Monday, November 12, 2007

CCS Insight attracts another top mobile analyst

Leading mobile analyst Paolo Pescatore starts today at CCS Insight as director - operator strategy, content and applications.

Paolo joins the CCS Insight team from IDC where he was research manager for the EMEA consumer wireless and mobile communications service.

Following the recruitment of Geoff Blaber earlier in the year (who has just been promoted from senior analyst to director of devices), it's another great hire for directors Mick Walker, Shaun Collins and Ben Wood.

In the past 18 months, CCS Insight has transformed itself and is now rapidly creating a brand that challenges the bigger, better-known players in the analyst space.

We've been talking to Ben recently about the reasons behind CCS Insight's success and his views on the analyst market. Sometime later this week, I'll post again on this.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Yankee hires new enterprise mobility analyst

Yankee Group's enterprise team is in hiring mode.

It's appointed Nick Spencer of Canalys; he's going to focus on enterprise mobile application environments.

There's a second hire in the works for Camille Mendler's team too. More on that soon I am told.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Another small analyst firm is expanding

UK boutique firm Macehiter Ward-Dutton (MWD) is expanding.

It has hired Angela Ashenden as a principal analyst. She was previously a senior analyst with Ovum, working in the general area of information, knowledge and content management.

At MWD, Angela will be covering collaboration, a new research area for the firm. In her first blog post, she explains:

"I will be coming at collaboration from a different perspective from most other analyst companies...taking the enterprise need as my primary consideration, rather than the technology...I will be looking at the technology in as far as how it addresses the organisation's broader business need...I aim to keep the focus on how the technology fits within and complements that structure...I'll (also) be looking at what makes collaboration work within an enterprise, and what techniques and methods you can use to implement collaborative working patterns within your organisation."

Sounds pretty much in line with the two Neil's focus on IT-Business alignment then.

It is great to see MWD expanding again - and it's part of a developing trend. In recent months, we've seen new appointments by Quocirca, Freeform Dynamics and CCS Insight (to name but a few).

There's an ever increasing recognition in the market that these smaller firms have a lot to offer.

They bring experienced analysts, sensible service offerings and a more flexible way of working (which contrasts sharply with the aggressive sales-led approach it seems some of the larger global firms are now adopting).

They have might not have the direct commercial impact on technology buyers that Gartner and Forrester can offer - but when it comes to media impact, influence within the ICT community and a willingness to engage in debate and provide insight and feedback during briefings...

Oh, and watch out for more departures from Ovum. Everytime we pick up the phone, there's another rumour of an analyst deciding that now is a good time to seek alternative employment.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Morgan Chambers acquired by EquaTerra

Action in the sourcing advisory arena today with EquaTerra's acquisition of Morgan Chambers.

You can read the press release here. The Houston Business Journal adds some additional comment.

This is big news - at least for those in the outsourcing and IT services space. Both firms are substantial players in the 'third party advisor' (TPA) market. The Black Book of Outsourcing 2007 names EquaTerra as the leading provider in the IT Outsourcing market while Morgan Chambers holds the same position in BPO.

As the two firms have different approaches to the market - EquaTerra takes an industry view while Morgan Chambers is more focused on countries - it'll be interesting to see how these are brought together. If done well, it will most likely result in a powerful approach that could easily spark further consolidation as others in the market try not to get left behind.

And there's plenty of competition around. TPI* says it is the largest sourcing advisory firm in the world (a claim not challenged by EquaTerra in the press release; instead it uses phrases like "market leading" and "advisory firm of choice").

Then think of other specialists like Everest, NeoIT and Alsbridge, the big management consultancy firms and even traditional analyst firms in the shape of Gartner Consulting, Ovum's Orbys and, increasingly, NelsonHall.

The power of the TPA has long been apparent to those AR professionals working in the IT services and outsourcing sector. In this market, they are far more important commercially than the industry analysts - although they do lack the 'rounded' influence that the typical industry analyst is capable of delivering.

(As background, there was a fascinating conversation back in late 2005 over here at ARmadgeddon on the relative importance of analysts v TPAs. Make sure to read the comments by HP's Carter and ex Gartner analyst, Vinnie!)

* It's an interesting side-step to remember that less than two years ago, EquaTerra was planning a merger with TPI. Just a few months later, this deal was terminated by 'mutual consent'.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Hurwitz executive joins Quocirca

Fran Howarth has joined Quocirca as a principal analyst. Fran was previously a partner on the executive team at Hurwitz.

