I had the privilege of opening the Analyst Relations Forum in London last week, attended by a diverse group of analyst relations (AR) professionals from Europe and the US. Duncan Chapple neatly summarised my keynote, just minutes after I’d finished giving it; he’s a good example of that rule of thumb that says to be a good blogger you need to write quickly and often.
The overall theme of the conference was the business value of AR, which can be articulated in numerous ways. The most common is the influence analysts have over IT purchasing decisions. Caroline Dennington of Symantec and Samyr Jriri of Kea Company did an excellent job outlining the numerous ways that can happen; it’s not just about ‘mentions’ or where you sit in a quadrant. Duncan summarised what they said here, including a great chart from Caroline that every AR pro should find valuable.
I talked about another way in which analysts exert influence – in the M&A process, of which the technology industry has experienced plenty over the past 20 years and continues to do so. I know of reports that 451 colleagues and I wrote being spread out on the table at major investment banks while they pored over opportunities with their software industry clients. And there are many more examples of the variety of types of analyst influence.
This was my first AR Forum and I was particularly struck by the following:
- the diversity of AR experiences between those that work for product-focused versus service-focused companies
- the increasingly important roles of sourcing providers
- the challenges involved in dealing with the large analyst companies that have both analysts and consultants, which presents AR pros regarding the influence of the latter, especially
- the amount of US-based AR pros that flew to London to attend the conference!
In some ways the star of the show were the revelations from this year’s Analyst Value Survey, from which Duncan has drip-fed snippets, but there is so much insight in it for analyst companies of all shapes and sizes that they really should get in touch to find out more.
I’m sure the AR pros in attendance left the AR Forum with plenty of ideas of how to better demonstrate the business value of their considerable AR efforts within their companies and no doubt some of them will share what they’ve learned in next year’s forum. But if you can’t wait that long, get in touch to learn for yourself.