(r)evolving analyst ecosystems

20Nov07

ARmadgeddon’s new post questioning whether analysts new business models are that revolutionary prompted Dale Vile in his new blog to compare analysts with telcos.

Dale is a great one for metaphors and understands more than most how the analyst landscape is changing – in his post he explains:

There was previously a discrete pond in which the analyst fish were swimming, with clear boundaries that everyone understood – and if you wanted advice and guidance on IT procurements, you would pay a visit to that pond. Now, however, the boundaries around the analyst pond are being compromised and the broader sea of influence is washing in.

As a result of this, the notion that big analyst firms will continue to control the decisions that are made by the IT buying community is even sillier than it has ever been.

Electronic media in all its forms, and let’s not forget traditional printed media too, are all part of the mix, and the decoupling of sources from delivery mechanisms, with analysts propagating opinions through the media, via communities of interest, and so on, is undermining those neat little taxonomies that AR professionals have historically gravitated towards to understand how they should be focusing their efforts.

The point that Dale is making is that the world is changing and that people need to adapt their AR101 thinking to align with it. We can no longer accept that biggest is best or that traditional routes to audience remain the same. What is clear though is that the fight for attention is becoming harder and harder. This isn’t only between analyst and analyst but with analyst and journalist/blogger/consultant etc.

It looks to me as if analysts could do with a bit of PR themselves as their role is getting lost in a world where everyone and his dog has an opinion for sale. After all should AR change its role to Influencer Relations?

Jon Collins has his own view:

influence without analysis is just punditry. If vendors want to pay for influence, so be it … its an increasingly crowded market. I also believe however that people will want to pay for analysis, because, while opinion may drive fashion, it is the facts that should drive decision making.

I was arguing this point with James Governor today when he proved that my first hypothesis was wrong  when iI thought that main differentiator is that analysts base their opinion on primary research.

Maybe it comes down to independence. Analysts are not looking for spin, sensationalism or politics – they are looking to give advice so that the vendor/consumer/enterprise/ industry can benefit. This advice and independence brings trust and that is worth paying money for. After all if an enterprise is going to spend £1m on IT, why not spend 5% more making sure it’s the right decision.

This brings me back to my initial thoughts. Despite what Dale thinks, the market is not changing that much, its reverting to form. In today’s noisy world, opinion is as common as muck. Trusted, independent opinion will always be a premium – the main obstacle is for those providing this service to PR themselves well so their advice is sought.



One Response to “(r)evolving analyst ecosystems”

  1. Noise filtering is an issue, see my comment on Dale’s comment here.


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