At Quocirca, she's going to be covering "emerging technologies and business models" which sounds wonderfully vague. More specifically, her areas of coverage are going to be supply chain and lifecycle management, information management, security and asset management.

Fran's appointment should give Quocirca additional coverage of some important market sectors. Sharon Crawford already covers supply chain as part of her enterprise solutions remit while Bob Tarzey has carved out a niche for himself in the IT security space alongside his core focus on 'route to market'.

The beauty of Quocirca (indeed, of many of the boutique firms) is that they deliberately set out to avoid the silo mentality practiced by some of their bigger rivals. In a market that is continually consolidating and converging (and sometimes colliding) it's always good to see an analyst firm recognise that the old divides in the ICT industry are no longer as relevant as they once were.

Quocirca's continued expansion backs up recent conversations I've had with the firm. Business is good and there's a lot of confidence about the future.

In the meantime, what does this mean for Hurwitz? The company's never had much profile over on this side of the Atlantic, choosing instead to partner with Bloor Research in the UK as a means of providing European coverage to its clients.

Fran was Hurwitz's only 'local' European analyst and we suspect she won't be replaced. Instead, we expect to see Hurwitz focus on developing its relationship with Bloor Research (especially given that Robin Bloor is a partner at Hurwitz as well as being chief research officer with Bloor).

Friday, August 24, 2007

Matt Hatton leaves Yankee Group

Farewell to Matt Hatton who covers the consumer wireless market in EMEA for Yankee Group. Today is his last day there.

He's jumping the fence and joining the mobile operator 3 UK in a market intelligence role. All the best in the new role Matt.

(We've also heard rumours that two new analysts are likely to be joining Yankee in September - one of whom is the long awaited replacement for Nick McQuire who left the enterprise team earlier this year to join BT).

Monday, August 20, 2007

IDC to speak at IIAR meeting in September

We're delighted to have IDC as our guest speaker at the IIAR (Institute of Industry Analyst Relations) meeting in September.

With Martin Hingley, (chief research officer, EMEA) and Steven Frantzen (group VP, CEMA and general manager, EMEA research) joining us, we have two senior executives coming along. I'm sure that once again, it'll be an interesting time.

The meeting is taking place on 20 September in central London.

Meetings are open to all IIAR members. We also have a limited number of guest places available.

Please do contact IIAR secretary Hannah Kirkman if you'd like to find out more. She can be reached here.

FYI, I am a board member of the IIAR.

John Chambers of Cisco on the value of industry analysts (1.40 min video)

This short video clip is well worth watching.

John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco explains why he talks to analysts - and how his reasons have changed over the past five years.

Click here to see the clip. It's embedded in the post titled "Why C-Scape?"

Friday, August 17, 2007

Cisco launches AR blog

It's great to see Cisco has started an AR blog as part of its analyst outreach. Find it here.

In the first post, Skip MacAskill - director, industry analyst relations - explains the reasons for introducing it:

"We have developed this site to interact with industry influencers and thought leaders on key industry wide trends and issues as well as Cisco-related technologies, markets and customer segments...Incorporating different media and communications tools into our AR program provides our industry analysts, customers, partners, and other interested communities the opportunity to interact and share ideas in new ways."

Monday, July 16, 2007

A reminder about Yankee and the next IIAR meeting

As so many of my fellow AR bloggers have already said, we're delighted to have Yankee Group presenting at next week's IIAR Forum.

Camille Mendler, vice president of the Enterprise Research group, and Ajay Sule, senior regional vice president for international sales, will join us for the meeting which is taking place at Hill & Knowlton's offices in London on 26 July (thank you Dom).

It should be an interesting session. Yankee is best known in Europe for its work in the telecoms space but outside of that arena doesn't really have a profile. There are continued rumours flying around about it expanding into other areas over here or retrenching back into telecoms in the US.

I for one am looking forward to hearing how the company is planning to develop itself. With the continued trend towards consolidation, where and how does Yankee see itself fitting into the market in the future?

The meeting is open to all IIAR members. We also have a few places available for guests - please contact IIAR secretary Hannah Kirkman for more information.

Note: For anyone not familar with us, the IIAR (Institute of Industry Analyst Relations) is an organisation dedicated to raising industry awareness of the value of analyst relations, promoting and sharing best practice in AR, enhancing communications between vendors and analyst firms, and providing opportunities for AR professionals to meet and network with their industry peers.

