Defining “analyst consulting day”

Analyst consulting days are full-day engagements where a vendor spends a significant sum to get the use of one or more analysts. Analyst consulting days are not to be confused with projects by the analyst firms’ consulting groups, which often have little or no analyst contribution. There is a distinction between contracting for “analyst consulting time” and contracting with the consulting side of an analyst firm. “Analyst consulting time” refers to purchasing the time of an individual analyst, usually in one-day units. Contracting with the consulting side of an analyst firm usually refers to research projects with specific deliverables that are designed to meet the intelligence, strategy or marketing needs of a vendor company. Multi-client studies are common deliverables from the consulting side.

Gartner uses the term SAS (strategic advisory service) to describe analyst consulting days. While other firms use […]

Never assume during an annual renewal that the analyst service contract remains the same

Annual syndicated research subscriptions are a common approach for enterprises and vendors when it comes to gaining access to published research and advisory. However, for all the value and convenience in this type of contract, there is a potential “gotcha” to watch for during the contract renewal – changes in the terms and conditions.

Often contract renewals follow a simple path of adjusting the number of seats and add-on services based on past year’s usage, new requirements, and new offerings by the firm. Often the analyst firm sales representative will send along the new contract with a note that says “it is basically the same as last year, so please look at pages x and y to make sure we have captured the number of seats and services you need.  Then sign on page z.” If the client does not carefully go through the contract with a fine-tooth comb they might miss that the “basically the same” contract actually has some key changes to the terms and conditions that severely limit their use of the analyst services or gives the analyst firms the right to audit the client for contract compliance. 

In some cases, the firm sales rep does not know that the changes are there, they are simply using the new standard contract. In other cases, the sales rep is aware of the changes but does not […]

ThinkBalm – focused on the Immersive Internet

Too often analyst relations (AR) professionals and analyst services buyers, both vendors and end user clients, focus on the larger firms. While this focus is natural because the larger firms have greater market presence and a large dedicated sales force, ignoring boutique analyst firms misses the opportunity to obtain interesting insights and advice or to brief a potential market influencer. Of course, not all boutique firms are relevant, so AR and buyers need to do their due diligence to ensure that time and money is not wasted. This post is one in a series to introduce the community to an interesting boutique firm.

                        __________________________

ThinkBalm was launched in June 2008 by former Forrester industry analyst Erica Driver and entrepreneur and inventor Sam Driver. ThinkBalm offers independent Immersive Internet industry analysis and strategic advisory services to technology marketers and Immersive Internet advocates, implementers, and explorers in enterprises. ThinkBalm also operates the ThinkBalm Innovation Community, a serious game-based online community dedicated to advancing enterprise use of the Immersive Internet.

This email interview was conducted with ThinkBalm co-founders Erica Driver and Sam Driver.

Q: Erica and Sam, thanks for speaking with SageCircle about ThinkBalm. Can you give us the elevator pitch for this new analyst firm?

A: ThinkBalm offers independent IT industry analysis and strategic advisory services to technology marketers and Immersive Internet advocates, implementers, and explorers. We focus exclusively on enterprise use of the Immersive Internet, which includes:

  • Virtual worlds and campuses
  • Immersive simulations
  • 3D business applications
  • Serious or industrial games

ThinkBalm also operates the ThinkBalm Innovation Community, a collaborative online community with a serious game at its core. The community is dedicated to propelling enterprise use the Immersive Internet forward.

Q: OK, what is the Immersive Internet and why do we need another buzz phrase?

A: The Immersive Internet is the term we use to describe a rapidly evolving […]

Q&A with Gartner about the new Gartner Blog Network

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThe new Gartner Blog Network is generating some interesting buzz in the analyst ecosystem (see Gartner ups the ante on analyst blogging – maybe 50 new bloggers). To learn more about what Gartner is up with this new initiative, SageCircle interviewed Andrew Spender, Gartner’s VP of Corporate Communications, via email.

