Monday, November 06, 2006
How Practitioners Can Get the Most Out of the Industry Analysts
Let's start with analyzing some of the statements in the blog:
- Many companies have contracts with the AMRs, Gartners and Forresters of the world through their IT departments, but fail to take advantage of the inquiry time that is available to them.
Do you think this occurs because folks only think that analysts are useful for providing vendor shortlist and nothing else? Have you asked who within the enterprise champions the purchase of analyst services? Do you think it is the CIO, the folks in procurement, or those who actually use the solutions day-in day-out in a hands-on way?
- And far too often companies end up depending on the written word -- through reports and briefs -- to guide their direction. But analyst reports only represent an individual perception at a point in time, a personal snapshot that may or may not be accurate or reflective of the current state of the market at a future date or a point of view of someone else at the firm.
Hmmm. So I guess you are saying that we must resort to establishing dialogs via phone calls? Have you ever considered why enterprises prefer documents? Maybe it is because we do a lot of work at home on our laptops after hours. Maybe by having printed material we can multi-task. If you have ever been in corporate America for any extended period of time, you would understand that there are lots of low density information oriented meetings which serve as an opportunity to do multiple things. Many people pretend to take notes when in all reality they are reading documents.
- The second piece of advice is to get past the big names in the space and to expand the definition of what an analyst is (and no, this is not a plug just for bloggers). Rather, I believe that benchmarking firms like Hackett can serve a critical role in advising companies how best to adopt technology depending on where they are in their Spend Management journey
I agree we need to change our definition of what an analyst is. Sadly though, you haven't mentioned the fact that your peers in other companies within your vertical may be even better than any industry analyst could ever hope to be. For example, if I wanted to know about entitlements engines, would I have a deeper conversation with an industry analyst or say with folks from CitiGroup, CSFB or Goldman Sachs who have built their own and have had them running in production for the last several years?
You also conveniently left out any mention of other small analyst firms? How about sharing and encouraging enterprises to also consider diversification towards firms such as Elemental Links, Redmonk, ZapThink, Nemertes, The 451 Group and others?
- My final recommendation for working with the analysts is getting to know and value the opinion of the individual, not the firm they represent.
Actually, I agree. The funny thing though is that some firms encourage their analysts to sterilize their opinions. When I need a healthy injection, I don't want sterile stuff. Give it to me raw and hard. Have you ever read James Governor's blog or that of Raven Zachary? They actually have an opinion unlike most analysts in the world.
Anyway, in closing, I do have one additional question for you. I am a customer to several analyst firms whom makes it a point to share our learnings with them yet many of them still have no interest in satisfying a single solitary request that I constantly ask for which is for them to include non-commercial open source projects right next to commercial closed source vendors in their matrix. Enterprises need to know about both commercial and open source software regardless if it can be obtained through a vendor or not. We need analysts to help us solve our business problems not just help us procure software...
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