It's been interesting and encouraging to watch the revival of Ovum's IT services practice over recent months. Under the leadership of Eamonn Kennedy, the company is slowly but surely re-establishing its reputation as a tier one player in the market.
The IT services team looks stronger than it has done for the past few years. Luring Eamonn back from NelsonHall was a real coup for Ovum. He's a world-class analyst.
With David Mitchell's support and encouragement, Eamonn has been busy since his return, building out the team, strengthening the skill base and expanding its geographic coverage.
Hiring Alexander Simkin from Clarendon was an inspired choice, given that his previous experience as an analyst was in software rather than services. He is already impressing with his thorough, research-driven approach to analysis.
Alexander's recruitment should help Ovum sharpen the intellectual rigour of its research, something that Eamonn is keen to do. In a world where some analyst firms are blurring the lines between analysis and journalism, Eamonn recognises that high quality analysis will help Ovum stand out in the future and add real value to its clients.
Eamonn also has global ambitions. As well as the five analysts in Europe (Ian Brown, Samad Masood and John O’Brien are the others), his team now includes John Madden who has responsibility for North America while Jens Butler was hired back in November specifically to look after Asia-Pacific.
Starting to position Ovum as a worldwide IT services analyst firm makes sense. If the old cliché of 'get big, get niche or get out' holds true for the analyst market, then this is the only route available to the company.
Datamonitor, which owns Ovum, is ambitious. It won’t be content for Ovum to remain a niche UK and EMEA specialist. There is a much bigger IT services market out there and Eamonn wants his team to reflect this.
It doesn’t mean that Ovum will stop covering the UK market - but we expect growth outside of the UK to remain a priority for Eamonn.
Then there's Orbys. Purchased by Ovum several years ago, this advisory firm works with firms looking to procure IT outsourcing services. It could give Ovum a real competitive edge over most of its rivals. Apart from Gartner, how many analyst firms are there covering the IT services market that can bring together qualitative research (Ovum), quantitative research (Datamonitor) and the first hand experience of working with buyers (Orbys)? The resulting research and analysis could really sing.
We think that David and Eamonn have made a good start to re-establishing Ovum as a tier 1 player in the IT services market. High quality, fact-based research and analysis are sometimes hard to find in this sector (which is surprising given the number of players out there). It looks like this is what Ovum wants to deliver so we wish Eamonn well in his efforts.
Hopefully, John Leigh – the newly appointed research and analysis director – will support Eamonn as he continues on the journey. Great progress has been made so far - but Eamonn is the first to say that there's plenty of work still to be done.