Editor’s Note: Republishing this post I wrote today for Tekrati. It ties into several of my themes here, and to my July webinar with Jeremiah Owyang.

GigaOM today celebrates the first anniversary of its GigaOM Pro research division. GigaOM Pro is one of the more interesting of the recent entrants to high tech industry analyst business. Mike Wolf (@michaelwolf), vice president of research, sat down with Tekrati and spoke about the first year: the formative decisions early on, recent progress and a few immediate changes as the venture begins Year 2. Plus, a Cisco subscriber weighed in on her experience with this innovative industry research service.

First, let’s catch up with what’s new as announced yesterday by GigaOM founder Om Malik. GigaOM Pro officially emerges from beta today. The online retail price rises from $79 to $249 per year, with discounting down to $199. That’s a fraction of the cost of comparative services. Since its launch, the service has published more than 500 research items, including in-depth reports on the app economy, e-books and cloud computing and more than 100 company profiles. Plus, subscribers can contact analysts privately or discuss findings openly through the community features of the site.

Further sweetening the deal, the 6,000 beta subscribers can renew at the $99 beta price. According to Wolf, the 2010 renewal rate looks good. The subscriber base is large enough now to create its own momentum in new sales.

The company will now provide research buyers a corporate purchase option in addition to online sales. The new Corporate Edition makes it simple to buy a quantity of seats at a volume discount. Wolf said that the Corporate Edition builds on the innate appeal to GigaOM readership and is garnering interest from a broad base of small to large companies, market research buyers and intel centers. The first corporate clients to sign include Microsoft, Adobe, Rovi, Juniper Networks, Peer1, RRE Ventures, Norwest Ventures, Hill & Knowlton, LewisPR and Accenture.

The 1-year anniversary coincides with GigaOm’s third annual Structure conference, taking place today and tomorrow in San Francisco. Celebratory perks at the sold-out cloud computing event include:

  • Conference attendees receive a comp copy of the in-depth report, ”Defining Internal Cloud Options: From Appistry to VMware” by Derrick Harris
  • Attending GigaOM Pro subscribers (and those who buy a subscription onsite) can enter a drawing to win an iPad (Wi-Fi)
  • Wolf will lead a rapid-fire panel on where cloud computing is headed over the next 3 to 5 years. The questions were submitted by GigaOM Pro subscribers and Twitter fans. The panelists, selected from the virtual GigaOM Pro Analyst Network, are Derrick Harris with GigaOm PRO, Phil Hendrix with immr, and John du Pre Gauntt with Media Dojo.
  • Members of the GigaOM Pro Analyst Network are in attendance throughout the event.

In its first year, GigaOM Pro has proven that it can stand apart from the majority of industry research firms on price, coverage, quality, speed and customer experience. The affordable price is certainly an important part of the equation. However, that would mean nothing without the rest.

Early on, Malik, Wolf and CEO Paul Walborsky made several decisions that set GigaOM Pro on this unique path. “We knew we had to do something different,” said Wolf. “We didn’t want to do a Gartner or a Heavy Reading. We didn’t want to be consultants. We focused on innovating the research business model with price, community and a virtual network of domain expertise.”

Thus, they sidestepped the trappings of traditional research firms: high overhead, exclusionary pricing, long lead times and a finite pool of analyst experts on any given topic.

The GigaOM media network is able to subsidize its research start-up and provide immediate brand recognition. Further, GigaOM editorial standards and cradle-to-grave project support ensure that research coverage leads or closely tracks hot trending topics while adhering to quality standards. The strength of the brand — combined with the management team and editorial support — has enabled the research start-up to recruit close to 40 high caliber experts to its virtual Analyst Network and produce an impressive body of written and rich media research deliverables on 5 emerging tech domains, from green tech to Google and Apple to cloud:

  • Mobile
  • Infrastructure
  • Connected Consumer
  • NewNet
  • Green IT

GigaOM’s grounding in Web 2.0 also translates into differentiation in the customer experience: subscribers can network with each other and the experts, and discuss every piece of research published, no holds barred.

