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

IDC experiences layoffs – likely more than 20 analysts affected

logo-idc.gifSageCircle has received credible intelligence that IDC has  initiated a job action resulting in analyst lay offs. We will continue to provide updates as we learn new information.

  • Update: 4/17/09 11:18 am PT -Initial post. Sent request for confirmation to IDC’s press office
  • Update: 4/17/09 11:22 am PT – First names added name to analyst list
  • Update: 4/17/09 11:54 am PT – Reports coming in that layoffs will be significant and include both analysts and backoffice personnel
  • Update 4/17/09 12:51 pm PT – Multiple reports that the layoffs will impact 80+ staff, of which 20+ are analysts
  • Update 4/17/09 1:26 pm PT – Name added to the analyst list
  • Update 4/17/09 2:01 pm PT – Name added to list; reports coming in that IDC is holding All-Hands meeting
  • Update 4/17/09 3:22 pm PT – Two names added to list
  • Update 4/20/09 5:03 am PT – Added IDC official statement
  • Update 4/20/09 7:04 am PT – Added name to list
  • Update 4/20/09 7:42 am PT – Added two names to list
  • Update 4/20/09 9:43 am PT – Added name
  • Update 4/20/09 11:50 am PT – Added four analyts to list
  • Update 4/20/09 12:42 pm PT – Added name
  • Update 4/20/09 1:30 pm PT — Added name
  • Update 4/20/09 4:00 pm PT — Added two names
  • Update 4/22/09 12:20 pm PT — Added three names
  • Update 4/23/09 8:19 am PT – Added one name
  • Update 4/28/09 1:57 pm PT – Added one name
  • Update 5/27/09 2:17 pm PT – Added two names

Of course, layoffs impact real people with families and obligations. Often AR people are genuinely friendly with the analysts they work with and this sort of news can be a shock. Unfortunately for AR professionals, analyst firm layoffs also raise important issues that need to be addressed ASAP no matter how much sympathy they feel for the analysts caught in the layoffs.

IDC Official Statement

In an e-mail exchange with SageCircle, IDC Corporate Communications Director Michael Shirer released the following statement:
- Due to the impact of the economic recession, IDC on April 17 reduced its U.S. staff by 82 employees, which represents 5% of IDC’s 1,650 employees worldwide.
- 26 research analyst positions were included in the reduction in employees. This research analyst decrease represents Continue reading

Don’t ignore research associates

SageCircle came across Forrester research associate Timothy DeGennaro (Twitter handle) the other day while looking for analysts to add to the Analyst Twitter Directory

Research associates are typically recent college graduates who assist senior analysts with their projects. Occasionally research associates will get a contributor mention (“with”) for a piece of research, but they do not have a listing and biography on the analysts page. Because the perception is that research associates only do grunt work analyst relations (AR) professionals frequently overlook their potential future influence. This could be a missed opportunity because research associates do have ambitions, such as the one DeGennaro stated on his LinkedIn page:

“…I am currently a Research Associate at Forrester Research taking on such coverage areas as PMOs, Project Portfolio Management, and PPM software solutions.

I aspire to someday (soon) own this coverage area at Forrester as an analyst. …”

It is not just future influence that could be important.  The research associates could also be working on something today that impacts your company. For example, Continue reading

An update on Twitter and the industry analysts – activity grows

icon-social-media-blue.jpgWith industry analysts continuing to sign up for Twitter handles – we have added 67 names in last two weeks – we thought it was time to do a quick refresher on how analysts are using Twitter.

A significant example you should read is Gartner analyst Jeffrey Mann discussing why he uses Twitter in his blog post Why I Tweet. In a very short post, Jeff covers a lot of ground in terms of the value he gets from Twitter. Here is a killer extract from that post: “I have used it to test out ideas that eventually make their way into this blog or my more formal research notes.” Hmm, that says to me that any AR team that deals with Jeffrey needs to part of that conversation.  How many other analysts are doing the same thing?  Have you done an inquiry with your key analysts?

 Listed below are some tweets that we believe illustrate well the different uses of Twitter by the analysts. Each shows the value of AR teams being on Twitter and following analysts.

 EXAMPLE: Analyst discussing customer information after I tweeted a question to his comment about the customer presentations at a vendor event. This shows a quick and easy dialog finding out what sort of information the analyst prefers

 rwang0 Hearing some very industry specific and solution focused customer presentations at the Progress Software event

rwang0 @carterlusher customers who present their problem, how the tech addressed the solution, & what was the business and tech benefits are best

EXAMPLE: Journalist asking analyst about a vendor announcement. This could signal that the journalist might have a formal interview with the analyst later. Continue reading

Mike Fauscette on IDC’s Software Business Solutions Group

Mike dropped by the analyst and AR meet up that SageCircle hosted on Monday, January 12, 2009 in the Silicon Valley. We asked Mike (blog, Twitter handle) to give us an update on the Software Business Solutions Group, the IDC service he heads up.

