Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘influence’

Same same, but different: Are Gartner and Forrester really in the same business any more?

The IT analyst business used to be pretty easy to define – we differentiated firms that influenced end-user organisations from those that worked for IT vendors, then segmented them based on technology depth, vertical markets, research offerings, geography etc. From an analyst relations perspective, we could choose how to deal with them, depending on our own objectives.

We’ve always seen analyst firms buying up others to fill out gaps in their offerings and/or broaden their reach. But after Forrester bought Giga Group and Gartner bought Meta Group several years ago, they remained the only two firms of any substance in the segment that my colleagues at Knowledge Capital Group call “Deal Makers & Breakers” – the firms which are most influential over end-user purchasing.

Then came “disruption”

Some analyst firms repositioned themselves to focus on new market opportunities, some stayed the course on their traditional IT markets while also keeping a weather eye out, and of course new players emerged targeting users and/or vendors.

It’s now four years that Forrester chairman & CEO George Colony has been talking about the “Age of the Customer” and repositioning the firm’s research away from the traditional IT organisation towards marketing and line-of-business executives, focusing on customer experience and how to use technology to deliver that.

Forrester was trying to differentiate itself from Gartner and get a head-start in tapping into the new research goldmine. Meanwhile, Gartner pretty much stuck to its guns, continuing to focus on the IT organisation (although it also has digital marketing services).

Regardless of this, Gartner and Forrester are pretty much in the same business. Their service offerings are not dissimilar, their sales models share many of the same characteristics, and their target customers have the same addresses, if not always the same business titles.

But is this really true any more?

For the past five years, I’ve been analysing the financial performances of these two IT research leaders, and a few points have always stuck out:

  • Gartner has consistently talked about its business as a business, enumerated sales metrics, how to increase sales productivity and drive out costs, while at the same time forecasting high single-digit or low double-digit revenue growth numbers – and delivered against them
  • Forrester has consistently talked about reinventing and realigning its research, reworking its sales model and changing its employee profile, but generally providing low single-digit growth forecasts – and delivered against them

When you listen to the annual earnings calls – or read the transcripts – for these firms, another thing stands out. The way that Gartner talks about business is pretty consistent with its balance sheet and the other numbers it discloses, while Forrester’s soundtrack is a little more aspirational, but not always backed up by the numbers.

In short, there are contradictions in the way that Forrester talks about its business and the way it delivers its numbers. Which is what makes me wonder about whether Forrester and Gartner are really in the same game any more…

In previous years, I’ve broken down and compared their results by attribute, but what I’d like to highlight now is the basic differences and the points that I have trouble correlating. I have a spreadsheet with lots of data comparisons, but I’m assuming that not everyone is as fascinated with this detail as I am, so I’ll keep it high-level. In any case, I’m not a stock market analyst, so the annual comparisons are more relevant from a business perspective than quarterly.

Let’s look at some points of difference:

Growth

  • Gartner’s annual revenue in 2016 grew 13% to $US2.445 billion, just a tad under its forecast from 12 months earlier, while Forrester posted a 4% revenue growth, right in the middle of its forecast
  • Gartner’s net income grew 11% to $US196 million, while Forrester’s jumped 47% to $US17.7 million, but that is still significantly lower than its most recent high of $US26 million in FY2012
  • Gartner’s revenue has grown at a CAGR of 11.1% since 2013 and 11.3% since 2010, while Forrester’s has grown 3.1% since 2013 and a slightly better 4.5% since 2010.
  • Gartner has generally forecast higher revenue numbers and hit them, while Forrester has generally been conservative, but has been variable in delivery. If Gartner analysts were as accurate as their finance department, they would be legends….

Business mix

Gartner’s research revenue – coming mostly from the IT space – has continued to grow as a percentage of its total – 75% in 2016, compared with 67% in 2010, while Forrester’s has remained pretty consistent at about 66%.

  • Gartner’s research revenue grew just under 16% in 2016, and 14% in Q4, while its five-year CAGR is more than 13%
  • Forrester’s research revenue grew just over 2% in 2016, and 1% in Q4, while its five-year CAGR is about 4.5%

While growing its consulting business, Gartner hasn’t achieved the same results as for its syndicated research. Its events business grew by a similar number – just under 7% – but the firm did highlight the fact that some of its Symposium events were selling out, so new events are likely.

Forrester doesn’t break down its consulting and events numbers, but includes a single line item called “advisory” which grew just over 7% in 2016, and just under 7% in Q4, and from the soundtrack, it seemed that events was the stronger performer.

Sales

It’s no secret that Gartner invests heavily in its salesforce and in sales training, but it doesn’t tolerate under-performers. It claims to have fine-tuned hiring to minimise wastage, and continues to focus on sales productivity.

