Barbara on December 23rd, 2009

Influence is in the eye of the beholder, and that certainly holds true with the industry analyst bloggers. I wanted to know how the blogs I highlighted at Tekrati during 2009 ranked in Jonny Bentwood’s (Edelman analyst relations specialist) “top analyst blogs” table. I’ve posted the cross-reference below. It’s a good reminder that there’s no single correct list of top analysts. You have to conduct research to figure out which analysts hold sway in a given market.

Jonny and I share a common starting point: the entire analyst blogs directory I publish at Tekrati. From there, we travel along entirely different roads:

  • Jonny uses a hybrid qualitative/quantitative method to rank analyst blogs. He looks at stats and applies math.
  • I use a purely qualitative approach to recommend blogs to Tekrati readers. I read blogs and choose ones that offer consistently high quality content over time and are written by one or more analysts with solid reputations in their market sector.

I’ve learned a great deal about influencer rankings and attributes this year. Some of that thinking will show up in what makes the cut as a featured blog in 2010.

Tekrati Featured Analsyt Blogs with Technobabble Top Analyst Blog Rank

Blogs are listed in the order they appeared as a Tekrati Featured Analyst Blog during 2009, from early January through next week.

James Govenor’s MonkChips, Redmonk: Technobabble #7
Brandon Hall Analyst Blog - Janet Clarey, Brandon Hall Research: Technobabble #35
ThreatChaos, IT-Harvest: Technobabble #52
Technology Marketing Blog, IDC: Technobabble #288
A Software Insider’s Point of View, (then, Forrester Research) Altimeter Group: Technobabble #20
Craig Mathias’s Blog, FarPoint Group: Technobabble #313
Lopez Research Blog, Lopez Research: Technobabble #376
Pike Research Blog, Pike Research: Technobabble #269
Michael Fauscette (personal blog), IDC: Technobabble #156
Column 2 by Sandy Kemsley, Sandy Kemsley: Technobabble #17
The TEC Blog, Technology Evaluation Centers: Technobabble #145
Unified-View, Unified-View: Technobabble #190
Yankee Group Blog, Yankee Group: Technobabble #68
Enterprise Mobility Matters (personal blog, Philippe Winthrop), Strategy Analytics: Technobabble #152
ABI Research Analyst Blogs, ABI Research: Technobabble #314
GigaOM Pro Blog, GigaOM: Technobabble #350
Thinking Out Loud, Outsell, Inc.: Technobabble #280
Jon Arnold’s Blog, J Arnold & Associates: Technobabble #148
Service-Oriented Architecture, McKendrick & Associates: Technobabble #9
Supply Chain Reaction, (then AMR Research, Inc.) Gartner, Inc.: Technobabble #176
Workplace Learning Today, Brandon Hall Research: Technobabble #5
Vendorprisey (personal blog, Thomas Otter), Gartner, Inc.: Technobabble #47
George F. Colony’s Blog: Counterintuitive CEO, Forrester Research: Technobabble #46
Pattern Finder (personal blog, Guy Creese), Burton Group: Technobabble #135
Supernova Hub, Supernova Group: Technobabble: #159
Parks Associates, Parks Associates: Technobabble: #134
Javelin Strategy and Research, Javelin Strategy and Research: Technobabble #105
The Guidewire, Guidewire Group: Technobabble #115
Rabkin’s ROI, Market Insight Group: Technobabble #343
Gartner - John Pescatore, Gartner, Inc.: Technobabble #40
CCS Insight Blog, CCS Insight: Technobabble #210
Gartner - Jeffrey Mann, Gartner, Inc.: Technobabble #65
SharpBrains, SharpBrains: Technobabble #3

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Barbara on December 21st, 2009

One of my activities for 2010 is helping get the word out on the CIO Summit of America in New York and the full 2010 CIO Leadership series. I’m supporting this event series because I believe it offers compelling value as part of a tech company’s influencer relations agenda.

Peer-to-peer events are growing more important. Research keeps telling us that peers and colleagues have the greatest influence on enterprise IT decision makers. HMG Strategy’s CIO Leadership series recognizes this. Each event brings together IT leaders within a region for a day of exchanging, sharing and learning from each other.

The events at a glance:

  • Market focus: regional to local attendees, enabling alignment with sales territories
  • Short: 1-day event, appealing to busy IT decision makers
  • Agenda: timely themes tailored directly by the speakers and attendees in the room
  • Experts/influencers: CIOs, COOs, CxOs, IT directors and VPs share their strategies, experiences and lessons learned; pundits are scarce onstage and off
  • Caliber of participants: Generally these CIO Leadership events draw an impressive group of speakers and participating attendees; in some cities, the summits are conducted in partnership with IT associations
  • History: while still a young endeavor, there’s now an established track record of events for attendee/sponsor assessment

The 2010 schedule is posted at the HMG Strategy website. It begins with New York and San Francisco in February.