“Our subscribers like the style of service,” said Wolf. “They like the model — access to any research at any time.” He said the rapid turn-around on hot topics and ability to bring in deep-dive contributing experts from the industry at large make GigaOM Pro a great add-on to advisory services from the established analyst houses. “We’re not displacing other services. We’re complementary to traditional firms.”

Lisa Soto, an analyst relations manager with Cisco based in Irvine, Calif., who’s been using the service for about a year, concurs. She works in one of Cisco’s consumer divisions and said, “The PRO service is how we keep our ear to the ground about what is happening in the industry. We can always count on GigaOM PRO to give us an in-depth evaluation and realistic perspective of the impact many new technologies, key announcements have on the industry. As soon as we hear about a trend or a new movement, we know GigaOM PRO will provide a deep and rich perspective of what is happening and the value to the industry and most importantly the consumer.”

Two things she likes most about the service are its responsiveness to the market, and the social aspects of the research delivery. She finds GigaOM Pro is one of the first research resources to provide information on a new trend. “The timing is unbelievably fast.” She also likes the ability to interact with the experts and content — it’s designed from the ground up with community features of a full-fledged social network — and likes the option of being alerted to new research via “the most current social media tools.”

The GigaOM Pro social experience goes beyond written word. A series of “Bunker” events brings together select subscribers by invitation only at a physical location. The rest of the community shares the event via streaming. Looking ahead, these types of events will likely play a larger part in the corporate edition.

Finally, there is one more aspect to the GigaOM Pro social design: an Analyst Relations network within the Pro community. This professional network is open to any analyst relations practitioner actively working with clients — not just those affiliated with Pro subscribers. Members can network with each other and with the virtual GigaOM Pro Analyst Network. Soto said she has taken advantage of the network to expand her division’s relationships with influencers in adjacent markets.

In a busy year of beta — during one of the worst recessions in tech market history — GigaOM Pro succeeded in putting a fresh face on the high tech research business. Prospects for Year 2 look good. Research buyers, analysts and analyst relations teams should take note.

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Do you have some opinions on how social media is changing the analyst business? Or how it could be changing the analyst game? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Your points may well end up on my July roundtable, ”The Impact of Social on the Analyst Industry“,  with Jonny Bentwood of Edelman, Carter Lusher of SageCircle, and our roundtable producer and host, Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group. The Twitter hashtag is #socialanalyst.

We’ll be discussing — and debating — the impact of social on analysts and analyst firms, and resulting changes in the analyst experience for IT decision makers, tech providers and their analyst relations representatives.

Some changes are taking place behind the scenes, in business, research and sales operations. Some changes are clearly visible at events and online through blogs, communities, media sites and Twitter. Other changes are being forced on the analyst business by IT decision makers and tech providers, as social media redefines approaches to decision making and influencer relations.

Social is not just another hammer in the tech toolbox. It’s also a set of behaviors. We expect analysts to adopt these new behaviors. So far, some are, some are not.

As with all Altimeter Group webinars, this one is free to attend and space is limited! Register at your earliest if you’d like to participate in the live conversation.

  • What: The Impact of Social on the Analyst Industry: A Roundtable with Jonny Bentwood, Barbara French, Carter Lusher, and Jeremiah Owyang
  • When: Wed, Jul 21, 2010 from 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM PDT
  • Info, Register: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/823666435

Special thanks to Jeremiah for organizing this event!

Editor’s update, June 29th: Post your suggestions on topics & points of view you think we should cover during the roundtable at Jeremiah’s blog.

Popularity: 13%

Barbara on May 11th, 2010

I’m not a fan of the growing schism between Altimeter Group and the rest of the analysts. One of the most visible wedges driving this rift is the idea of “rock star analysts.”

“Rock star analyst” is an old notion with deep roots among financial analysts. Originally, rock star analysts were the ones who made the right call the most often, especially on complex decisions. They made their clients the most money. There was a strong body of proof and formal professional consensus behind the status.