  • Average spend per account in 2016 increased 10% to $US174,000, while sales productivity increased 7% on a four-quarter rolling average
  • Gartner’s salesforce is forecast to increase 13% in 2017

Forrester brought on Michael Morhardt about four years ago as Chief Sales Officer, and has continued to refine its sales model since then, with varying degrees of success. Under the latest structure:

  • Forrester has moved to a “premier” account model for its largest customers, with three levels of engagement – a client executive, a solutions partner and a client success manager. It plans to transition to this model by end of the year in the US and Asia/Pacific, with Europe about 75% complete by then
  • Other accounts will be managed under a “core” program driven by an inside sales organisation in Nashville, with its 50+ headcount doubling in 2018. It is not clear how that will work for non-US clients

The Outlook

Gartner is once again bullish about the next year, forecasting a revenue growth of 10% to 12%, with the highest forecasts in research. That doesn’t take into account its proposed acquisition of Corporate Executive Board (more on that below) which has the potential to add about $US1 billion to its top line once it’s finalised in April.

Forrester is forecasting a revenue growth of -1% to 2% for 2017, which is its lowest outlook since a similar forecast for 2013.

The Inconsistencies

I hold no torch for Gartner, but it’s hard to poke holes in its numbers and its forecasts. Gartner consistently walks the talk and lives up to its forecasts, so if it says it’s going to do something, then you’re unlikely to see a different outcome.

Likewise, I have nothing against Forrester – I have some great mates who work there and I respect their research. But there some things that just don’t make sense:

  • Forrester’s largest research communities in 2016 were CIOs (8,232 members), application development & delivery (5,341) and analyst relations (4,744) – that’s vendor folks like me. Sure, some of these clients might be buying customer-oriented research, but it still looks like a traditional IT audience
  • While CSO Michael Morhardt and CFO Mike Doyle talked up the new sales model – and particularly the Nashville beta – their positivity doesn’t gibe with a revenue forecast that is low to negative. Normally, a new inside sales organisation would be expected to ramp quickly, driving up revenue

Inorganic Growth

Gartner has always been acquisitive, adding breadth to its portfolio. In 2015, it acquired Peer Insights, a sort-of-less-nasty TripAdvisor review site for IT user feedback, which extends its ability to get direct insight from users about IT vendor performance. Other acquisitions have extended its capabilities into technical or niche market segments, but the $US3 billion purchase of Corporate Executive Board – a peer networking platform for legal, financial and HR – pushes it out of IT and into the rest of the C-suite. That deal is expected to close in April.

Gartner wants to play across the business, and always has dozens of potential acquisitions on its radar.

Forrester wants to play that game too. On its earnings call, Forrester said that it had appointed Doug Kohen, formerly head of operations & strategy, to lead its acquisitions, with a goal of completing one deal per year.

Meanwhile, International Data Corporation is also cashed-up for acquisitions, with its new Chinese venture capital owners also placing some emphasis on inorganic growth.

So Where To Now?

Plus ca change, plus ces’t la meme chose.

Gartner remains the 800-pound gorilla, but extends its reach into other line of business segments with the CEB acquisition. According to my friends at KCG, Gartner accounted for just under 70% of end-user spending on analyst firm services in 2015, and most of that was in the IT space. With the addition of CEB and other acquisitions, that penetration will no doubt increase.

At the same time, Gartner, IDC and Forrester accounted for 56% of total analyst firm revenues, with hundreds of firms making up the balance.

More acquisitions means more consolidation in the Big Three, but there are only a handful of mid-sized firms, and they’re not all appealing. The most attractive are those outside of IT, who can add breadth to the offerings of these traditionally IT-focused firms.

From an AR perspective, the new Gartner is a lot more complex. AR pros are already wrestling with how Peer Insights will impact existing engagement programs, while at the same time figuring out how to deal with CEB, whose people act more like advisors than analysts. It seems that the bigger Gartner gets, the harder it is to navigate.

Forrester, meanwhile, seems to be under attack from some of the ATGs (Alternatives to Garter) which have narrower focus, particularly around digital marketing. These firms are driving revenue out of lines of business rather than IT and generally have been established by Gartner and Forrester alumni – Constellation Research and Altimeter are probably the most visible examples, but there are others, and while generally smaller, they are becoming more important.

In the medium to long term, the analyst firms we know and love won’t look anything like those we deal with today. That will change how customers buy from them, how they influence customers, and how vendors try to influence the analysts.

