• Recent Posts: Influencer Relations

    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 […]

    Do the IIAR awards simply reward large firms?

    Do the IIAR awards simply reward large firms?

    The 2016 Institute for Industry Analyst Relations’ awards seem to be rewarding firms for the scale of their analyst relations, rather than their quality. In a blog post on July 6th, the IIAR awarded IBM the status of best analyst relations teams, with Cisco, Dell and HP as runners-up. Together with Microsoft, which outsources much of its analyst relations to […]

    Unmaking fruit salad: 6 ways to help analysts segment markets

    Unmaking fruit salad: 6 ways to help analysts segment markets

     It’s a common challenge for providers: some new or fast-changing market contains very different solutions. Clients want either apples or oranges, but the analyst research reads more like fruit salad. As new solutions come into old markets, or as analysts try to squeeze hot new solutions into their less-exciting coverage areas, it’s increasingly hard for users of analyst research to make […]

    Control in Analyst Attitude Surveys

    Control in Analyst Attitude Surveys

    Because a lot of analysts take part in our Analyst Attitude Surveys, we are able to offer clients what we call a control group. In the language of research, a control group is a group of people who don’t get the treatment that we want to measure the effectiveness of. For example, most firms might be focussed on a top tier […]

    Time for a new direction in AR measurement?

    Time for a new direction in AR measurement?

    Worldwide, Analyst Relations teams are committed to fostering the best information exchange, experiences and trusted relationships with tightly-targetted global industry analysts and influencers. Sometimes the targeting is too narrow and analysts are treated inhumanly. However, the technology buying process is transforming and so must the benchmarking of analyst relationships. There’s already a long-term transformation of analyst relations. Over one-third of technology […]

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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