Strengths and weaknesses of analyst research delivery types

icon-phone-headset.jpgThe communications and IT analyst industry has four basic ways (i.e., written, inquiries, speeches and consulting days) that analysts deliver research and recommendations to their clients. Not all firms use every method listed below and with social media there are new methods being developed that will someday be widely available (e.g., think about a virtual world inquiry where the client’s and analyst’s avatars meet and use a whiteboard).

There is no single method that is perfect for every client and every situation. It is important that the research consumer consider each method and pick the right one for their specific situation

Written Research

  • Strength: Available on-line, convenient, most research papers are designed to be quick reads
  • Weakness: Represents less than 10% of what the analyst knows, publishing agenda is not always systematically planned, can be generic, it may potentially be written for a different audience than your own (e.g., end users versus vendors)


  • Strength: Fast overview of a topic, more graphical delivery of information, more trends
  • Weakness: Can be shallow. The same speech can be used for months leading to stale information in fast moving markets. At the largest firms, speeches can be given by analysts other than the original author, leading to inaccurate information and recommendations in the talk track and Q&A.

Analyst Consulting Days (strategic advisory services or “SAS” in Gartner lingo)

  • Strength: Can be tailored to the specific needs of the client. Can provide remarkable depth of information and specific recommendations. Good for getting participants away from phones to concentrate on the issues.
  • Weakness: Expensive (e.g., $8,000+ per day per analyst plus T&E). If not properly planned it can be a complete waste of time, money and internal political capital because most analyst firms do not have a formal process to drive value and clients do not have the best practices to be in charge in driving value

Phone-based Inquiry

  • Strength: Quick and easy to schedule. Provides access to the 90% plus of the information not published. Tailors information and recommendation to the specific needs of the caller. “Free” (i.e., no incremental cost for inquiries for clients with syndicated research contracts like WholeView). Practically unlimited in the scope of topics and volume of calls. Provides access to most analysts.
  • Weakness: Clients, especially vendors, do not use inquiry sufficiently. Most analyst firms have no mechanism to drive usage. Requires clients to develop good habits. Some firms like Gartner have a rule-of-thumb that inquiries last 30 minutes, so sometimes it’s a hassle to get a particular inquiry extended to 60 minutes.

Bottom Line: There is no single method that is perfect for every client and every situation. It is important that the research consumer consider each method and pick the right one of their specific situation.


Analysts – Do you have a rule-of-thumb on which delivery method is better for which situation? Does your firm have a process/workbook driven approach to conducting analyst consulting days?

Clients (end user or vendor) – Do you rely on the analyst firm to help you drive value from your contracts and analyst consulting days or do you have internal processes to ensure that it happens?

Vendors – Do you consider analyst consulting days simply a covert way to brief the analysts? Do you realize that not making the day a true dialogue means you are likely missing a huge opportunity?
Are you getting the most from your analyst consulting days? SageCircle can help. Our strategists can:

Provide you with proven best practices in the form of workbooks and checklists
• Act as a sounding board to review plans and execution steps
• Educate participants on the best practices for an analyst consulting day
• Save you time, money and aggravation while maximizing value

The Maximizing the Analyst Consulting Day Mini-Workshop (click for PDF) is a standard deliverable for Advisory Service clients and $895 for non-clients. Mini-workshop includes workbook, checklists, webinar-based training and phone-based inquiries.

To learn more contact us at info [at] sagecircle dot com or 650-274-8309.

analyst-consulting-day-brochure-image-200w.jpg Click to open brochure as a PDF.

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