I would like to say thank you at the end of a busy old 2007 to all of our friends in Analyst Relations. We know how hard and creatively many of you work, not only on outreach to promote your companies or clients in the right kind of way within the analyst community, but also to promote the role and value of analysts within management teams on vendor side of the equation – something which I think we analysts sometimes take a bit too much for granted, but without which, our jobs would be so much more difficult. Effective AR is, after all, mostly about building mutually valued and valuable relationships.
I’ll also take the opportunity to reiterate my end of year message on Keeping IT Grounded on the need for more balance in the industry. In the context of this blog, this translates to getting away from some of the partisan thinking that I have seen emerge within both analyst and AR circles over the last couple of years. While it won’t surprise anyone to hear me say that the new breed of community oriented analyst firms have an important role to play, this is not the same as believing that more traditional analyst firms and models are somehow undermined by this – they are not.
What I hope we are heading towards collectively in 2008 and beyond is an extended mix of information and advisory offerings that enhances the value and credibility of the analyst industry as a whole by creating more choice with respect to both commercial models and analyst perspectives. If evolution of the industry can also make quality research and advice available to audiences that would otherwise not have access to it, then so much the better.
So, for the coming 12 months, I would like to encourage a more inclusive mindset on the premise that there are strengths and weaknesses associated with both the community oriented and more traditional analyst models. There is a role for both and the trick is figuring out where and how each of them is relevant. Indeed, I predict that in some cases, we’ll even see the two approaches co-existing within the same firm during 2008, and I look forward to the resulting debates this will stimulate.
As these debates take place, however, I hope the critics will resist the temptation to accuse smaller firms of ‘selling out’ as they embrace traditional approaches, and equally hope that moves by larger firms to embrace social media and a more community oriented spirit are not taken as a sign of weakness or them ‘getting defensive’. The extension of service portfolios is both natural and valuable and should be encouraged regardless of the starting point.
However it pans out though, the one thing for certain is that change is happening and will continue to happen, and it’s great having the opportunity to work in such a fast moving space.
In the meantime, thanks again to all of our Analyst Relations friends, and a Happy New Year everyone.