Observations on changes in the analyst ecosystem

Gerry Van Zandt  [This commentary comes from guest contributor Gerry Van Zandt (Twitter handle), AR manager with HP Services. This guest post started as a letter that Gerry sent to his HP colleagues. We are posting an edited version with his permission]

I think it’s important to read and internalize what’s happening in the analyst ecosystem at a macro level.  Please note that this is my own take, and not the opinion nor the official position of HP.  Thus, you may or may not agree with it.

For the past 6-7 years, since blogs began to take hold and proliferate, a sea change has been occurring in the influencer (press and analyst) ecosystem.  The strict lines between press and analysts have been increasingly blurring, and a new class of influencers emerged circa 2002, and began really solidifying in late 2005.  I coined the term “blogalysts” for these influencers around this time.

Dozens of reporters and editors have left the press ranks to become industry analysts over the years — that’s not news.  However, we’re seeing more analysts who are contributing regular content to print and on-line press publications (i.e. Gordon Haff/Illuminata and Peter Glaskowsky/Envisioneering writing for C/Net).  Furthermore, laid-off press people and now analysts are leaving their traditional organizations to join on-line blog networks (and going solo) as “expert commentators” around particular topics. Some have strong reputations, others are striving mightily to build or re-build them.

RedMonk was probably the pioneer “blogalyst,” deliberately eschewing traditional paid, data-based research services and publishing commentary free, and 100% on-line.  They joined other newly formed “new-era” research firms like The 451 Group who aggressively embraced blogs and other emerging on-line tools.  Since then, 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

Ask analysts about their conversations with IT buyers

AR Metrics & MeasurementMarc Duke in Playing the numbers game? makes an excellent point about asking analysts during an interaction about the number of end users they advise. As we frequently say, linking the analyts to revenue / sales deal impact is a critical tool for establishing AR’s strategic business value to the company.

When I tweeted about Marc’s post, monkchips (James Governor, co-founder of Redmonk) of course had to reply.

@carterlusher at redmonk ask how many developers and architects we talk to. not the same as “end-user clients” but certainly valuable

I then challenged James to Continue reading

Redmonk goes green with Greenmonk

Too often analyst relations (AR) professionals and analyst services buyers, both vendors and end user clients, focus on the larger firms. While this focus is natural because the larger firms have greater market presence and a large dedicated sales force, ignoring boutique analyst firms misses the opportunity to obtain interesting insights and advice or to brief a potential market influencer. Of course, not all boutique firms are relevant, so AR and buyers need to do their due diligence to ensure that time and money is not wasted. This post is one in a series to introduce the community to an interesting boutique firm.

                        __________________________

Redmonk is a boutique firm, founded in December 2002, which is primarily oriented towards open source or bottom up adoption of technologies like Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. In May 2008, RedMonk announced the launch of a new line of business, Greenmonk, and the hiring of a new analyst, Tom Raftery. Greenmonk’s research agenda covers green and sustainability issues, both the emerging green technology and how this technology is applied.

This email interview was conducted with RedMonk co-founder James Governor and Greenmonk analyst Tom Raftery.

SageCircle Question: James and Tom, thanks for speaking with SageCircle on the launch of Greenmonk. Can you give us the elevator pitch for this new analyst firm?

 A: Greenmonk is not a new firm, it’s a new line of business for RedMonk, which is an existing analyst company. We see Greenmonk as an extension of our existing business. Greenmonk will bridge top down and bottom up sustainability- with a bias towards open data, shared source and social media – as they apply to community development and socioeconomic change.

Q: What is your business model? Because of the need to educate many people, will you be offering a service to write white papers on relevant green IT topics?

A: The business model is likely to primarily consist of advisory services under a subscription model, given RedMonk’s aversion to the pay-for-play white paper model. Education is Continue reading

Redmonk Michael Cote on dealing with analysts

Interesting set of slides from Redmonk analyst Michael Cote. Click on the graphic to visit Michael’s blog post.

Right firms – Search out alternative services providers that better match your needs for a better price [Purchasing Analyst Services, Part 4]

icon-budget-cuts-105w.jpgOne method for avoiding the price increases that Forrester and Gartner are initiating on a regular basis is to diversify your sources of analyst research and advice. The one usual negotiating trick of playing one vendor off another probably won’t work with Gartner as CEO Gene Hall has been quite emphatic in his quarterly earnings conference calls that discounting by sales reps has been and will continue to be sharply curtailed.  This means you may be better off looking to “boutique” firms for some services. There are hundreds of analyst firms in the market, many with very smart analysts and interesting research. Besides a lower price, there are other potential benefits to going with other firms including: flexibility in service delivery, better customer service, and unique insights.

The difficulty of purchasing from a smaller firm is discovering them in the first place. Forrester and Gartner (as well as the vendor-centric IDC) have tremendous mindshare from tens of thousands press quotes and growing sales forces that drive their brand equity. Very few firms outside of the Big 3 invest in marketing and sales that would give them the market visibility to become a regular addition to buyer short lists.

The next issue is finding alternative firms that can deliver services that meet your needs. Many analyst firms specialize in advising Continue reading

Redmonk TV interviews IBM’s John Simonds on using social media for AR

In John Simonds on Twitter, blogs, & tags in Analyst Relations Redmonk analyst Michael Coté (Twitter, blog) interviews IBM analyst relations manager John Simonds (Twitter, blog) on how John uses social media for his AR work. Interesting and well worth watching.

Tip: If the video stops/starts and is jerky, hit the pause button. It will continue to stream in the background. Then, in a couple of minutes, you can hit play for uninterrupted viewing.

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