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

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.

ZLTI v Gartner in logos

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

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

Gartner analyst gets grumpy in Twitter for a good reason

french-caldwell-being-a-little-testy-v-3Recently Gartner Research VP French Caldwell (bio, blog, Twitter) grumbled a little bit in Twitter about poor AR practices by vendors he covers in the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Governance, Risk and Compliance Platforms

This little tid-bit illustrates that analysts expect vendors to proactively reach out to them (for more background see SageCircle’s Hierarchy of Analyst Needs). If a vendor does not actively brief the analyst, then in the analyst’s mind the vendor gets what they deserve, whether a poor rating in research or even dropped all together from a research report. This research downgrade could have a direct impact on lead generation and sales as technology buyers (aka end users, typically IT managers for Gartner) often ignore vendors not ranked well in Magic Quadrants or other research. This is especially true when a competitor’s sales representative brings the vendor’s downgrade to the attention of a prospect.

Another point this incident illustrates is that analysts are using social media to discuss their research agenda and make their displeasure about vendor performance known. Vendors that are not monitoring analyst commentary in tweets or blog posts could be missing important data points.

SageCircle Technique:

  • AR programs need to use a mix of interactions throughout the year to maintain top-of-mind presence with the analysts and ensure they are up-to-date on the vendor’s capabilities and differentiation
  • AR programs should have an active plan for influencing all recurring signature research such as Gartner Magic Quadrants or Forrester Waves
  • AR programs need to monitor analyst commentary in social media. This will not necessarily require significant work as the volume of analyst blogs and tweets is still relatively small for any particular market

Bottom Line: While vendor executives like to complain that the analysts need to “do their jobs” by proactively reaching out to request updates, the reality is that vendors need to be the ones doing the outreach.

Question: AR programs – If you are on a Magic Quadrant or Forrester Wave, why do you not periodically brief the analyst?

IIAR publishes white paper on Managing the Gartner Magic Quadrant

Here is the announcement on the IIAR blog:  IIAR publishes white paper on Managing the Gartner MQ.  The whitepaper is titled: “Managing the Gartner Magic Quadrant: a tool for analyst relations managers.”  The paper is free for all IIAR members and can be found in the Library section of the organisation’s website www.analystrelations.org.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle – Anticipate and Influence

Tip o’ the hat to Hill & Knowlton Global Technology Practice Director Josh Reynolds (bio, blog) for getting the ball rolling on how to approach the Hype Cycle. I met Josh early summer 2007 at Buck’s of Woodside (famed and quirky Silicon Valley hangout for venture capitalists and digerati) to discuss his ideas for influencing the Hype Cycle. Josh’s ideas were quite provocative and no doubt he can see a bit of their DNA in this piece of SageContentTM. I have not seen how Josh evolved his ideas into best practices, but perhaps he will post them on the H&K ARcade AR blog sometime in the near future.

As we mentioned in Thinking about Gartner’s Hype Cycle, the Hype Cycle is the most read piece of Gartner signature research by its clients, but it is often ignored by the vendor community because it does not directly rate vendors’ products or impact today’s sales opportunities. However, this is shortsighted as the Hype Cycle is influential on future IT strategies and budgets. As a consequence, vendors should be investing time into the Hype Cycle today in order to have an impact two to three years down the road.

There are three broad categories that AR teams have to work on: flattening the curve, speeding progress, and ensuring that their company is considered an exemplar for a particular technology, service, or technique on a Hype Cycle. This post will focus on the first category.

Flattening the Curve - One problem that vendors face when a technology or service is mentioned on one of the Hype Cycles is that the Peak of Inflated Expectations can get so high that there is a backlash.  This can completely derail a promising market before 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.”

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

Gartner’s Cool Vendor annual research note set [Startup Saturday]

rocket-for-startups.jpgOften startups with interesting new technologies feel like there are no IT analysts that want to cover them. For example, they are usually excluded from signature deliverables like Forrester Waves and Gartner Magic Quadrants since they often don’t fit neatly into an existing market. Rather than give up, startups should consider targeting Gartner’s annual “Cool Vendors” research note series.
  Continue reading

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