The IIAR draws its membership from a broad spectrum of AR practitioners including vendors, AR consultants and training providers.

I am a board member along with Duncan Chapple, David Taylor, Ludovic Leforestier and Susanne Huebner.

Friday, July 13, 2007

And it's official - Informa does indeed acquire Datamonitor

See here or here for the official announcement.

The chief exec at Informa, David Gilbertson, is quoted as saying: "Datamonitor is a model example of a company that slots neatly into Informa...Both companies provide customers with data and analysis that is essential and unique - information they cannot do without. As part of the Informa group we believe Datamonitor will be able to market to our 20 million-strong contact database, take part in our 10,000+ events each year and use our global sales infrastructure across 43 countries. Combining the businesses will enhance growth prospects and margins."

Still no mention of why this acquisition is a good thing for the customer. Perhaps that's taken for granted.

Informa and Datamonitor - will the acquisition go through?

The Informa offer closes at 1pm today (13 July 2007) so we'll find out soon enough but to me it's starting to look like a done deal.

There were some doubts creeping in last month though. Back on 25 June, Informa had valid acceptances from just 22.1 per cent of the Datamonitor shares - but that's when the Datamonitor share price was sitting way above the offer price, hitting a peak of 680.50p. Investors were either looking for Informa to boost its bid or hoping to see a third-party enter the fray.

Now with the Datamonitor share price sitting at 642.50p this morning (9.55am BST), that 650p offer from Informa has got to be looking a lot more attractive.

Note: In no way am I offering any financial investment advice!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

There's something annoying about analyst firms that...

There's something annoying about analyst firms that insist you fill in a briefing request form because they want to capture lots of information for their sales force to use.

An example we saw today asked for all this detail (alongside the normal stuff I expect):

Company Overview:
- Core competence:
- Value proposition:
- Organizational structure:
- Financial performance:

Market Position:
- Market environment:
- Drivers & Business issues:
- Target markets:
- Profile installed base:
- Competitive differentiation:

- Products & Services:
- Sales Channel:
- Customer benefits:
- Success stories:

Vision for the Future:

What are the top three issues the company is facing:

Does the analyst really need to know all this before deciding whether or not to take a briefing? I'd suggest not.

Compare it with what Gartner and Forrester ask for - that's much more reasonable and sensible.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Thoughts on Informa and Datamonitor

Yesterday we had the news that Informa is to acquire Datamonitor. As Dom says, this is the “biggest industry analyst story of the year so far.”

What can we read into this purchase?

Informa is a provider of specialist information and services for a variety of academic, scientific, professional and commercial business communities. A firm like Datamonitor fits nicely into its business model.

However, I don’t think we should start to get excited about Informa suddenly becoming a significant rival to Gartner in the technology research and advisory business (at least not in the traditional manner, but more on that later*).

First, the numbers don’t stack up. Last year, Gartner had revenues of $1 billion (USD). Even without consulting, its revenue is still over $700 million.

In comparison, Informa may have revenues of over £1 billion (GBP) but technology research isn’t that big a part of its business.

In 2006, Informa’s telecoms and media products (ie its technology offering) had revenues of £64.7 million. That’s everything – events, magazines and newsletters, and research services.

Datamonitor will bring in some additional technology revenue – but its total revenue in 2006 was £70.4 million and a significant part of that isn’t from technology research.

When you start doing the sums (even allowing for the dollar / pound exchange rate), then Informa’s technology analyst business is going to be a whole smaller than Gartner’s. (Although, interestingly, it’ll be of a similar size to Forrester’s – again, exchange rates permitting).

And it's not just the money. Informa’s existing research business specialises in the telecoms and media markets. By acquiring Datamonitor (and Ovum and Butler and Computerwire), it is broadening its coverage out – but it’s still got some way to go before it can effectively compete with Gartner’s breadth and depth of coverage of the technology sector.

If Informa plans to build an analyst business of a scale to rival Gartner, then there’s a lot of growth needed. Some of that must be organic but acquisitions will have to play a part too. Think Forrester and Yankee for example, perhaps with some boutique firms thrown in to provide coverage of more specialist market niches.

But I think we need to consider whether this is Informa’s plan at all.

Both Informa and Datamonitor have successful businesses outside of technology research. There’s plenty of low-hanging fruit that can be gathered as a result of this acquisition. And most of it’s not in the technology analyst market.

