Friday, December 02, 2005

IT publisher and analyst firm link up to create research business

Situation Publishing, the firm behind IT news site The Register, is joining forces with Freeform Dynamics, the company recently launched by Dale Vile (previously with Quocirca).

The two organisations are readying a joint primary research business that will launch early next year.

This move allows Situation Publishing to offer a new range of research-related services to IT vendors looking to exploit its customer base (The Register has more than 3.3 million unique readers per month).

According to Dale, the joint venture will provide Freeform Dynamics with the capability to conduct global telephone based research as well as giving it access to "a highly interactive online pool of IT pros for electronic research" - something which will be crucial given the company's stated approach to industry analysis is to "rely heavily on input from IT and business professionals."

It’s an interesting move but is Dale now effectively becoming a pseudo-analyst whose job is to provide stories for The Register? Does it mean the research is going to be slanted to provide obvious media hooks?

He says no. In fact, these were some of the reasons for establishing a JV rather than having Situation Publishing invest direct in Freeform Dynamics.

“News publishing and industry analysis are two totally different types of business. They have very different types of relationships with clients and the vendor community as a whole. Freeform Dynamics itself must therefore remain independent as an industry analyst firm to be effective. The JV approach gives both parties the ability to jointly invest in the common element, primary research execution, without confusing their respective core business activities.”

Dale also sees the JV approach providing other benefits. “Keeping it separate from Freeform Dynamics means we can potentially provide a service to other industry analyst firms who might benefit from primary research input into their activities but do not have the operational infrastructure to execute themselves."

So, does it make sense? Well, another analyst firm with the ability to conduct primary research can only be good for the industry. It means more choice for vendors, providing them with another alternative to the global analyst firms.

Given Freeform Dynamic's belief in open source research, we also hope that this move means even more trustworthy and independent research is going to be available free of charge to techonology buyers and users.


Dennis Howlett said...

Why should OS automatically mean:
"Even more trustworthy and independent research is going to be available free of charge to techonology buyers and users."
Screw that - I'd rather listen to a user presentation than any 'suit.'

David Rossiter said...

Don't misunderstand me. OS doesn't automatically equate to "trustworthy" or "independent". My point is that the OS model will allow more companies to see what analysts are thinking - without having to pay anything.

I'm not trying to rank the value of an analyst's advice against that of an end-user (or indeed other industry 'experts'). That's a whole other subject which I think we as a marketing / sales / PR community need to start thinking about if we're to add real value to the business. I have some thoughts but I am not ready to blog on it yet.