But in the short term, the analyst business remains pretty much the same. And for AR folks, the strategy remains the same – focus on the analysts who really influence your customers and prospects, but keep one eye open for influencers who have – and will – come out of left field. It’s probably also worthwhile giving serious consideration to the length of future analyst firm contract commitments.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers,

Dave

  • Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the earnings call transcripts, which compensate for my inadequate note-taking, and also to my mate Bill Hopkins at KCG, who did a stellar job of peer reviewing my draft.

Why technology industry disruption is also disrupting the analyst relations game

The analyst relations profession has always been a challenging one – fun, but challenging. Over the past couple of years, it has become tougher, and all indications are that it’s going to get even tougher in the coming years.

Like many buzz words that the technology industry latches on to, “disruption” is much over-used and often incorrectly applied. But the reality is that some technology market segments are being significantly disrupted by a range of forces, and by extension that is having a profound effect on the analyst business and the AR profession.

Confronted by this range of forces, many traditional IT vendors are struggling to get the attention they’ve previously enjoyed with the larger – and smaller – analyst firms. So, for AR pros, this means getting smarter & more creative if they want to get the cut-through they need.

But before we look at some of the potential solutions, let’s look at the problem. These are the forces at play:

Analyst business models are changing

To a large degree, analyst firms provide – and have always provided – pretty much the same thing to their clients, whether they are IT vendors or users. That is: content, engagement & advice. It’s a multi-layered approach which has worked for years & will continue to be successful, but here’s how it’s changing:

  • “One to many” is being disintermediated. The subscription model for written research & market share data has long been the cash cow for analyst firms, but it is being devalued by the vast amount of information available for free on the web. Some emerging analyst firms are using freemium models to drive interest in paid services, but there is a wealth of information available online – on vendor websites, on blogs, on aggregation sites and elsewhere. Quality written research is still relevant for most analyst firms, but it is no longer a differentiator.
  • “One to some” is gathering steam. Analyst firms have always done events – it’s a great way to promote the brand, the content and the ideas, but it also provides for more intimate engagement with customers. And it’s an area where many firms are focusing their investment. Gartner’s event business grew 17% last financial year, while the Symposium conference in Orlando in October sold out. IDC has a crowded schedule of events covering just about every country in Asia/Pacific, not to mention North America, Europe & elsewhere. And they’re not alone.
  • “One to one” delivers value, but doesn’t scale. A key value proposition for Gartner – among many others – has been its enquiry service, through which it is able to provide specific, personalised advice to both vendors & users. This is what many clients really pay for, but there are only so many 30-minute enquiries that an individual analyst can manage. Increasing enquiry volumes means adding expertise, which costs money.

The technology business ain’t what it used to be

In the beginning there were just a few technology vendors – old hands will recall referring to one predominant group as the BUNCH (Burroughs, Univac, NCR, Control Data, Honeywell). The minicomputer business started the process of expansion, but the advent of the PC in the early 1980s truly democratised the technology business, with the emergence of software standards & platform independence. The web further built on this legacy, spawning thousands of new players, while the smart mobile revolution has made everyone an app developer. But it gets worse:

  • There are few barriers to entry for new players. There are still barriers to success, but anyone with a good idea, access to some smart programmers and a half-decent marketing plan has the potential to carve themselves out a niche and/or disrupt existing business models. Add in some venture capital & social media cred, and they have the potential to be a real player. And guess what – they’re doing everything they can to get the attention of industry analysts.
  • The Internet of Things. What can we say? Even Gartner has declared it as the #2 strategic technology trend of 2015, and many other firms have been beating the drum about this for some time. This brings a lot of non-traditional players into the mix. And guess what – they’re doing everything they can to get the attention of industry analysts.
  • Everything old is new again. In part due to the IoT, many old established manufacturing companies are finding that they’re interesting & relevant again as they build sensing technology into products like jet engines, heavy haulage, air conditioning systems and more. As one analyst said to me recently, many of the new disrupters are 100-year-old companies, not creative start-ups. Think Honeywell, Siemens, Rockwell Automation etc. And guess what – they’re doing everything they can to get the attention of industry analysts.
  • Traditional IT vendors are looking for greener fields. The vendors we know & love are not sitting idly by while all this happens. They are well aware of the factors shaping the market & the emergence of new competition, and they are exploring their adjacent markets to maintain their growth. Unfortunately, they’re not seen as “sexy” like a lot of the so-called disruptors. But guess what – they’re doing everything they can to get the attention of industry analysts.

