Analyst search tools: Analyst Direct
One of my biggest moans in recent years is at vendors who spend a fortune subscribing to different analyst houses and then never use these services as a market intelligence tool.
The reason why? It takes too long.
A few enterprising companies have noticed this and launched their own applications to take the time-burden out of search.
First on the list was www.alltheanalysts.com – a really simple service that allows you to run BOOLEAN searches across multiple analyst houses. This has been my default way of finding reports ever since Dominic and Jim pointed it out.
There are good and bad points about this tool. Firstly, it’s free (at least for the time being) and it’s simple to use. However, it’s basic functionality runs on the assumption that it is only as good as what Google has in its cache. Admittedly in the tests I have run, it comes out 90% accurate which gives me a good indicator of trend and direction but is not something I would use to solely rely on.
However, search is often not enough. Ludovic Leforestier from Oracle AR has regularly debated with me the need to understand sentiment when performing searches. How good would it be to find out which reports were positive about my clients and competitors and why?
Northern Light have done just this with their recently launched service Analyst Direct.
By identifying the tone of voice (positive or negative) the text analytics engine performs meaning extraction to tell you what the business issues they address in areas like corporate strategy, product marketing, market share, and pricing. In my view this is killer app and will no doubt save a huge amount of time amongst market researchers, AR Pros and consultants who spend too much of their time running fruitless searches.
Analyst Direct have also opted against the ‘Google route’ and through partnerships, can guarantee that every report from the major analyst houses is included in their database. I prefer this metric to the 90% success rate I mentioned previously. There are other nice little features (like alerts, remembering login details) that are expected rather than groundbreaking.
On the negative side, this service only analyses 16 firms (another 6 are planned over the next few months) but seeing as the major companies are included I am not going to rant too much about this. I would also like to see Northern Light extend their search beyond reports from the major analyst houses to also include key analyst blogs and conference materials – this move I believe is critical as only looking at research reports is a very outdated way of understanding this ecosystem (especially as only 20% of what an analyst does is write research). The price though is a major sticking point at $1,500 per seat – time will tell whether this cost is acceptable in the market but with 50 trials currently running, things are looking good for Analyst Direct.
In summary, and after my initial cynicism where I felt it hard to justify the costs where I can do virtually the same service for free, I am beginning to tone down my view as the ‘sentiment tool’ is just too good to ignore. This is certainly an application I would like to use moving forward.
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