• Recent Posts: Influencer Relations

    Top ten global analysts: 2016’s outstanding research

    Top ten global analysts: 2016’s outstanding research

    2016 produced some outstanding analyst research. We’ve picked the best articles from each of the world’s ten leading analysts firms, as ranked in the 2017 Analyst Firm Awards. Together they show how diverse analysts’ most compelling content can be, including deep quantitative research into mature markets, like cellphones; pointed competitive insight into corporate changes, like Dell’s integration of EMC, and […]

    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 […]

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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