About Time We The IT Analyst Fraternity Take Onus

It’s not uncommon for us from the IT Analyst fraternity to run into situations where prospective clients either don’t fully understand the value of our services or either see it as a mere means to an end.

An end that is purely meant to use some evidence (from a well-known firm) to prove a business case to the board or make some market noise. It’s rare that we are blessed with an audience that truly understands the value that research has for an organisation and its stakeholders.

It’s even rarer to find CEOs in this audience who personally engage with IT Analyst firms and champion the need for using research on an ongoing basis throughout the organisation.

The brutal fact is, spend on IT Analyst services is treated as anything but ‘a must have’. In other words, a pure discretionary spend.

While the sell-side (read IT & Telecom Vendors) have long been exposed to the value that we folks bring to the table, most continue to still see it as a marketing spend that will ultimately help them generate leads and sell more.

Hence, the need to influence, and reap results thereof, continue to be chiefly focused on the big names from the IT Analyst fraternity.

Truth be told, sales folks across these big names have all jumped in to cash into the sentiment and are creatively crafting deals to help IT & Telecom Vendor marketers ‘optimise’ spend. In other words, help generate more leads. In my humble opinion (IMHO), IT Analyst firms involved in overtly promoting sponsored CxO Awards exemplifies this.

Sad as it may sound, the focus at events holding these sponsored CxO Awards is anything but knowledge sharing.

Of course, there are exceptions and it’s unfair to paint them all with the same brush. But the fact that IT Analyst firms are resorting to holding events to promote sponsored CxO Awards and help form a union between both buyers and sellers of technology is a harsh reality that we as peers (who don’t believe in such sponsored CxO awards) live with.

Back to the point of CxOs finding value in IT Analyst services, the problem is acuter on the buy-side (read buyers of technology). While more formally run organisations in the US, the UK and other mature countries have long found value in IT Analyst firms, their counterparts in Emerging Markets are yet to see them as “crucial” for decision making. Not to mention how many get the ever-obliging sales folks at IT vendors to get them a copy of “that quadrant or wave”.

So, where is all this headed? Quite honestly, it sometimes confuses me as well. Being the purist that I am, my opinion is not the populist one. IMHO, our role as IT analysts is to help educate and not help sell. Allow me a few lines to elaborate.

One, our focus must purely remain on launching research products & offering advisory services that do what they are meant to – offer independent and objective insights.

For those of us in the IT Analyst world who don’t subscribe to this guiding philosophy, then it’s best to stop using the term ‘Analyst’ and instead use a more broad ranging term like ‘Consultant’ or ‘Advisor’.

Two, educate our current and prospective clients. IMHO, the onus for this is upon us in the IT Analyst fraternity. It’s imperative for us to help our clients see our value as market observers who can act as strategic advisers, help gives direction to existing products / go-to-market activities and in some cases help shape new markets.

For those who either find us expensive or cannot seem to locate our value in the ecosystem, I would like to leave them with a quote from Jeff Rich, ‘If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.’

My two cents.

Now your turn – what does your experience of working with IT Analyst firms tell you? Please leave a comment and share your experiences with the fraternity!