Not so on the tech analyst side of the aisle. What does “rock star analyst” mean to analyst relations people and analysts today? It seems to mean an analyst scores high on RSS readership, Twitter following, social net savvy, citations in the media. In short, celebrity status. Customer satisfaction isn’t a meaningful factor, beyond the PR value of the analyst.

What does celebrity status have to do with accuracy, completeness, timeliness? With giving clients great advice?

Why would a decision maker want to hire a celebrity to help with tech decisions?

It’s time for a reality check. Of the many reasons one might hire an analyst, celebrity status is — at best — just one aspect of the package.

Update, for clarification: I’m criticizing the rising popularity of labeling an analyst a “rock star” due to celebrity status. I see Altimeter Group as an unwitting victim of this craze. Ray Wang and his associates have proven their chops as technology & business experts. Putting them on rockstar pedestals strictly because of their social media popularity is insane. And arguably, it’s a disservice to the entire analyst profession. - BF May 12, 2010.

Popularity: 12%

Barbara on March 30th, 2010

DestinationCRM cites me along with Carter Lusher, William Hopkins and other IT analyst watchers in a March 2010 article focusing on recession-driven consolidation in the industry analyst business.

It’s in the hardcopy version - so purchase / registration required.

Popularity: 2%

IDC logoJay Andersen was in touch to remind me that IDC, Hill & Knowlton and the IIAR will host a luncheon meeting for analyst relations professionals at next week’s IDC Directions 2010 in San Jose, Calif.

Advanced registration is required. If you’re involved in analyst relations, at an agency or vendor, you can register for the meeting. Likewise, if you’re between AR-focused jobs, you can register. You’ll also get complimentary access to the full-day IDC conference.

Request your invitation via an email to Peggy O’Neill at peggy.oneill@analystrelations.org. More at IIAR blog.

Big thanks to IDC, the analyst relations practice at H&K, and the IIAR for their generosity in arranging the private luncheon and the free access to the Directions 2010 conference.

Details
Hyatt Regency - attached to Santa Clara Convention Center
Cypress Room
March 10, 2010
12:15 PM - 1:15 PM

12:15PM - 12:30 PM
Crawford Del Prete, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Research, IDC, will provide an overview and highlight the details of IDC’s end user IT research strategy. His presentation will include an update on IDC’s Insights organization, IDC’s MarketScape assessment tool, and the ground breaking IDC Insights Community.

12:30 PM - 1:05 PM
Joshua Reynolds, Senior Vice President, Hill & Knowlton’s global tech practice lead, will present key findings from H&K’s 2009 tech decision maker’s study, the latest insights on the impact of AR on IR and corporate valuation, and the evolving role of AR professionals as they take on Influencer Relations roles in the new social media era.

1:05 PM - 1:15 PM
Peggy O’Neill, Board Member IIAR, will provide a brief update of IIAR initiatives and discuss the benefits of IIAR membership.

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Today’s Apple iPad debut has everyone talking, including the tech industry analysts. The launch presented an unusually high profile opportunity for analysts to advance their credibility, influence and client loyalty. All they had to do was get to market quickly (i.e., this morning) with smart, helpful analysis. Unfortunately, only a few did. Instead, most of the industry analysts paying attention to the launch focused on speaking through the press or Twitter.

I checked 25 analyst sites for “ipad” or “apple ipad”. Here’s the short list of analysts who put their clients ahead of their sound bites as of noon Pacific today. My hat is off to all them. They understand that communicating through sound bites and 140 characters is not mutually exclusive to sharing more meaningful analysis — on a real time basis — with clients and online audiences.

Mike Borland, BIA Kelsey, at the Local Media Blog: Hello iPad, We’ve Been Expecting You

Harry Wang, at Parks Associates blog: Will the iPad Kill the Digital Photo Frame Category?