As IT peer level events go, the CIO Leadership series puts many of the right pieces together. Consider adding it to a line-up of industry conferences, analyst events, professional association events, meetups and unconferences. Please let them know you read about it here.

Popularity: 5%

Barbara on December 14th, 2009

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Barbara on December 14th, 2009

Chris O’Brien over at the Merc published The Influencers of Silicon Valley, a list of 10 important influencers in Silicon Valley. I’m on record as one who likes lists, and I’m recommending you read this one. These are people you may want to get to know. Plus, Chris revealed a bit about how he compiled the list, and you’ll find that of interest if you’re compiling your own list of market influencers.

First, who’s in: Marnie Webb, Susan Wu, Dave McClure, Charlene Li, Kevin Surace, Vish Mishra, Criag Hampel, Lisa Stone, Steve Blank and Tim O’Reilly. These are not just the usual suspects. The group is made up of people who each influence the industry in a special way. They don’t seek influence for the sake of influence. They’re driven by innovation and furthering business.

Next, Chris’ approach to list building:

Through conversations, emails and tweets with colleagues, friends and sources, I compiled an initial list of more than 100 candidates, including many I had never heard of. Then I whittled it down, in part by focusing on those who are having a real, quantifiable impact. In many cases, these people might be superstars in their realm yet barely known outside of it. My final 10 are not necessarily the most influential, but they are playing an essential role in shaping the valley’s innovation economy.

Take-aways for building your own list of influencers:

  • It’s a great idea to talk to people on the ground when you’re compiling a raw list of influencers. Like Chris, you’ll discover people you don’t know and would otherwise overlook. Talking to people can also help in validating and ranking your list. You’ll begin discovering which of the big-name luminaries really hold sway and which are filtered out.
  • Articulate a clear objective for compiling the list, and stick to it. Are you looking for the famous? The rich? The movers and shakers? The people who talk to start-ups or mid-size enterprises?
  • Document the reasons for including each person on your list. A simple numerical ranking is not enough. Human beings need human reasons to pursue relationships. What kinds of relationships do your influencers build and why are these relationships important to you?

Congrats to everyone, and hats off to Chris for great work.

Popularity: 4%

SAPThe SAP Influencer Summit dominated tech media and Twitter backchannel conversations about SAP all week. The event offers a good example of real time influencer relations management. If you’re planning an influencer summit for 2010, consider these 3 points:

1. Open discourse. Several tech providers nixed live blogging and live micro-blogging (Twitter) during their influencer events this year. SAP set an important precedent by keeping all social media channels open and participating in conversations in real time. Live sessions were blogged, reported, tweeted and debated by people in attendance and by virtual attendees around the world. Follow SAP’s example: Limit NDAs to the situations where they make sense, such as the strategy development work leading up to an event like this. When the content doesn’t mandate an NDA, don’t curb use of social media.

2. Employee engagement. Many SAP employees expanded on speaker and audience comments via Twitter. Creating a wider circle of employee commentators makes perfect sense. And you know what? The press, analysts and consultants were likely to contact their “unofficial” employee sources anyway. It’s a much better idea to involve more employees by design, than to pretend that exchanges are limited to the featured spokespeople and handlers in the room.

3. Diverse attendees. SAP invited a diverse group of influencers to participate. Among tech industry influencers, big brand analysts and media dialogued side by side with solo opinion leaders and every size in between as well as customers and bloggers. Gathering diverse opinion leaders together to share the same information at the same time at a flagship event is smart on several counts. One, it’s efficient. Two, it sets up diverse, multiple touch points with marketplaces. It also helps build enough momentum to flow directly to offline conversations. In other words, no single point of failure and lot of juice.

For more on the SAP Influencer Summit, check out:

  • Timo Elliott, an evangelist for SAP. He offers light commentary on what was going on behind the scenes here.  He also links to a PDF document of Twitter feed from #sapsummit.
  • Jonathan Becher, SVP marketing at SAP and official SAP blogger for the event, posted here.
  • R Ray Wang, an analyst with Altimeter Group, offers one analyst’s summary of the event themes and SAP’s performance here.

Update December 14th: Adding 2 more links to analyst reactions. Please feel free to add more attendee links in the comments. - B

  • Jon Reed, a fellow with PAC , weighs in on the experience and resulting expectations among attendees here
  • James Governor, analyst with RedMonk, gives a candid analyst viewpoint that was widely accepted among other analysts here

Popularity: 8%

Influencer marketing tools are getting a new gear and it’s a good one. Up until recently, influencer relationship management (IRM) tools offered 3 speeds: identifying, monitoring and measuring influencers. That’s good, but not good enough. Corporate marketing teams focused on social media need to find ways to scale their influencer programs without sacrificing micro-segmentation and personalization. That kind of scalability is just what this new gear — call it influencer activation or participation or engagement — delivers.

