One of the sources of disconnect between vendors’ perception of the advisory analysts (e.g., Forrester and Gartner) and the reality is how very differently vendors and end users (usually enterprise IT managers) make use of the phone-based inquiry that comes with annual subscriptions.
IT managers frequently use analyst inquiry to manage the risk of buying a technology product or service. In addition, IT managers will call upon the analysts to give them intelligence and insights when they are negotiating a contract with a vendor. Often this information and advice is provided over many short phone calls touching on very specific topics, e.g., “Vendor X came to present to the team yesterday and said they could…” or “Vendor Y appears to have better support and should I…..” As a consequence, IT managers see the analysts as allies when it comes to making the best purchasing decisions and paying the right price. In fact, many IT managers think that rather than an expense, a Gartner or Forrester contract is an investment because they end up saving so much on their vendor contracts.
Vendors just do not have the same experience with analysts. First, vendor clients of analysts rarely use inquiry with the same frequency as end users. Furthermore, the typically vendor client never calls an advisory analyst to get advice on how to save money on purchase. So for the vendor executive, the only thing s/he sees is an expensive contract that is rarely used and provides no tangible value. No wonder vendor executives are befuddled by why end users continue to sign up for advisory analyst contracts.
We bring this up because a SageCircle strategist was talking to two senior and savvy vendor executives who normally understand the analysts. The executives were completely amazed to hear about how enterprise IT managers use the analysts and the frequency of contact (e.g., over 350,000 phone inquiries in the last four quarters).
- AR should brief executives about how end users/IT managers use analyst inquiry and the value they receive
- Where practical, AR should arrange to have executives talk with analysts about how end users use their analyst contracts
Bottom Line: Vendors that do not understand how enterprise IT managers use advisory analysts for insights into services and product purchases will often not grok the business value of analysts to enterprises. This lack of understanding could lead AR’s executive sponsors and stakeholders to make suboptimal decisions about the appropriate investment of their time and other resources in AR.
Question: AR – Do you think your executives really understand how the relationship between end users and advisory analysts?