Barbara on October 2nd, 2000

Whether you spend hundreds or thousands on industry analyst research, these 10 tactics can enhance your ROI and tech acumen.

1. Enrich Decision Processes

The true test of an analyst service is its value in the decision process. Throughout your decision process, create formal and informal points for reality checks with qualified analysts. Begin with upstream decisions on emerging trends, strategy and architecture. Follow-through to final decisions on launch readiness. To fully support the process, engage more than one analyst. Select analysts with deepest knowledge on specific decision points, such as global implications of committing to a specific standard or protocol. Select those with proven track records and methodologies on other decision points, such as total cost of ownership or short-listing product/service brands.

2. Orchestrate Analyst Days

Do the links to your research library look like dark fiber? Light up the connections by setting up “analyst days” at key enterprise locations. Your analyst sales representatives can arrange demos, sample reports, brochures and even a guest analyst appearance to introduce employees to your research and advisory services. Ask marketing to help with internal promotion.

3. Rally Support for Recommendations

Leverage analysts to champion upcoming IT, business or policy decisions with technical and non-technical decision-makers. A personal visit or teleconference shines outside expertise on expenditure and strategy recommendations. Again, consider using more than one analyst firm to ensure that questions and perspectives are covered.

4. Empower Employees

High tech impacts every employee in your organization, from the reception desk to the support center, from the remote trenches to the ivory towers. Request permission to excerpt educational or inspirational factoids and graphics from analyst reports to include in your employee newsletters, intranets or other mainstream employee communications vehicles. If possible, arrange an all-employee teleconference to hear an analyst overview of your industry trends, upcoming IT enhancements, or how IT is impacting your competitive landscape. This can be particularly helpful in getting through to all employees on topics such as security, CRM, handheld device proliferation and website publishing.

5. Educate Customers

As technology enables your customer relations systems, consider incorporating analyst excerpts, reprints or speakers into customer and channel communications. Use these reference points to clarify the intended value and experience of your customer-facing IT strategy. If your website supports multimedia, consider using audio playbacks.

6. Elevate Professional Development

Analyst conferences offer exceptional value as part of high tech employee retention and professional development programs. Tickets to annual conferences can be included in annual contracts; many firms sell tickets to non-subscribers. Typical analyst events include focused immersion in new ideas, best practices, and technologies; peer-to-peer networking; exemplary IT case studies; and private consultations with senior analysts. Book conferences and accommodations early, as some conferences sell out months ahead of time and many take place at popular resort destinations.

7. Track Regional Opportunities

Analyst firms regularly schedule free and low-cost breakfast, half-day and 1-day seminars in major cities worldwide. Benefits include access to summary research findings, peer-to-peer networking and face-to-face evaluation of new analysts and services. Rotate your staff to attend regional events and share a summary report with team-members. Check analyst websites for upcoming events in your area.

8. Close the Gaps

Poll your staff regularly to see why they use your analyst research services and if your analyst services fulfill their information needs. Ad hoc consulting projects and report purchases can increase your research expenditures significantly and can be hidden costs difficult to control. If needed, discuss your situation with your analyst account representatives. Shift remaining contract periods to a more suitable research track offered by the firm.

9. Focus on Consulting Services

Negotiate blocks of consulting time when purchasing published research services. Typically, a published analyst report conveys only a fraction of the underlying body of knowledge. With adequate consulting access to analysts, you can shift from reading generic research reports to having analyst authors help you understand what their findings mean to your unique organization. You’ll also receive preferred client status and avoid higher hourly rates.

10. Structure Sales Calls

Leverage sales calls from analyst firms. Prepare a short list of research questions/topics to discuss during their next visit or call. Prior to the meeting, give your account representative the questions/topics and agree on analyst service features that interest your organization. Then, hold to the agenda.

<em>Reprinted from Tekrati</em>

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