Carl Howe on Yankee Group blog: First take on Apple’s Anywhere iPad

Ted Schadler on The Forrester Blog for Information & Knowledge Management Professionals: Apple’s iPad Will Come Into The Enterprise Through The Consumer Door. Again.

Jeff Orr on the ABI Research blog: Apple Joins the Media Tablet Fray with iPad Launch

Andrew Brown on the Strategy Analytics blog: Apple’s iPad…just where does it fit in the Enterprise?

Philippe Winthrop on his personal blog: The Apple iPad: The Enterprise Mobility Perspective

Maribel Lopez on the Lopez Research blog: Apple Makes Further Advances As The Premier Retailer of the Digital Age

Stephen Baker on the NPD blog: Apple Reinvents The Netbook

If you know of others that were published on January 27, please add them in the comments.

Editor’s note on updates to post: added Andrew Brown; Maribel Lopez; Philippe Winthrop; Stephen Baker.

Popularity: 5%

Barbara on January 18th, 2010

How can industry analysts start relationships with analyst relations professionals? It’s a question posed every day by every analyst wanting to open doors at tech provider firms. Usually, the goal is sales, research or broadening a professional network. Often, analysts want to build rapport with AR pro’s for all 3 reasons. Two posts offer useful pointers on how to succeed:

SageCircle takes an industry insider view on the sales and research front with today’s post, How can small analyst firms get the attention of analyst relations? [Analyst Question] (disclosure: Tekrati is listed as a key resource)

Mashable offers sound advice on the professional networking front with today’s post, 7 Lessons for Better Networking with Social Media

Having influence in some circles does not automatically open doors in others. That applies equally whether you work at Gartner or as a sole proprietor.

Popularity: 6%

Barbara on January 13th, 2010

While tech providers have had formal analyst relations programs for 30-odd years, only Gartner and Forrester Research have reciprocated with influencer programs dedicated to vendor AR teams.  GigaOM Pro, the industry research arm of GigaOM, is about to shake up the status quo with today’s formal debut of their Analyst Relations program.

The GigaOM Pro Analyst Relations program shares some expected similarities with the Gartner and Forrester programs. For example, all three programs require members to be involved in some capacity with analyst relations. All three programs also offer basic benefits to their AR participants, such as more in-depth knowledge about research agendas and decision rationale and special opportunities to get to know analysts and management.

So, what’s different about the GigaOM Pro AR program?

1. AR members receive a free, full access GigaOM Pro account.

2. AR members have full read/write community features. This means that AR members can use the community platform — within reason — to comment on GigaOM Pro research findings and engage with analysts and other subscribers.

3. AR members create a public-facing personal profile page, so that all other community members and analysts can get to know them as well. This is a great opportunity for personal branding and networking as an AR professional - not only with GigaOM Pro analysts but also with GigaOM Pro subscribers. Think about that.

4. AR members can leverage the program to build relations with the pool of GigaOM Pro analysts. It’s a constantly changing group of some of the most influential SOHO tech industry analysts and research-driven thought leaders in North America, handpicked and carefully vetted by the GigaOM Pro team.

You should also consider a few cautionary pointers:

  • Sleuth the community before you start commenting, just as you would with any professional network.
  • If you misbehave — i.e. post inappropriate comments or inappropriate volume of  comments — you may suffer more than having your account closed down. GigaOM attracts a sophisticated and knowledgeable readership. Your company reputation is on the line as much as yours whenever you comment.
  • Be clear with everyone in your organization that this is a program designed specifically for people who handle analyst relations. It is not a doorway into GigaOM for press relations or press releases or a ticket to hijack research.

I strongly recommend this program to AR professionals. Check out the FAQ and if you like what you see, apply online. Or contact Mike Wolf, vice president of research at GigaOM Pro, for more information.

Useful Links

GiagOM Pro Analyst Relations Program - Info & Online Application

GigaOM Pro Analyst Relations Program - FAQ

Popularity: 9%

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

Popularity: 7%

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%