SageCircle: Andrew, thank you for participating in this interview.

SageCircle: Why the change in policy?

Andrew Spender: Participating in social media represents an opportunity for Gartner analysts to evolve their means and style of personal interaction with technology users and providers, business leaders, opinion leaders, journalists and many others interested in the business of technology.

SageCircle: Will analyst blogs be considered official Gartner published research? Or will blogs more like Gartner Voice podcasts where it is clearly stated at the beginning that the podcast “does not constitute published Gartner research”?

Blog posts represent the personal opinion of the Gartner analyst. As such, they do not reflect Gartner official published research. They may, where applicable, refer back to published Gartner research.

SageCircle: Will analysts be encouraged to blog or is this just a personal option for individual analysts to decide?

It is up to the individual analyst to […]

Why is it that more analyst blogging is better?

This morning I got an interesting tweet from Forrester analyst John Rymer (bio, Twitter handle): 

            “@carterlusher why is more analysts blogging better?”

icon-social-media-blue.jpgJohn was responding to my reply to a comment (“Good news, Gartner is allowing analysts to blog @carterlusher will be thrilled”) by Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang (bio, blog, Twitter handle).  This comment pointed out Gartner analyst Gene Phifer’s (bio, blog, Twitter handle) post about how Gartner analysts are now permitted to have a personal-branded blog. I don’t know if I was thrilled, but I did say “Excellent, the more analysts blogging the better.” Thus, John’s question.

Hmm, that is a good question. My initial thought was “well of course it’s better because blogging is good.” It took me about two seconds to discard that answer as glib and dumb. The real answer is […]

Spoon feed analysts public information

This should not have been a surprise to me, but I was shocked when I first started dealing with analysts as an analyst relations (AR) professional with the number of analysts who never bothered to check my company’s public information. Yeah, it was OK that they never read the marketing content on the website. But they also never perused the quarterly financial statements even when they were basing part of their analysis on the financial strength of my employer and very visibility stating the “facts.” Here is an example. 

A Gartner analyst sent me a courtesy review copy of slides for an upcoming Symposium presentation. One the statements on the “Challenges and Strengths” slide was that the margins for a particular business were a “challenge.” Huh? This particular division had consistently improved its margins – year-over-year and quarter-to-quarter – for ten straight quarters. What was going on? That was when the light bulb went “Click!” for me. The analyst had not read the quarterly statements. So I put together a simple table that extracted a few relevant financial facts for the business group going back four years. It showed the challenges the business had early on, but then it illustrated the consistent, never wavering progress for 2.5 years. After reviewing the simple table consisting of public information, the analyst moved margins from “Challenge” to “Strength.”

That was a win for AR, but it outraged me that a former colleague was making public speeches about a company without bothering to check the facts. Yes, perhaps this was a bit naïve of me. Once I took a few deep breaths and calmed down, I set about spoon feeding this analyst and the other Gartner analysts in the same research area the basics about this particular business group’s financials. Every quarter I would add to the aforementioned […]

Bursts of analyst departures in a hot research area is not unusual

The clump of departures of social media analysts – Brian Haven, Peter Kim and Charlene Li (from Forrester), and Rachel Happe (from IDC) – is not at all unusual and follows typical patterns.

There are several reasons why analysts leave a firm: just want a change or new professional challenge, recruited by another company, desire to start own firm, the current employer has grown too large and its culture has changed and a few others. In this current sitaution, there are two primary reasons why the analysts are leaving: lured by startups and hanging out their own shingle.

From late 1997 to early 2000 a number of analysts covering ecommerce/ebusiness got lured away from the firms by Dot Com startups. For example, in one week Gartner lost four of five analysts covering ecommerce. Yes, they were lured away by various startups dangling stock options, but these analysts were also annoyed at the money Gartner was investing in Jupiter Communications (ancestor of JupiterResearch) rather than beefing up Gartner’s own ecommerce/ebusiness research team.

Another common reason for analysts in a hot research area to leave a firm is to […]