* There is another side to this acquisition that potentially poses a more interesting long-term challenge to those of us in the analyst relations market. I’ve got to go out now so that will have to wait - probably tomorrow.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Informa to buy Datamonitor

So, yet more consolidation in the analyst world with the news today about Informa's planned acquisition of Datamonitor. Informa is set to pay £502 million.

You can see the announcement on both sites, Informa and Datamonitor.

The FT is reporting that "Michael Danson, chief executive of Datamonitor, will remain in post for 12 months...The future management structure will be decided over the next six months but Datamonitor will remain a standalone company and its brand will be retained."

The Telegraph has Danson saying that "the deal was principally about revenue synergies, not cost savings...most jobs at Datamonitor, aside from the finance director and a few non-executive directors, were likely to remain safe."

Thanks to Jonny.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Gideon Gartner to speak at Computer History Museum

Gideon Gartner, a pioneer of the industry analyst marketplace and founder of both Gartner and Giga, is speaking at the Computer History Museum in California later this month.

The event on Tuesday May 15 is being described as "an evening of candid and personal insights on the rise of IT industry analysts."

Gideon's conversation with venture capitalist Neill Brownstein is being recorded and will be made available on YouTube.

Event Details
Date: May 15 2007
Time: 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Venue: Computer History Museum, 1401 N. Shoreline Boulevard Mountain View, CA 94043

Entrance is free although there's a suggested donation of $10. Advanced registration is being strongly advised.

If you're interested, there's more information here.

Thanks to Barbara French over at Tekrati who will be writing more on this event at her blog. She has also set up a related wiki.

She's describing it as "a "don't miss" event for everyone who works with / for the industry analysts."

About the Computer History Museum
Established in 1996, the aim of the Computer History Museum aim is "to preserve and present for posterity the artifacts and stories of the information age. As such, the Museum plays a unique role in the history of the computing revolution and its worldwide impact on the human experience...It is a public benefit organization dedicated to the preservation and celebration of computing history. It is home to one of the largest collections of computing artifacts in the world, a collection comprising over 13,000 objects, 20,000 images, 5,000 moving images, 4,000 linear feet of cataloged documentation and 5,000 titles or several hundred gigabytes of software."

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Forrester speaking at Institute of Industry Analyst Relations meeting

A quick heads-up. Forrester Research will be speaking at next week's IIAR (Institute of Industry Analyst Relations) meeting.

Our guest speakers are David Metcalfe, senior vice-president, research (the man who manages Forrester's research organisation in Europe) and Kevin Lucas, senior analyst (whose research interests include best practice for AR professionals).

The meeting is taking place on 17 May in London. There are still a few spaces available so if you would like to find out more, please contact me or the IIAR secretary, Hannah Kirkman (her contact details are here). There's also information on our Yahoo! group.

Previous IIAR meetings have provided incredibly valuable opportunities to meet, listen to and have discussions with senior executives at the big analyst firms.

As well as Forrester, our speakers this year have included Peter Sondergaard, senior vice-president of research for Gartner, and Tim Royston-Webb, managing director of Datamonitor's technology business).

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Off-topic / A day in the life of a typical PR consultant

I just loved this post from ....the world's leading....

Read it and weep - with laughter - knowning it's true and happens to some poor soul every week of the year.

Why analyst tiering is crucial – oh, and there’s more to AR than just sales

There’s been a flurry of blog entries recently about the value of analyst tiering and how you should go about it.

Jim Zimmermann wrote about it on AnalystPerspectives.

So did Dom Pannell at ARcade and Jonny Bentwood on Technobabble 2.0. (Great to see you blogging btw Jonny).

Duncan Chapple added his thoughts over at Analyst Equity.

And of course no conversation in the AR blog world would be complete without ARmadgeddon.

It is also featuring a 'guest post' from Carter Lusher.

Me? Well, I have reasonably straightforward views about analyst tiering.

First, it's a good idea. I am continually shocked by how many PR firms seem to think that all analysts are the same and make no effort to differentiate between them (before Dom, Jonny and Marc etc jump all over me, I’m not talking about the PR firms that use dedicated AR specialists).

No company has infinite resource. They cannot possibly target every analyst in the market. It’s impractical. You have to focus your time, effort and money where it will have the biggest impact.

Targeting every analyst in the market is not just impossible, it’s also pointless. They’re not all of equal relevance or value. No one firm is ‘best of breed’ across every industry sector and vertical market.

Compare an enterprise software provider with an IT services company with a telecoms operator. They will all have different views on which firms are of most value to them.

