• Recent Posts: Influencer Relations

    IDC overtakes HfS in 2017 global Analyst Firm Awards

    IDC overtakes HfS in 2017 global Analyst Firm Awards

    Gartner and Forrester’s leadership is no surprise, but this year IDC has won back third place in our annual Analyst Firm Awards, pushing HfS Research into a still-impressive fourth place. PAC and Ovum have also risen substantially this year, rounding out the top six. In last year’s awards, we saw that firms that could create business leads for their clients […]

    Analyst Value Survey shows deeper frustration with industry analysts

    Analyst Value Survey shows deeper frustration with industry analysts

    I’ve been in New York this week discussing the Analyst Value Survey with both Kea clients and industry analysts. The 2017 report will be available early in January, but the responses show that many users of analysts’ services are reaching out to more firms than before, and are gathering quite uneven value. Firstly, the good news is that many users […]

    Webinar: Survey shows new risks for analyst relations

    Webinar: Survey shows new risks for analyst relations

    A first glance at the Analyst Value Survey shows new risks emerging for analyst relations professionals. We’re hosting a webinar on November 30 to hear how leading AR professionals are responding to them, and what the best practice is for your analyst relations program. Three risks stand out massively. First, there a big gap between the firms that vendors think […]

    Vendors’ five key thoughts about analyst firms

    Vendors’ five key thoughts about analyst firms

    Five things stand out from vendors’ responses to a survey we conducted after our Analyst Relations roundtable at the English Speaking Union. Analysts (including analysts who call themselves consultants or advisors) are often thought to have bias, especially if most of their revenue comes from vendors. Sometimes the effort put into staying informed makes analysts seem very process-driven but less […]

    Join us for the Forum in San José on November 17

    Join us for the Forum in San José on November 17

    Should someone you know be at the year’s most important discussion on analyst relations? We’ll be at the free ARchitect User Forum 2016 in San José, CA, on November 17. Professionals from industry leaders will introduce the sessions: Lopez Research, Digital transformation; IBM, AR in large organizations; Cognizant, Managing analyst events;  Capgemini, AR knowledge management; Wipro, Intelligence-driven relationships; and ARinsights, AR […]

Bursts of analyst departures in a hot research area is not unusual

The clump of departures of social media analysts – Brian Haven, Peter Kim and Charlene Li (from Forrester), and Rachel Happe (from IDC) – is not at all unusual and follows typical patterns.

There are several reasons why analysts leave a firm: just want a change or new professional challenge, recruited by another company, desire to start own firm, the current employer has grown too large and its culture has changed and a few others. In this current sitaution, there are two primary reasons why the analysts are leaving: lured by startups and hanging out their own shingle.

From late 1997 to early 2000 a number of analysts covering ecommerce/ebusiness got lured away from the firms by Dot Com startups. For example, in one week Gartner lost four of five analysts covering ecommerce. Yes, they were lured away by various startups dangling stock options, but these analysts were also annoyed at the money Gartner was investing in Jupiter Communications (ancestor of JupiterResearch) rather than beefing up Gartner’s own ecommerce/ebusiness research team.

Another common reason for analysts in a hot research area to leave a firm is to capitalize on their personal brand by setting up a single practitioner or boutique firm. This approach provides the departing analyst more flexibility and the perception – not always realized – that they can make more money on their own than as a salaried employee at a large firm.

In this situation, Brian, Peter and Rachel left for hot startups, while Charlene is hanging out her own shingle. Typical.

Another point to put these departures into context is normal employee turnover. If an analyst firm keeps its analyst workforce turnover under 3% (which would be a really good retention rate) that would still mean that Forrester would lose 11 analysts annually, IDC 24 and Gartner 20. So losing a few analysts, even in a clump and on a hot topic, is not necessarily an indication of problems at a firm.

Bottom Line: Rather than jump to conclusions that the departures of multiple analysts in the same hot research topic represent dire implications for a firm or analyst industry, members of the analyst ecosystem should step back and calmly analyze the situation. Are the departures a typical response to a hot research area? Or do the departures represent a systemic problem for a firm?

Question: Have you seen other bursts of analysts leaving firms? If so, what topics and when?

6 Responses

  1. […] Some other analyst industry observers will no doubt be hyperventilating about the dire implications for Forrester these departures entail. Calm down. Take a deep breath. While a temporary setback for a particular Forrester analyst team, these bursts of departures from a hot research area are not unique (see here). […]

  2. This is an interesting area at the moment and there definitely does seem to be more churn in hot research areas. Looking at the wider picture though there are signs of an overall decline in analyst positions over the last year – http://ataresearch.blogspot.com/ – but how this impacts on AR is another question.

  3. This is an interesting area at the moment and there certainly seems to be more churn in hot research areas. We have just published a post looking at how the AR and analyst job markets have changed over the last three years http://tinyurl.com/56j5e5

  4. I agree with the analysis, Carter. And let it be known that although analysts are rumored to have large egos, I don’t think any of us expect Forrester to be any worse off. I mean, they took the savings from my salary and bought Jupiter! 😉

  5. […] that happens at every firm and most every individual’s career. As we pointed out a year ago in Bursts of analyst departures in a hot research area is not unusual, there are always analysts leaving firms for a variety of reasons. The reasons that Ray gave in his […]

  6. […] handle) and two other social media analysts left Forrester Research in the summer of 2008 (see Bursts of analyst departures in a hot research area are not unusual). So was Forrester doomed? Not at all. It still retained Groundswell co-author Josh Bernoff (blog, […]

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