Ogilvy’s Insider Circle(TM) is the latest entrant in this evolving category. Per the Ogilvy announcement this week:

Insider Circle allows brands to build and scale relationships with key brand influencers – including influential bloggers, Twitter users, brand fans and loyal customers – and quantitatively measure the performance of social activation campaigns. Insider Circle, which is offered by brands on an invitation only basis, allows those brands to make exclusive, shareable content and offers available to a select group social media influencers in categories important to the brand.

This makes perfect sense, when you think about it. We’re accustomed to being able to email or phone influencers directly from our relationship management tools. The savvy providers are moving beyond the basics to help us deliver custom content and appropriate special offers to carefully selected social media influencers.

Revisit your wish list for influencer relations management tools. You might find that wishes are coming true.

Popularity: 6%

Barbara on December 4th, 2009

Supernova 2009The Supernova 2009 forum was a worthwhile and compelling event on many levels: the mix of conversations, research, debates, and passionate and intelligent people — all from so many different facets of business, academia, R&D, media, law, government, finance.

Thanks so much to Kevin Werbach and Jeanne Logozzo of Supernova, the Wharton School, and the sponsors for organizing and hosting a superb gathering of minds. It was a privilege to attend.

I used to describe Supernova as a “mini-TED”. That was before there were mini-TEDs and before TED turned into its own kind of stylized performance art. Supernova is not at all a mini-TED. Supernova is a true forum. It’s as much about engaging as it is about listening. That’s a rare thing.

Mary Trigiani has posted a crisp written snapshot of the major conversations that unfolded each day at the Supernovahub. From there, dive into the Supernova Twitter stream using #sn09. Don’t delay. I’m guessing a few thousand tweets went out from and around Supernova. They’ll disappear in the next 10 days or so.

I took just a few photos yesterday, as Supernova 2009 wound down. Fortunately, talented photographers took lots of photos throughout the 3 days. Kendall Whitehouse, Howard Greenstein and others are posting sets at Flickr with the hashtag sn09. I understand videos are online as well; I haven’t seen them yet.

I’ll be blogging here about conversations and ideas and some products beginning Monday. For now, I’m happily heading into the weekend reflecting on it all.

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Gartner’s planned acquisition* of AMR Research sparked some vibrant conversation this week. Alex Williams posting on it at ReadWriteWeb Enterprise asked my perspective. With his OK, I’m sharing our offline exchange, which focused on enterprise supply chain decision makers.

Enterprises have been putting up with quite a bit of churn and staffing reductions among their analyst firms during this recession, and AMR Research is no exception. Still, AMR Research merging into Gartner signals the loss of yet another independent voice in the enterprise tech marketplace.

Gartner is not simply buying AMR Research business contracts. Gartner is buying the attention and trust that enterprise decision makers invest in AMR Research. That’s what will determine the lifetime value of the AMR Research clients. Attention and trust are the stakes.

The difficulty supply chain decision makers face is that they can’t easily transfer their trust in AMR Research to another analyst firm. Their biggest obstacle is limited choice. Few analyst firms come close to AMR Research in terms of size, expertise, track record, culture and clientele. The choices are:

  • the giants — Gartner, Forrester, Informa/Ovum
  • a few companies with dedicated teams, such as ARC Advisory and IDC Insights
  • a sprinkling of qualified supply chain experts among the hundreds of small analyst firms and one-person shops

Companies comfortable with the AMR Research company culture will need to think about chemistry as much as content when considering Gartner, Forrester Research, ARC Advisory Group and IDC Insights.

The small and one-person consultancies already include several former AMR Research analysts. Decision makers comfortable with betting on the jockey, rather than the horse, will find familiar faces in this group.

What about replacing AMR Research with advisors who do not wear an analyst badge? Most decision makers already listen to several types of experts, at least in the early stages of their decision process. So in reality, this is a question of whether to direct more attention and trust to current advisors whether they be peers, consultants, etc.

My advice to AMR Research clients and partners: take a fresh look at your decision support ecosystem while you’re on honeymoon with Gartner. Assess everyone who has your ear, not just the analysts. It’s a good time to ask, “who are the smartest people on the kinds of supply chain issues we have, and do we confer with them?”

* Tekrati news coverage: joint Gartner financial release, AMR Research commentary, Gartner AR webcast

Popularity: 8%