlarge. The top blue line is Jeremiah’s blog, the green middle line is Gartner.com and the bottom orange line is IDC.com. There is not a single month in the past year where Web Strategy by Jeremiah did not receive more unique visitors (an average of 136,000 per month) than Gartner.com and IDC.com combined.

Not an apples-to-apples comparison… and that is the point 

Of course, comparing two very different types of websites, a blog vs. corporate sites, is not an apples-to-apples assessment. Rather this illustrates how a savvy analyst can leverage a personally branded blog to obtain unique access to a broader audience than he could even on the regular research website of a $1.2bn but very traditional analyst firm. This is because the analyst blog is easily Continue reading

IDC veteran Dan Kusnetzky joins The 451 Group – analyst ecosystem news

Dan KusnetzkyThe 451 Group announced in a press release (see below) that analyst industry veteran and ZDnet blogger Dan Kusnetzky (bio, Twitter, blog) has joined the firm as VP of Research Operations. In addition, Dan will launch 451’s cloud computing and virtualization research coverage. This fits in well with the work Dan was doing with his ZDnet blog (which will continue) and his boutique firm Kusnetzky Group (which will be shut down).

logo-the451In February 2009, The 451 Group did go through a round of layoffs that affected analysts, executives, and back office staff. However, it is not a contradiction for it to be hiring at this time as technology companies frequently lay off and hire nearly at the same time in order to change the mix of skills.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Vendors that are competing in the cloud computing and virtualization markets should immediately brief Dan to ensure that he is up-to-speed during his transition to The 451
  • AR teams for whom Kusnetzky is relevant, should do a refresh of their analyst lists to see if Dan’s ranking is affected by his new employer
  • Frequency of future briefings should be determined based on Continue reading
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