• Recent Posts: Influencer Relations

    Is this how the Quadrant lost its Magic?

    Is this how the Quadrant lost its Magic?

    Gartner’s Magic Quadrant is the most influential non-financial business research document. In the late 1980s, it was a quick and dirty stalking horse to provoke discussions. Today it is an extensive and yet highly limited process, based on the quantification of opinions which are highly qualitative. The early evolution of the MQ tells us a lot about the challenge of industry […]

    Saying farewell to David Bradshaw

    Saying farewell to David Bradshaw

    A funeral and celebration for David Bradshaw (shown left in this 2000 Ovum awayday photo, arm raised, with me and other colleagues) is to take place at West Norwood Crematorium, London SE27 at 2.45pm on Tuesday 23rd August and after at the Amba Hotel above London’s Charing Cross Station, on the Strand. David considered that that Ovum in that incarnation was […]

    David Bradshaw 1953-2016

    David Bradshaw 1953-2016

    David Bradshaw, one of the colleagues I worked with during my time as an analyst at Ovum, died on August 11. He led Cloud research in Europe for IDC, whose statement is below. David played a unique role at Ovum, bridging its telecoms and IT groups in the late 1990s by looking at computer-telecoms integration areas like CRM, which I […]

    AR managers are failing with consulting firms

    AR managers are failing with consulting firms

    Reflecting the paradoxical position of many clients, Kea’s Analyst Attitude Survey also goes to a wide range of consultants who play similar roles to analysts and are often employed by analyst firms. The responses to the current survey show that consultants are generally much less happy with their relationships with AR teams than analysts are. The paradox is that as […]

    Fersht: some IIAR award-winners “just tick the boxes”

    Fersht: some IIAR award-winners “just tick the boxes”

    Some of the firms mentioned by the IIAR’s analyst team awards fall short of excellence. That’s the verdict of several hundred analysts who took our Analyst Attitude Survey, and of the CEO of one of the top analyst firms. Phil Fersht left the comment below on our criticism of the IIAR awards. We thought we’d reprint it together with the […]

Social media is a multi-facet opportunity for major industry analyst firms

icon-social-media-blue.jpgMajor analyst firms like AMR Research, Gartner, IDC and Ovum are rightly criticized for being slow out the gate when it comes to addressing and using social media. The one major firm that has done the most to leverage the potential of social media is Forrester, but even Forrester has not been as aggressive as it could be. Here are some ways that major analysts firms should be involved with social media tools:

Research it

Social media should be a topic of research.  We think this is quite obvious, but with the exception of Forrester none of the major firms have done any in-depth, systematic research on the topic. No doubt some of the firms will say that their clients are not asking for research, nor doing any inquiries on the topic. Well, a couple of years ago the same could be said about Green IT and now look at the interest in the topic. AMR did hire Jonathan Yarmis (see here) and IDC hired Rachel Happe to research this space, but both need to broaden and deepen the teams focusing on social media.  We would expect analysts to take the lead in new areas and provide good advice to their clients.

Use it

Social media looks like it can be an interesting and useful research tool. Blogs can be idea development platforms. LinkedIn Answers offers the ability to ask questions of people not clients of the firm. Twitter can be a platform for snap polls and intra-event communications.  Can these tools be used to gather data?  How else could they be used to do research?

Analyst firms could use social media to manage internal collaboration and knowledge.  One of the great frustrations for the vendor AR community is that they have to conduct multiple briefings on the same topic for analysts for the same firm. This is because the analysts do not exchange information they receive from vendors because their firms do not invest in collaboration platforms and knowledge management. This would also offer the firms experience in how to recommend these tools to their clients.

The analyst firms have a huge asset locked in their published research and conference presentations.  They should use social media to deliver that content. Yes, some of the material can be accessed via search on the website, but those searches turn up discrete PDFs with no organization. Imagine how much more powerful all that content would be if it was poured into a wiki with appropriate links between articles. A wiki would also permit clients, end users and vendors, to add comments, vote on the usefulness of an article and add insights.

There have been many articles written on the marketing uses of social media so I won’t repeat that material here. Suffice to say that analyst firms would derive much benefit from enhancing their marketing using social media.

Promote it

Analyst firms are constantly looking for new products to sell. While some of the firms use focus groups and other traditional techniques to get new product input, social media has been demonstrated to be cheaper, faster and more intimate means to get this input. Once they get the information they could use that to promote both the social media and the information they learned from it.

Help establish social media communities.  This is a topic that has been covered in depth in both traditional and new media. What is relevant for analyst firms is that they have a built-in opportunity by leveraging their existing client bases and the various groupings like role-based clients, executive forums and conference communities.  By demonstrating the use of social media they could not only establish their own communities, but show clients how it can be done.

Bottom Line: The analysts are sitting on a potential gold mine of business value if they only leveraged the opportunity that social media represents.  If they think they are the though leaders of IT they should demonstrate some of that leadership.

Question: How would you like analyst firms to use social media for research or client delivery? 

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