• 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 […]

Is Yankee Group being prepared for another sale?

Last week’s severe cutbacks at Yankee Group (see here and here) could be an indicator that the firm is simply refocusing on its prime research opportunity or it could mean it is back on the selling block. This would be the fourth change in ownership in this decade if this turns out to be true. Here is a quick timeline:

  •  1970 – founded by Howard Anderson
  • 1996 August – acquirer Primark ($34m)
  • 2000 May – acquirer Reuters Enterprise ($72.5m)
  • 2004 May – acquirer Decision Matrix Group, formed by Monitor Clipper Partners (undisclosed)
  • 2005 November – acquirer Alta Communications (undisclosed)
  • 2008 September – ?

 A sale by Alta would not be surprising as it – like Monitor Clipper Partners – is a private equity firm that buys and sells companies as investments, not to build a larger corporation. If Yankee Group under CEO Emily Nagel Green was not performing to Alta’s expectations, then it would have no qualms about dumping it quickly.

This would no different than Monitor Clipper Partners (MCP) selling Yankee after Gartner snatched META Group out from under Yankee (who reportedly had a signed contract in place to acquire META). This move by Gartner thwarted MCP’s plan for using Yankee as the core of a market roll up strategy. Once the then second largest IT end-user advisory firm was gone, MCP decided that a roll up based on many – dozens? – of boutiques was not worth the effort. Thus they said “Good bye Yankee.”

There have been other indicators that the current situation might be preparation for Alta to unload Yankee. For example, SageCircle has gotten several reports that as recently as a month ago, recruiters working were talking to top analysts and analyst managers about joining Yankee. Obviously, Yankee executives were thinking about expansion at that point, not contraction. However, it is not unusal that a private equity firm would surprised the executives of a portfolio company with orders to cut costs quickly in order to make the company more attractive to potential buyers.

Who might be likely buyers for Yankee? It is uncertain at this point. TechWeb might be a candidate even after its acquisition of Pyramid Research (see here) if the overlaps could be managed and the price was right. It does not seem likely that Forrester, Gartner or IDC would be interested. Informa – which owns Datamonitor which owns Ovum – could be a possibility, again if overlaps are manageable. Or there could be a totally unexpected player that takes everybody by surprise such as when MasterCard acquired Tower Group from Reuters Enterprise in May 2004.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Companies signing contracts with Yankee should try to insert terms and conditions into contracts that permit monthly/quarterly payments and termination of the contract if key analysts depart. This is not likely to be successful as analyst firms are loathe to agree to T&Cs of this nature
  • AR teams should carefully monitor the status of Yankee’s market influence and re-rank Yankee analysts accordingly. Do not hesitate to lower the rank of Yankee analysts even if it means dropping them to Tier 2 or 3 status
  • AR teams should monitor the status of key Yankee analysts and be prepared to act quickly (e.g., terminate a planned analyst consulting day, aka SAS day) should key analysts depart
  • Follow the path of departing Yankee analysts who may have been key in your market. They are likely to surface in other firms… lend a helping hand today and it will remembered when they are in their new firms

Bottom Line: This is a tricky time for Yankee Group. As long as there is uncertainty about its future, clients will be reluctant to renew contracts and prospects leery about signing new contracts. This could cause a downward spiral leading to new analyst layoffs leading to more clients not renewing and so on. The current and any future analyst layoffs will lead to a diminishment of Yankee’s influence, which decreases the motivation of some vendors to buy Yankee services. Competing analyst firms are no doubt seeking to hire not only recently departed analysts, but also remaining good analysts and top sales reps.

Question: Analyst firms – IDC and Ovum have already started interviewing former Yankee analysts, are you? AR teams – Do you have formal processes in place that will permit you to react quickly if key analysts depart?

One Response

  1. […] a result, we are also skeptical about reports of impending purchase of Yankee (I’ll bet $1000 that it won’t be bought this year; offer open for the next week if you […]

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