Carter Lusher, who heads Industry Analyst Relations at HP in a recent post wrote:
"Today there are the established firms (e.g., AMR, Forrester, Gartner and IDC) that have been around since the 1980’s that on the surface have not changed all that much. Then there are the insurgents like Gartner alumni Vinnie Mirchandani at Deal Architect and James Governor of Redmonk with his Monkchips blog who claim that that they are becoming just as influential as the dinosaur firms. As a consequence, we in the AR community should pay just as much attention to them as old firms."
And I invoked Jonathan Swift in the response I left him:
"Carter, greetings. Where exactly did you see me claim I am as influential as an analyst firm? A far more accurate comparison would be small firms like mine are Lilliputs to your Gulliver. Individually you can choose to engage or not with them, but collectively they represent a growing market influence.
While I represent just one perspective, might help to explain our business model and the 3 tracks in how we interact with vendors:
a) CIO advisory services. We help clients evaluate technology solutions and negotiate various technology contracts. We derive majority of our revenues from buyers. When we work with vendors it is when they are themselves procuring technology. So very different from analyst firms which get a sizable percent of revenue from vendors. The best time to "brief" this track of our business is during a competitive evaluation with a solution customized to the client's needs or RFP. Clearly, only vendors invited to that client situation are allowed that opportunity for such a conversation.
b) I also happen to write 2 blogs - New Florence, New Renaissance, which focuses on innovation in technology and Deal Architect, which focuses on economics of technology. Our sources for blog materials vary between the two. On the New Florence blog, I welcome citations from vendors which showcase how a customer has taken advantage of something alpha or beta from their labs. I have cited HP a few times on that blog based on our own research, without a press release from you. But if you have something truly innovative which a customer can vouch for, I would welcome a ping.
c) On the Deal Architect blog, a number of topics are driven by market trends we see in our advisory business. The best way for vendors to engage there is through blog comments or through a guest column. So when I quote BusinessWeek saying HP printer ink is more expensive than like amount of Dom Perignon, make your case why you think your pricing is justified. Or when I ask why your CIO tells the world he is going to cut his IT spend in half, why your customers cannot expect similar advice around their spend with HP, debate me why what's good for HP is not good for your customers.
So across the 3 channels - our advisory business, New Florence and Deal Architect blogs - we touch a number of industry buyers. Far more in numbers and global reach than you would think a small firm could. Let's not get delusional, though - compared to Gartner, our individual influence is puny.
But many of us Lilliputs are banding together. My advisory firm goes to market with a couple of larger consulting firms. I am part of a group of bloggers called the Enterprise Irregulars. Carter, these guys are smarter than the talent we represented at Gartner and are pioneering thoughts around enterprise software, emerging web 2.0 and SaaS markets. There are other similar other groups in other technology categories.
You have to make up your mind whether it is worthwhile to engage with small firms and bloggers at all - and whether one on one, or through groups like the Irregulars. But I can tell you traditional analyst briefings do not work as well - you have to be ready for interactive and transparent conversation. And you will find most of these firms are far more independent than industry analysts."