• Recent Posts: Influencer Relations

    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 […]

    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 […]

Out-tasking AR Activities [AR practitioner question]

question-mark-graphic.jpgInquiry: After posting The Prospect Profile Form, we got a call from a client who said it was a great idea, but she did not have the bandwidth to use this technique. The AR manager wanted to know what she could do in order to have time to do more for the sales team. 

AR departments are frequently short staffed and under hiring constraints. One method for overcoming this resource limitation is to out-task certain activities to contractors or PR firms.

In this particular case, we were discussing how an AR program could free-up the time needed to reach out to their company’s sales organization. It turns out that while our client understood the strategic impact and value of helping to drive sales by leveraging AR’s knowledge of the analysts, there was a major hurdle to overcome – not enough hours in the day. The company was and continues to be under a hiring freeze, so requesting additional AR headcount was out of the picture. However, during the conversation we discovered that there was limited budget to hire contractors or other outside resources. This turned out to be an underutilized resource as our client was not contracting out AR activities as aggressively as she could.

It is very important when considering this route to understand the difference between outsourcing and out-tasking. Outsourcing is traditionally associated with turning over operational responsibility for an entire business or IT process (e.g., outsourcing payroll management or mainframe datacenters). In this context, we are definitely not talking about outsourcing all of AR (usually appropriate only for startups). Rather, we suggested that our client take a serious look at all of their regular tasks and pick which ones could be turned over to an outside resource – thus the name out-tasking instead of outsourcing.

The types of tasks that are most suited to out-tasking are those that are non-strategic, repetitive, and easily understood. Following are three examples of what can and cannot be out-tasked:

  • Doing the logistics of setting up a series of phone-based briefings or a roadshow can be out-tasked. The actual interactions with the analysts should not be out-tasked.
  • AR staff should decide which articles should be included in the analyst newsletter, and determine the messaging and positioning of each article. Writing the articles, laying out the newsletter and sending it to the analysts can be out-tasked.
  • Gathering a database of analyst quotes in the press and published analyst research can be out-tasked. The AR staff retains responsibility for determining the relevance and accuracy of those quotes and research.
  • Providing training about the analysts and AR best practices can be out-tasked. The AR team retains control over what topics will be taught, what company policies to include and what issues to refer to the internal AR team.

There are many sources of outside labor that AR can leverage. For logistics support AR can turn to a contractor (see AR Contractors Directory). Research summaries and analytics can be turned over to AR services firms like Analyst Strategy Group. Training can be out-tasked to SageCircle (see 3/ Training). Of course, PR agencies can do logistics and press quote gathering as well.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Review the AR team’s activities to identify tasks that could be handed to an outside resource
  • Inventory available resources both new and companies who are already an established vendor in your procurement system (e.g., press clipping service used by PR team)
  • Develop processes for how outside resources will be managed
  • Negotiate contracts that out-task activities while retaining control

Bottom Line: AR staff has to be ruthless about managing its time. If budget is available, activities that are not strategic should be turned over to contractors or your PR firm. However, monitoring and supervising these outside resources is a critical success factor for out-tasking.

Question: What to you out-task at this time? What are the barriers to out-tasking more activities?

One Response

  1. […] can help with data collection Posted on December 2, 2008 by sagecircle As was mentioned in Out-tasking AR Activities, measurement work is a prime candidate for out-tasking. There are various firms that can assist AR […]

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