It’s not just market sector either. It also depends on what you’re trying to achieve. The holy grail of analyst relations is to influence sales. Achieving this goal should be central to any AR programme.

But we mustn’t forget that analysts are incredibly influential in lots of other ways too. It shouldn’t just be about who’s got the most sway with the technology buyer.

Our clients also talk to analysts because they want to test out messaging or take the pulse of the market. Other times it’s because they want to support their media outreach. Sometimes it’s because they want to reach out to potential partners in the IT industry.

Increasingly, I explain to clients, prospects and colleagues that analysts are important because they “shape thinking.”

They shape the thinking of a technology buyer. That helps you sell more.

They shape the thinking of the media. That helps you achieve better press coverage – and it’s not just about the quote, it’s the whole way in which the journalist approaches the story.

They shape the thinking of product managers (and apparently Bill Gates). That means you go to market with better products and services – or at least with stronger messaging.

And what about channel partners? The City and Wall Street?

Analysts contribute to the buzz in the industry. Who’s hot and what’s not. The tech world is small. Connections count. And analysts have a lot.

So yes, tiering is important. But I don’t think there’s any real disagreement over that. What's more critical is that you review your targets and your tiering on a frequent basis.

Understanding the value and relevance of analysts is an on-going process. So is the identification of those who are most important to you.

While it would be nice to think that we can package up analyst firms in nice tidy boxes marked ‘Tier 1’, Tier 2’ etc and leave them be, it's unfortunately not that simple.

As to who are the Tier 1 players? Actually, there is no one 'right' answer. It depends on what market you’re in and what objectives you’re trying to achieve.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Update on the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations

There's been a lot going on at the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations recently so it seemed an appropriate time for a quick update.

As you may have seen, we now have a website. This contains information and news on the Institute as well as various sections for members. These include an AR job shop, discussion forums, a calendar of training courses and events, as well as a library that contains (among other things) 'best practice' whitepapers and analyst firm research agendas and team directories. (Hat tip to Tekrati for providing the newsfeed we use on our homepage).

Looking ahead, we’re delighted to have Gartner presenting at our next meeting which is taking place on 15 March. Peter Sondergaard (SVP and head of research) and Aaron Yaverski (GVP, high-tech provider product management) are our guest speakers. If anyone is interested in attending, please contact us using the details on the website.

In January, at our last meeting, IIAR members and guests from companies such as BEA, BT, CA, Cisco, LogicaCMG, Oracle, T-Systems and Unisys came to hear Datamonitor executives Anthony Parslow and Tim Royston-Webb. There was obviously lots of interest in Datamonitor’s recent acquisition of Ovum and Anthony and Tim spoke openly about the company’s future plans for the business.

There’s a summary of the meeting at the IIAR Yahoo Group. Members can find more information (including the Datamonitor presentation and handouts in the Library section of the IIAR website.

Disclosure: I am a board member at the IIAR along with Duncan Chapple, Susanne Huebner, Ludovic Leforestier and David Taylor. The secretary of the IIAR is Hannah Kirkman.

Free: A Guide to Industry Analysts

Clive, Bob and the rest of the Quocirca team have produced a handy guide to the world of industry analysts.

The report is called “Use and Abuse of Analysts: A Guide for Vendors” and is available to download free of charge from the Quocirca site.

Aimed primarily at those who are interested in briefing analysts (rather than buying research or consultancy), it’s a very useful introduction.

The guide provides an overview of the analyst market, looks at what analysts do and when to use them. It also provides some ideas on identifying the most relevant analysts and gives tips on how to successfully interact with them.

I would say it’s a ‘must read’ if you are new to the world of AR and want to better understand who analysts are and how they work.

Those more familiar with the analyst market shouldn’t find it contains any surprises - though it’s still worth a quick read through.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Tony Lock and Joyce Becknell join Freeform Dynamics

I got called out by The AR Pro for my recent lack of posts. Quite right too.

So here's my first post of 2007.

Freeform Dynamics is expanding once again, this time adding Tony Lock and Joyce Becknell to its team. Tony and Joyce were previously at Sageza (although Tony is probably best known for his work with Bloor Research, the firm he left last year).

Both join as 'programme directors', a new role at Freeform Dynamics.

According to the website, Tony's current interests are hosting and services as well as software as a service.

Joyce meanwhile will be covering go-to-market (including SMB and mid-market sectors, emerging markets and channels) as well as server & storage infrastructure.