Doing unto analysts what they do unto vendors

icon-social-media-blue.jpgIn an example of how social media can turn the tables in the analyst ecosystem, Sam Lawrence (bio, Jive blog, Twitter), the esteemed Chief Marketing Officer for Jive Software (enterprise collaboration software), in his personal blog Go Big Always gives Forrester a B and Gartner a C- in Gartner and Forrester’s Report Card (so far). Sam evaluated the firms’ coverage of his market, client service and amount of attention paid by analysts. Well worth the read.

What makes Sam’s post so interesting is that he is in essence commenting about the analysts in a manner similar to what analysts do with vendors, especially in those brief news flashes analysts put out. It is important to note that Sam is not expressing sour grapes over a poor showing in some piece of research. Rather, Sam is making a fair evaluation of analysts’ approaches to his market and the client value delivered for the recent contracts. He provides a sort of ROI report card.

I am sure that some AR old timers are thinking “Is this guy nuts!?! He is going to get pounded by the analysts in retaliation!” Frankly, I don’t think that will be the case as the vast majority of analysts are ethical. In fact, Forrester’s Josh Bernoff (bio, blog, Twitter) has already responded positively to the post. I bet that other analysts covering social media will start requesting briefings from Jive once they read this post. Oh, BTW, I’ll make sure they know about this post.

It will be interesting to see if other vendors follow in Sam’s steps and start commenting on the firms and analyst research methodologies. If nothing else, more blog entries like this might help the firms focus on client service, an area that too many vendors grumble about in private… a lot.

Follow up at 8:10 am PT, 3/18/08

In an DM (direct message) exchange on Twitter, AMR’s Jonathan Yarmis (bio, no blog, Twitter) shows he has the right attitude and acted with speed.


Follow up at 11:05 am PT, 3/18/08

In a couple of Twitter tweets, Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang also demonstrates the right stuff. This is no surprise as Jeremiah is one of the leading advocates for social media. BTW, Jeremiah is in NYC today so he is fitting this into a busy day while mobile.



Bottom Line: Social media is providing the analyst ecosystem with a platform for a public conversation with the analysts on issues beyond research. Sam Lawrence’s grading of Forrester and Gartner is actually quite valuable for the firms, even if it stings a little today, because it points out areas that they can improve leading to a better product. Rather than get angry – or scared — about the post, the firms should embrace Sam’s comments.

Question: AR teams – Have you considered grading the analysts in a public forum? If you did not follow through, what stopped you? Analysts – What do you think of Sam’s post?

Are you thinking about experimenting with social media? SageCircle can HelpSocial media represents new opportunities and challenges to AR teams. SageCircle can help AR teams by:

  • Providing on-site or distance learning sessions to get AR teams up to speed on social media and how it might be adopted
  • Acting as a sounding board as you brainstorm how to add social media to the AR tool box
  • Advising on how to develop a pilot program to experiment with social media
  • Playing the role of analyst in social media experiments and providing critiques of how the experiment went

SageCircle strategists understand your opportunities, challenges and priorities because we have been AR practitioners and executives as well as industry analysts and AR researchers. SageCircle emphasizes the use of phone-based inquiry through its Advisory Service, which is your lifeline when you need timely access to an AR and analyst expert to exploit an opportunity or mitigate a problem. Advisory is available through an annual “all you can eat” contract or blocks of two or five hours “by the drink.” Click here to learn more about our advisory services.

Call 650-274-8309 or e-mail info (at) sagecircle dot com for more information. Also follow Carter’s commentary to get a feel for how information is now being transmitted using micro-blogging.



  1. I always assumed someone did this somewhere and just locked it behind a pay-wall. I’m all for, I’d love to read these things. It’d help RedMonk out to know what people really think.

    I’d suggest just going for it and starting up a sage circle wiki over on or something, creating a page for each analyst and wikipedia style moderating people’s comments. It could get nasty, but part of your value add would be toning down the nastyness. I don’t know if that kind of “free” thing is something you could do, but it’s sure be awesome 😉

  2. Hi Michael,

    Interesting idea. A key success factor would be getting enterprise IT managers to participate as well. Otherwise it could decent into a vendor gripe fest, which would do nobody any good.

    Also, it would be useful if people would post reasoned rebuttals to research, rather than complain and name call (e.g., “that analyst is an idiot”). I recently came across this blog post that did a pretty good point-by-point rebuttal of a Gartner research note on Second Life.

    Gartner Report Savages Second Life

    Can I call you sometime to discuss your idea more?

  3. Sure, feel free to call me, no problem. Also, I don’t mind putting up gripe-fests to get the occasionally good comment. It’s a narrow interest – rating tech industry analysts – in the wide world of the web, so it’s the readers unwelcome job to filter out the crap the net brings in. Besides, maybe “this analyst is an idiot” is spot on from time to time, myself included 😉 I was always a big fan of f* in the hay-day which required a lot of reader filtering, but the good stuff was worth it.

    On the bright side, I think there’s enough interest even in the narrow topic to do some community-driven policing. And, really, moderating out the crap could be a for pay service for those who don’t want to wade through the slough.

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