Why AR professionals should consider joining IIAR

Last Thursday saw the inaugural meeting of what is hoped to become the Silicon Valley chapter of the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR, website, blog). There was good attendance and a lively panel of independent analysts discussing their role in the analyst landscape. But will an IIAR chapter in the Silicon Valley really take off?

To provide perspectives on why AR professionals in the Silicon Valley and elsewhere should consider joining a professional organization like IIAR, SageCircle interviewed two top AR practitioners to get their opinions. The first is a short video with Anne-miek Hamelinck, VP of Waggener Edstrom’s AR practice.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1304538&dest=-1]

The second opinion comes from Peggy O’Neill, who […]

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 […]

Operational framework: The 5 I’s of Analyst Relations

In the bustle of daily activities, it is sometimes hard for analyst relations (AR) managers to keep their teams focused on their key operational activities. SageCircle created the 5 I’s of Analyst Relations to provide an easy mantra of essential activities. The 5 I’s are:

  • Identify — The Most Influential Analysts
    • Ranked and tiered analyst list(s)
    • Continuous research on the analysts’ coverage
  • Interact — In the Correct Ways
    • Mix of one-to-one, one-to-many, none-to-many types
    • Mix of briefings, SAS, relationship meetings and client inquiries
  • Information — Most Appropriate in […]

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 […]

AR Strategic & Tactical Plan – The Intersection of Many Activities

As is often the case with blog posts, I scan the AR profession and SageCircle’s client work to determine “What’s hot” – i.e. the common theme running though our engagements and inquiries. This time the issue is the AR Strategic & Tactical Plan.  We encounter planning issues when starting an AR Diagnostic; it often comes up in an inquiry or when planning training by saying “Let me see your AR plan”; and clients reviewing our research will exclaim, “This should be incorporated into my AR plan.”   It is significant that we are seeing Strategic & Tactical planning take precedence in practitioners’ minds.

This emphasis is not surprising since AR is an activity-intensive function with scheduled and unscheduled events spread throughout the year. The slowing economies in many countries heighten this emphasis by placing pressure on AR programs to prove their value.  As AR programs take up this challenge and pursue strategic goals such as “Arming Sales to Close Business”, their need for tighter planning increases.  Unfortunately, in performing AR Diagnostics with clients or prospects, we often find that clients answer “No” to the majority of questions in the AR Planning section while answering “Some” or “Yes” on other sections such as “Responding Rapidly to Critical Analyst Opinion.” This is putting the cart before the horse. For example, we know that AR programs will find it more difficult to develop an effective measurement program to […]

Analyst research can be obsolete or out-of-date the day after it’s published

question-mark-graphic.jpgIn conversation with an AR manager we received an interesting question: “What is the shelf life of published research?”

Answer: Somewhere between fresh fish (goes bad in days) to a Twinkie (a quasi-food snack that is rumored to last for infinity).

Formal analyst publications, e.g., a research note, can have a long gestation period due to going through peer review, management review and editorial (mostly good things) and get stuck in email waiting for minor changes while the analyst is out of the office (a bad thing). As a consequence, some formal analyst research can be out-of-date the day it is published.

That is why clients, whether end user or vendor, need to critically review the research for “freshness” and leverage inquiry […]