Acquisitions of analyst firms are likely, so who would be buyers and targets?

question-mark-graphic.jpgQuestion: A common question SageCircle has been receiving concerns the likelihood that there will be acquisitions of analyst firms during the current recession.

During a recession, companies with strong balance sheets often acquire companies with weaker financials because the purchase price has been cut. Both Gartner (cash at September 30th was $145.2 million) and Forrester (NASDAQ: FORR, cash and marketable securities at September 30th were $254 million) have a history of acquisitions.  They also have dedicated M&A teams and CEOs that assure Wall Street during quarterly earnings calls that acquisitions remain a potential tactic “at the right price.” As a consequence, there is always the possibility that one or more small or mid-sized firms will be acquired by one of the two major public firms. 

Who could be acquired? Almost any firm. Obviously mid-sized firms like AMR Research that have gone through recent job actions could be thought to be shoring up their finances to ride out the recession… or make themselves a more attractive acquisition target by reducing cost structure or eliminating duplicate reearch coverage.

Who could be buyers? While Forrester and Gartner have the requisite strong balance sheets and motivations, they are not the only potential buyers of analyst firms. Companies that have made analyst firm acquisitions over Continue reading

So, how much money did the US Federal Government spend with analysts firms?

Well, it was a pretty fair amount.   And the lion’s share went to Gartner of course. Gartner got at least $121,000,000 in the last four years. See below for a table of spending by firm.

logo-usa-spending-gov The information came from www.USAspending.gov, which is an interesting resource for market research.  BTW, the numbers below should be considered the minimum amount the firms received in US Federal contracts because not all agencies are required to provide data. In addition, there are a few major agencies that have not submitted their 2008 numbers yet so the contract numbers could go up for all the firms in 2008. Also, there might be purchases (e.g., tickets to analyst conferences bought with credit cards and expensed) that are not associated with the firm’s DUN number. Besides the summary numbers we list below, you can also drill down to determine spending by agency and some contract details.

This is not just a fun exercise in trivia. The amount of contracts a firm has with a client can be used as an indicator for the amount of influence with that client. Using the 2007 contract amount and assuming the GAO drives a hard bargain so each Advisory seat costs $11k, Gartner could have approximately 2,700 IT manager clients inside the Federal government it is advising on technology purchasing issues. As a consequence, Gartner could be influencing tens of billions in IT spending because it has the ear of thousands of decision makers.

SageCircle Technique

  • AR professionals at companies that target the US Federal Government should incorporate this data into analyst list management
  • AR can conduct inquiries with analysts to ask about the volume and nature of inquiries they conduct with relevant Federal agencies
  • AR should communicate insights about relevant analyst Federal contracts to their sales colleagues and how to utilize these insights

Bottom Line: AR managers whose companies sell to the US Federal Government should use data from www.USAspending.gov as a data point for their analyst list ranking methodologies. Of course, analyst firms can influence the US Federal spending in ways not related to client status. However, contract status is an easily acquired, hard number that can provide valuable insights.

Gartner

  • 2008 – $23,558,453
  • 2007 – $30,680,378
  • 2006 – $34,544,716
  • 2005 – $32,267,738

Forrester Continue reading

IDC’s Mike Fauscette on his usage of social media as an analyst

icon-social-media-blue.jpgMike dropped by the analyst and AR meet up that SageCircle hosted on Monday, January 12, 2009 in the Silicon Valley. We asked Mike (blog, Twitter handle) to explain how he uses social media in his job.

.

.

Observations from updating the various SageCircle directories

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThis weekend we spent considerable hours updating the SageCircle directories. This exercise always generates interesting insights such as: 

Analyst  Twitter Directory – 46 additions, 4 updates. Change can come quite quickly. The IDC Financial Insights team members decided to put more emphasis on Twitter as part of an overall plan to increase their visibility. This resulted in seven analysts starting to use Twitter in just a couple of weeks. Take away – Keep your fingers on the pulse of your analysts’ usage of social media, because changes come quickly.

AR Twitter Directory – 34 additions, 6 updates. Members of the AR community continue to adopt Twitter in a steady fashion. However, AR is still underrepresented on Twitter and members of the community are missing out on a great tool for understanding the analysts and their priorities. Take away – AR professionals not on Twitter need to take the plunge and add Twitter to their communications toolbox. Even if their analysts are not heavy users of Twitter, early adopters develop skills that permit them to react quickly to changes in social media usage.

