IT Analysts in Price War?

IT Analysts in Price War?

Summary: The Burton Group, an IT analyst firm, is trying to steal court customers away from competing firms, such as Gartner Group and Forrester Research, with a low-price offer. From the Burton "Drop a Seat" website:For a limited time, Burton Group is offering new, first-time clients unlimited, enterprise-wide access to one of our services for the price of a single seat from another IT research provider.

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TOPICS: CXO
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The Burton Group, an IT analyst firm, is trying to steal court customers away from competing firms, such as Gartner Group and Forrester Research, with a low-price offer. From the Burton "Drop a Seat" website:

For a limited time, Burton Group is offering new, first-time clients unlimited, enterprise-wide access to one of our services for the price of a single seat from another IT research provider.

It's relatively unusual to see services firms offer such a blatant price promotion. But hey, why not.

It wouldn't be right for me to avoid mentioning that some people have real disdain for industry analysts. For example, here's a pithy quote from the Catching Flack blog:

Analyst firms that charge vendors for relationships cannot truly objectively comment on the industry. Period. They spend most of their time on the phone with their paying clients (and are the most familiar with their products). They give the lion’s share of their coverage to paying clients. The whole structure of the system is to reward people that pay them and either overlook or outright punish folks that do not.

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Topic: CXO

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4 comments
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  • hating analysts? I'm shocked

    I think the issue of a price war in the analyst community is really separate from the problems of bias. The reason there's a price war is that the same market forces that have been tearing tech publishing apart are also ripping into the analyst world. In an Internet economy where information "wants to be free" (ie ripped off), it's hard for anyone who sells information and knowledge for a living to make that living, and we analysts have not been immune to that problem.

    As for bias, alleged or otherwise, I love the sentence "Analyst firms that charge vendors for relationships" -- as opposed to the ones that are non-profits or funded by daddy's trust fund??? Yes there are conflicts of interest, but there's also room for integrity and honesty within that genuinely complex and imperfect arrangement. Expertise doesn't grow on trees, it comes from being inside a complicated industry and seeing product and strategy first hand. If someone knows how to do that while remaining without conflicts of interest -- and still put some money on the table -- I'm open to hear all about it.
    josh@...
    • Good points

      Josh,

      The issue of price war certainly is independent of the bias issue. However, I felt that the discussion of possibly-significant changes in the analyst ecosystem also warranted a mention of the other side, namely that some people don't trust analysts because of perceived bias.

      Most important, however, is your last point. As with PR agencies, for example, some are really excellent while others are simply hacks.

      If you have tips for evaluating "good" analysts, please send them along and I'll gladly blog about them.

      Thanks for the comments,
      Michael
      mkrigsman@...
      • Evaluating good analysts

        Technobabble's "What makes a Tier 1 analyst?" (http://technobabble2dot0.wordpress.com/2007/04/27/what-makes-a-tier-1-analyst/) post and comments focus on the analyst's influence (not analyst firm). A slightly different, yet related topic.

        As a former Gartner analyst, I will share how analysts informally evaluate their peers. (This is specific to vendor relations.)

        1) Does the analyst actively listen before asking questions?

        2) Does the analyst treat non-client vendors with the same respect as client vendors? (If treated with respect, non-clients can become clients.)

        3) Seasoned PR and AR people recognize that analysts will generally not accept briefings from vendors outside of their coverage area. Does the analyst (or more likely, an assistant or vendor relations person) respond to a briefing request with a "no thank you"?

        4) Good analysts want to understand the relationship of the vendor's product or service within the overall industry. Seasoned PR and AR people know that part of their job is to educate the analyst. Does the analyst ask for the vendor's opinion?

        5) Good analysts assess the viability and creditability of the vendor. Does the analysts ask questions for which they already know the answer?

        6) Good analysts will break short a briefing that is rambling. Analysts don't have time to teach a vendor how to do a briefing.

        7) Analysts do spend more quality time with a vendor client than a non-vendor client. Good analysts do so because they have built a relationship with the vendor client. In general, vendor clients contact the analyst firm moreso than non-vendor clients.

        8) Good analysts generally have 10 to 20 years of experience in their coverage area. They know many of the vendor firms from their start-up days through multiple management changes.
        maurene.grey@...
  • With all due respect

    I certainly understand the skepticism with which some folks view analyst firms. But I'll have to admit that getting painted with such a broad brush gets my hackles up a bit. Enough to post a comment on this post at http://identityblog.burtongroup.com/bgidps/2007/08/blogger-jamie-l.html
    jmlewis