How to track a lot of analyst blogs and Twitter streams without spending a lot of time

icon-social-media-blue.jpgOne of the side effects of the growing use of social media by IT industry analysts and analyst relations (AR) is a pending sense of doom that we are going to get overwhelmed by too… much… stuff. This certainly came out in discussions at the US Forrester AR Council panel I was on and in blog posts like When do we get work done? I certainly have felt that way in the past, but slowly and surely I have picked up techniques that permit me to monitor a fairly large number of social media streams (110+ blogs and 140+ Twitter streams) without spending hours a day doing so. In this post I will share these tips.

Note: These tip and tricks are not necessarily the absolutely best-in-class, merely ones that we have found to-date. Nor are the tools mentioned the results of systematic research and evaluation, merely ones that we have played with and decided to use. As we continue to expand the portfolio of tips and tools, we will make sure to share them with you.

The main tips are to use an RSS reader and to organize your feeds in folders*. This saves you the time of checking individual blogs that might not have any activity. The following example explains […]

Do your analysis before deciding to use social media like blogs or wikis

icon-social-media-blue.jpgBarbara French left an interesting question on SageCircle announces the Analyst Relations Wiki*, a tool to help AR teams be more efficient and effective. Basically, she asked why use a wiki instead of deploying more efficient PDF search technology on the existing PDFs?

We picked the wiki technology, because it became the logical choice after we did an analysis of the situation using the POST framework from Forrester’s Groundswell research: People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology. This same analysis process is valuable to AR teams for their own decision making.  Here is an overly simplified summary of our extensive analysis in making our choice:

  • People – AR managers are strapped for time. They have different levels of experience and as a consequence need access to different levels of information. They also have different levels of on-line sophistication.
  • Objectives – Save AR managers time and make them more effective by […]

Kleenex, Frisbee, and Magic Quadrant – what do they have in common?

Have you heard your spokespeople make the following statement when briefing the analysts or presenting to a group of analysts on a teleconference: “… also if I reflect on the way you put us, whether it’s your magic quadrants or …” Probably the executive was using “magic quadrant” as a generic label for analyst research graphics, much like people use Kleenex for facial tissue, Frisbee for a flying disc toy or Xerox for photocopying. 

Using Magic Quadrant as a generic label is dangerous for any vendor’s relationship with the analyst community. Analysts at firms other than Gartner bridle at Gartner’s dominate mindshare in the market. Referring to the Magic Quadrant is adding salt to their wounds. Gartner analysts, on the other hand, are extremely touchy about what they feel is the misuse of their signature research deliverable by the vendor community. So for vendors this is a lose-lose situation.

This situation also applies to other high visibility analyst deliverables like the Forrester Wave and Gartner Hype Cycle.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Brief your executives* on the best practice for referring to […]

Examples of analysts using blogs for research purposes

icon-social-media-blue.jpgAs we pointed out, analysts are increasingly using blogs as research development platforms so monitoring analyst blogs is a good way for analyst relations (AR) to get insights into analysts’ work-in-progress. With this information in hand, AR teams can then decide whether to join the conversation online or reach out to the analysts for a briefing or inquiry.

 Because relatively few AR teams are monitoring analyst blogs, those AR professionals that use this technique can achieve a competitive advantage by getting in early on developing ideas when they can have the most impact.

 Here are two recent examples of analysts using […]

Context, advice, reputation and time: How analysts can thrive in the social media age

icon-social-media-blue.jpgBecause vendor executives still wonder why enterprise IT managers still use the analysts (they need to read Why technology buyers use the IT industry analysts) and hope that they influence will diminish (they should check out Influence is not a zero-sum game so analyst influence is not necessarily diminished by the rise of bloggers), we continue to look for ways to clearly articulate why those vendor executives are indulgencing in wishful thinking. Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine and creator of the Long Tail theory, had an interesting post about human-powered search and the long tail that is a nifty approach to the issue of why pay for something when so much information is available for free on the Internet, blogosphere and other forms of social media.

Chris started with something from Economics 101: “Every abundance creates a new scarcity.” He then went on to illustrate with these examples:

  • An abundance of information can create a scarcity of context
  • An abundance of choice can create a scarcity of advice
  • An abundance of content can create a scarcity of time
  • An abundance of people competing for your attention can create a scarcity of reputational ways to choose among them

Each of these scarcities apply to the typical IT manger and executive in spades. Few IT managers that I have spoke with in the last 18 months are ignoring the relevant blogs, but want a source for context and “reality checks.” The vast majority of IT managers look at information in the blog, media and so on, but want someone to turn to for advice. Nobody in these days of lean staffing, has the time to read all the relevant blogs and talk to all the relevant vendors, so they need a resource that can help […]

Equipping Sales for the MQ Effect: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 7]

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant can have a powerful impact on IT vendor sales cycles – anointing some vendors as a prime candidate for a sales opportunity while denying other vendors even a chance to bid. In order to exploit positive placement on a Magic Quadrant and mitigate negative placement, vendor sales executives need to work with AR to prepare and train their sales teams on certain basics about the Magic Quadrant.

To a large extent the Magic Quadrant is just another form of analyst research that can sales reps have to take into account when working with customers and prospects. However, the MQ does have some unique aspects that have to be addressed including: 

  • Multiple MQs – A vendor can be on any number of MQs, which increases the chances that a prospect will be using wrong research
  • Out-of-date MQs – Earlier versions of a MQ can be available for a long time, which can put a vendor with an improved position at a disadvantage
  • Four boxes, four responses – How a sales responds to or uses a MQ is different depending […]

The Danger is Complacency: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 6]

There is a certain amount of self congratulations that occur when a vendor achieves a favorable “Leader” position on a Magic Quadrant. Because they are in the “Leaders” block, vendors feel like their job is complete. The problem is that such an attitude could lead to complacency and endanger a company’s coveted status in the future. Vendors in this situation could receive a nasty surprise as competitors leapfrog them or as they slip into the Challengers or Visionaries blocks.

This is not only a problem with “Leaders” since vendors in the “Challengers” and “Visionaries” blocks also feel that they can rest on their laurels. Most surprising are “Niche” vendors who are happy merely to be mentioned on a Magic Quadrant. The messages in this post are directed to Leaders, but also apply to all vendors, no matter what their position on the MQ.

What is the Danger? SageCircle had one client go from the best Leaders position in a Magic Quadrant only to slide to the Challengers block in the next version. Why? The vendor had become complacent about […]