Analyst firms should notify vendors about staff changes

Especially vendors with scheduled briefings, consulting days, or key projects by analysts  who submit their resignations

Analyst relations (AR) professionals are sometimes blindsided in the final preparations for a long scheduled briefing, analyst summit, or analyst consulting day (aka SAS) to discover that the analyst had submitted his or her resignation several weeks before. Worse yet are situations where the vendor has just conducted a briefing only to learn days later that the analyst has just left the firm. Either way it is bad for AR who now has to scramble to change plans and could experience the wrath of executives who perceive that AR just wasted their time by being uninformed.

For a variety of reasons, analyst firms are reluctant to admit that an analyst is leaving the firm. However, these reasons are insufficient for withholding critical information from AR teams who work hard to facilitate the flow of information from the vendor to the analyst firms. It is not appropriate for the firm to arrange a last minute substitution without 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

Right reasons – Evaluate why you are purchasing analyst services [Purchasing Analyst Services, Part 2]

icon-budget-cuts-105w.jpgThere are many reasons why companies, enterprises, and vendors buy analysts services. Unfortunately, many buyers do not carefully document their reasons for acquiring analyst services which often leads to buying the wrong services from the wrong firms.

Two prime beneficiaries of this type of mistake are Gartner and Forrester because they are often the only firms with any significant mindshare with buyers. They also have the largest sales forces knocking on doors. Because both firms are the highest priced – and raising prices further still – going with the well known brands as a default can be an expensive mistake. That is not to say that Forrester and Gartner cannot deliver business value at market rates on particular topics, but other firms might deliver equal or better advice for less money.

Buyers should carefully examine the desired outcomes for using analyst research and recommendations. For instance, if a CIO wants to ensure that her budgets for a industry specific technology are in line with others in her market, then going with a firm with a strong research team in that vertical is important. Another example is a vendor looking to Continue reading

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

Killer questions to ask PR agencies to see if they are AR pretenders or contenders

icon-the-press-110w.jpgThere are many drawbacks to using PR agencies to conduct analyst relations – not the least that most analysts hate dealing with agency staff.  Sometimes, however, communications and IT vendors have no choice but to farm out some analyst-related activities. To minimize the chance of agency staff causing problems with the analysts, vendors need to carefully evaluate whether or not a PR agency is actually competent in analyst relations before hiring them.

A technique SageCircle has developed is asking a series of questions in the form of scenarios about AR situations. The responses to the scenarios can then be graded for compliance with AR best practices and insights as to how the analysts work. As always, it is important to weight the questions because some will be more important than others. In addition, it is critical that a standard evaluation framework be established so that responses from different agencies will be graded consistently.

The killer questions should not just be asked of the agency’s senior executive that is trying to win the business, but also the staff that will actually be doing the work.  Reluctance by the agency to introduce you to the staff should raise red flags about the breadth and depth of AR expertise in the firm.

The first killer question to ask the PR agency rainmaker and staff is Continue reading

Analyst firms’ editorial calendars

Here are the links to the editorial calendars for Gartner and Forrester that we mentioned during the just completed Coffee Talk. Note: After I asked on Twitter, The451 ICE’s service director sent me a link to ICE’s upcoming research.

Gartner Editorial Calendar for Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes Don’t forget that at the end of July, the Gartnerians are going to expand their editorial calendar to include planned research other than MQs and Marketscopes.

Forrester Planned Research This page defaults to showing only the planned research for you role. Click on “Show all documents,” which is just Continue reading

Notes from Gartner’s Quarterly AR Call – Themes are royalty, expanded editorial calendar, org changes

On Thursday, June 19th Gartner’s Vendor Relations team held its regular quarterly analyst relations (AR) call. Because the Gartnerians do not currently offer a transcript of the call, just a replay, SageCircle is providing detailed notes.

SageCircle Advisory clients are encouraged to schedule an inquiry to discuss the call and how to apply the insights to their specific situations.

Themes – Research themes are important organizing principles like topics, roles and industries. Gartner themes cut across all boundaries and most research organizations write themes for their perspective. Themes are coordinated by the Senior Research Board. Themes are usually new or emerging topics, though some are existing topics with new relevance or enhanced impact. You should expect to get questions about themes during briefings and anticipate analysts using themes as a point-of-reference. Listed are the existing themes with their “champions.”

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