AR Contractors Directory – 9 additions. There are now a number of interesting AR contractors in the directory. The presence of contractors gives AR managers useful alternatives to Continue reading

Is Yankee Group being prepared for another sale?

Last week’s severe cutbacks at Yankee Group (see here and here) could be an indicator that the firm is simply refocusing on its prime research opportunity or it could mean it is back on the selling block. This would be the fourth change in ownership in this decade if this turns out to be true. Here is a quick timeline:

  •  1970 – founded by Howard Anderson
  • 1996 August – acquirer Primark ($34m)
  • 2000 May – acquirer Reuters Enterprise ($72.5m)
  • 2004 May – acquirer Decision Matrix Group, formed by Monitor Clipper Partners (undisclosed)
  • 2005 November – acquirer Alta Communications (undisclosed)
  • 2008 September – ?

 A sale by Alta would not be surprising as it – like Monitor Clipper Partners – is a private equity firm that buys and sells companies as Continue reading

Yankee analysts – Ovum and IDC are hiring

Update: 8/28/08 11:13 am PT – SageCircle has already forwarded contact information for four former Yankee analysts to analyst firms. If you are in contact with any former analysts please let them know about this free service.

SageCircle has been contacted – via Twitter - by IDC and Ovum indicating that they would be delighted to talk with former Yankee analysts about career opportunities. If interested, send your contact information to “info [at] sagecircle.com” and we will pass the information to the appropriate managers at the firms.

Bursts of analyst departures in a hot research area is not unusual

The clump of departures of social media analysts – Brian Haven, Peter Kim and Charlene Li (from Forrester), and Rachel Happe (from IDC) – is not at all unusual and follows typical patterns.

There are several reasons why analysts leave a firm: just want a change or new professional challenge, recruited by another company, desire to start own firm, the current employer has grown too large and its culture has changed and a few others. In this current sitaution, there are two primary reasons why the analysts are leaving: lured by startups and hanging out their own shingle.

From late 1997 to early 2000 a number of analysts covering ecommerce/ebusiness got lured away from the firms by Dot Com startups. For example, in one week Gartner lost four of five analysts covering ecommerce. Yes, they were lured away by various startups dangling stock options, but these analysts were also annoyed at the money Gartner was investing in Jupiter Communications (ancestor of JupiterResearch) rather than beefing up Gartner’s own ecommerce/ebusiness research team.

Another common reason for analysts in a hot research area to leave a firm is to Continue reading

Which acquisitions in the analyst industry were winners or duds?

The Forrester announcement about acquiring JupiterResearch got me thinking about which acquistions in the analyst industry worked and which ones did not. I thought I would call on the collective memory of the analyst ecosystem for the answers.

To help jog your memory here is Gartner Acquisition History (note that this is a selective subset and not a comprehensive list). See Forrester Research Timeline, a history, for some of Forrester’s M&A events. I could not find other lists so leave a comment if you know of other sources of analyst firm acquistions.

To get the ball rolling I’ll give you a couple of examples:

Gartner – Real Decisions (December 1993) - Winner as Real Decisions’ IT benchmarking services complimented the end-user advisory research and was an easy sell for Gartner Sales reps. Too easy as Gartner almost killed the Real Decisions analysts with way too many new clients in the first year.

Gartner – G2R, Inc. (February 1999) – Dud as all G2R analysts had bolted within four months and almost no G2R clients renewed their contracts.

Besides the many, many Gartner acquistions, here are a few other acquistions for you to comment on:

Forrester – Fletcher Research (November 1999)

META – SPEX (July 2000)

In-Stat – MicroDesign Resources (? 2000)

IDC – Meridian Continue reading

Another senior departure from IDC – Donald Best, SVP Worldwide Sales and Marketing

At this point we do not know if Mr. Best’s departure (his last day is next week) is voluntary or he was asked to seek other opportunities. However, it does come on the heels of analyst and back office staff layoffs in May and the departure of head of Services research Bob Welch’s departure in July. We have from reliable sources that Mr. Best’s departure was sudden – his LinkedIn profile shows he has left IDC, but he is still listed on IDC’s management page on IDC.com.

Post-IDC, Mr. Best is launching of Two Rivers Consulting (no website).

Mr. Best had been at IDC since 1984 so his departure could be a natural transition. However, it could be a sign of something bigger. Traditionally, vendor-centric analyst firms like IDC are among the first to see revenues drop in Continue reading

Bob Welch, IDC Global Services Market Research Group head, is departing

According to Gerry Van Zandt (twitter handle) “Bob Welch (bio), IDC’s Services Research honcho, is leaving the firm to take a VP position at CSC.”

