Using analyst inquiry… Dig into press reports

icon-phone-headset.jpgThere have been a number of reprints of the Associated Press story Growth of global technology spending is expected to slow in 2008 that report that the “Big 3” analyst firms (i.e., Forrester, Gartner and IDC) are forecasting reduced spending on information technology. This is potentially useful data for both IT departments and tech vendors, but frankly macroeconomic numbers like these are useless because they are too high level and generic. Today is a perfect time to use your analyst client inquiry privileges to get insights into how these data can be applied to your company’s or division’s situation and generate actionable advice. Some example inquiries by community sector:

End User: CIO – Are my peers in the same industry starting to rethink their budgets for 2008? Which parts of the IT budget are being affected and by how much? What are the opportunities and dangers of going with or against the tide?
End User: IT manager – How does this slow affect, if at all, my area? Will this negatively impact any of my plans (e.g., new deployments or significant upgrades), maintenance or strategic vendors? How can I partner with my strategic vendors to anticipate and mitigate any potential budget cuts?
Vendor: AR – How is a potential IT spending slowdown going to impact your research agenda? Do you plan on writing research that counsels CIOs to cut spending? Should I set up a call with my VP of Strategy to chat about this? (The goal of the last question is to have your executive reassure the analyst that any slowdown will not impact your market and thus talk of budget or purchasing cuts are premature.)
Vendor: Product Manager – Are you getting calls from end users that indicate that my product’s market is going to be hit or missed by the potential slowdown? What can we do to demonstrate that our customers and prospects are still continuing with their purchasing plans?
Vendor: Market Intelligence – Will this potentially impact sales deals? Are end users in our target markets starting to talk about budget cuts? What can our sales team do to calm nervous customers and prospects?
Reporters – Working with the analyst firms’ media relations teams, check into making this into a local story (e.g., what does it mean for this local tech vendor or what are local CIOs doing) if you are at a regional general publication.   If you work for a vertical IT trade magazine  what do these numbers mean for the tech sector you cover?
Financial Analysts – What do these numbers imply for the public tech companies I cover? Will the pain be spread evenly or will some vendors do better than others? What are the opportunities and dangers for vendors during a slowdown? Which vendors “get it” and have the better strategy, management and resources to benefit during a slowdown?
BTW, don’t just do inquires with the Big Three.  You may get different insights by checking with many types of analysts from boutiques to vertically focused to specialists. There are many smart analysts outside the Big 3 firms with valuable points-of-view and sources of information. Last but not least, check the analyst/bloggers for their most current entries.

Bottom Line: Use your analyst inquiry to peel the onion of analyst quotes in the press. Remember, your executives are likely seeing the same stories and might be expecting you to have an opinion. Plus, by leveraging the analysts you might be able to determine a path that will provide your company or customers with a competitive advantage.
Question: Have you ever used analyst quotes in the press as a trigger to do an inquiry? If so, what type of value did you derived from the inquiry? Please leave a comment or send me an e-mail.


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