Tip o’ the hat to Gerry for the tip.

Top social media analysts leave Forrester and IDC

News is that IDC Research Director Rachel Happe (Twitter handle, blog) and Forrester VP & Principal Analyst Charlene Li (Twitter handle, blogless for now) are leaving their firms.

These departures are big blows for both firms, though in different ways. Rachel was really IDC’s sole expert on social media so her departure eliminates a big piece of IDC’s intellectual property on this market. Forrester has a team of social media experts, so expertise is not the problem. For Forrester, Charlene’s departure is a loss of prestige and credibility as Charlene is one of the most highly visible experts in this market. Obviously neither loss is a fatal blow to either firm,  but they need to work to fill the holes quickly.  

(Added 7/3/08 at 5 am PT. Links to Rachel’s and Charlene’s blog posts)

Leaving IDC…Joining Mzinga Rachel

Why I’m Leaving Forrester Charlene

Here is an update on Charlene via Twitter “Looking at options, likely will be on my own with a combo of blogging, speaking, consulting, and influence building”

Remember, most analyst firms have not invested in knowledge management systems so most information that analysts get in vendor briefings and other sources is stored Continue reading

Examples of analysts using blogs for research purposes

icon-social-media-blue.jpgAs we pointed out, analysts are increasingly using blogs as research development platforms so monitoring analyst blogs is a good way for analyst relations (AR) to get insights into analysts’ work-in-progress. With this information in hand, AR teams can then decide whether to join the conversation online or reach out to the analysts for a briefing or inquiry.

 Because relatively few AR teams are monitoring analyst blogs, those AR professionals that use this technique can achieve a competitive advantage by getting in early on developing ideas when they can have the most impact.

 Here are two recent examples of analysts using Continue reading

Announcing a new “Page” – Analyst Tips for AR

There are many interesting blog posts by industry analysts providing tips to the analyst relations (AR) community on how best to interact with the analyst. This is very useful information for AR professionals, both to improve their AR execution, but also to get insights into their analysts.

For awhile, SageCircle has kept a running list of links to these suggestions in a blog post originally published in early February and then updated periodically. The problem is that this particular post is not easy to find unless you knew to look for it. Starting today we have elevated this information into a “Page” called Analyst Tips for AR. A Page is a non-dated post and always shows up in the “Pages” box, which we have at the top of the left navigation bar. A feature of this Page will be a list of updates. This should make it easier for SageCircle readers to keep up with the tips and tricks that the analysts are offering.

In today’s rather large update we have added 14 34 suggestions from three nine analysts. However, because we got a bit behind in updating the list, there are going to be new links added throughout Continue reading

Analysts who blog versus Bloggers who analyze

icon-social-media-blue.jpgBy Carter Lusher, Strategist

Last week’s Forrester Analyst Relations Council Panel on “Analyst Relations 2.0″ was fun and interesting. There was quite a bit of diversity of opinion on the panel with KCG’s Bill Hopkins playing the self-described anti-blog/anti-Web 2.0 curmudgeon and Dana Gardner from Interarbor Solutions way on the other side playing the pro-social media fan. That left plenty of room in the middle for Jonathan Eunice from Illuminata, Forrester Senior Analyst James Kobielus and me to take a balanced approach. The moderator was Forrester VP Laura Ramos, who I count as a blog skeptic when it comes to blogging by analysts and vendors.

There was a fair amount of angst in the audience, with many AR professionals clearly wishing blogs would just go away, while others were open minded. Very few AR pros in attendence had embraced blogs personally or professionally. Many were clearly overwhelmed because of the sheer number and types of bloggers who could touch their companies.

While fun, there some something unsatisfying about the panel. One attendee e-mailed: “What struck me about the panel was it asked more questions than offering answers.” Hmm, good point. I tried to provide very specific advice (see Steps for AR teams for starting with analyst blogs), but I admit there was a lot of philosophical ramblings during the 100+ minutes of the panel. Upon reflection, I think the problem was that the panel was not asked to focus on a specific issue, rather we were given a topic that provoked entertaining discussion, but was too broad and fuzzy for hard recommendations.

Bowl of Spaghetti

Because “AR 2.0″ was clearly too broad, the organizer and moderator decided to narrow the discussion to “analyst blogs.” However, ever this re-definition of the panel topic was too broad because it encompassed the entire blogosphere. This led to panel discussion, audience questions and comments that touched on traditional analysts and bloggers without distinguishing between the type of influencer. In addition, the discussion occasionally drifted into whether AR teams and their companies should blog and Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.