Analyst behaviours are changing

Being an analyst has always been a good gig, but it’s been getting tougher over the past few years. It’s still a good gig, but in general, analysts have less latitude than they once had to explore ideas, to think, to pontificate, to focus on the big long-term issues rather than the immediate problems in need of resolution. In simple terms, they’re more accountable for their time, but let’s look at the pressure points:

  • Analysts are busier than they have ever been. Most analyst firms have figured out how to get more productivity out of their analysts over the past few years, so many of them now goal their staff on the stuff that impacts their renewal rates – not just written research volumes, but also enquiry volumes and paid engagements. So analysts are not just more accountable, they don’t have the “slack” in their schedules they once had, or the ability to apply that as they choose.
  • Analysts need to know more about more things. Analysts in the Asia/Pacific region have always been broad rather than deep because they have to understand multiple geographic & technology markets, more so than their US & European peers, who have the luxury of larger markets which allow them to specialise. But all analysts need to understand the adjacencies to their focus markets, and that has become more complicated. They need to understand – and explain – how the new market dynamics affect the narrower markets they focus on.
  • Analysts are being used differently by their own firms. As we noted above, there is a greater focus on delivering events which engage analysts more closely with their clients, whether they are vendors or users. While these events deliver a good contribution to the bottom line, they require more time commitment, not just in terms of presentation delivery & travel, but also for preparation. Analysts involved in these events are expected to be “always on” even when they’re not on stage, doing client enquiries, networking & otherwise promoting the firm’s brand.
  • Analysts are being used differently by their clients. Not only do analyst firms run their own events, but IT vendors host them too. The user conference/roadshow/roundtable is a stock component in the marketing playbook of most IT vendors, and they love to use analysts in keynotes and breakouts to add an air of credibility and independence to their events. There’s nothing wrong with this, but once again it sucks up a lot of analyst time in preparation, delivery & travel.

Bottom line

What this boils down to is that many traditional IT vendors are struggling to get the attention of the analysts with whom they’ve engaged for years. They are competing for airtime & mindshare with a growing number of new players, whose stories are often more “sexy” than the business-as-usual messages they deliver. And this is at a time when analysts have less time to listen to vendors, and are more selective about what briefings they attend.

It’s a tough landscape, and vendors are going to have to get a bit creative to stand out from the crowd. There isn’t space today to discuss potential solutions, but I’ll do that in another post in the next week or so. In the meantime, I’d appreciate your perspectives on this dilemma, the ramifications and potential solutions.

Cheers,

Dave

Gartner just bets bigger & draws further from the pack – analysing Gartner’s & Forrester’s 2013 financial results

Everyone knows that Gartner is the big gorilla of the technology research & advisory business. It’s not just that it now generates six times the annual revenues of its nearest competitor, Forrester Research, but how it plays the game. Gartner bets big, & expects to win big.

Gartner & Forrester have both reported their 2013 financial results in the past few days, and the CEOs of both firms came across on the earnings calls as happy with their numbers. They pretty much hit the revenue & income targets they forecast 12 months ago, and were comfortable about hitting similar targets in the coming year.

The difference is in where the bar is set.

  •  For the year ended December 31, 2013, Gartner generated total revenues of $US1.784 billion, a 10 per cent increase on 2012, and at the lower end of 10 to 13 per cent growth forecast it announced 12 months ago. This year, its revenue growth guidance is 9 to 12 per cent.
  •  Forrester reported full year revenues of $US297.7 million, a 2 per cent increase on 2012, and at the upper end of the -1 to 2 per cent growth it forecast a year ago. This year, its revenue growth guidance is of the order of 2 to 5 per cent.

 Same same, but different

Issues of scale and nuanced discussions about the difference in the research portfolios aside, these two firms effectively sell the same products into the same markets, yet one expects – and gets – double-digit growth, while the other sees single-digit growth as a reasonable outcome.

For all the similarities between Gartner & Forrester, there are also plenty of subtle and not-so-subtle differences – in their research agendas, the type of analysts they employ, their sales approaches and so on. Perhaps they can provide some insight into the difference in performance between these two firms?

In 2012, the difference between these companies was much about sales execution, which was covered in detail in our blog post A tale of two sales teams – an analysis of Gartner’s & Forrester’s 2012 financials. This post is our most-read article of all time, by a significant margin, and continues to attract hits 12 months on.

The 2013 results are a little more complex, but I’m going to break them down in a similar way as 2012 to provide some insights into how these two firms approach a multi-billion dollar market which both of them continue to claim is under-penetrated.

Top line, bottom line

  •  As noted above, Gartner finished fiscal 2013 with total revenues of $US1.784 billion, an increase of 10 per cent over 2012, while Forrester reported revenues of $US297.7 million, an increase of just 2 per cent
  •  Gartner posted a net income of $US182.8 million, an increase of 10 per cent over 2012 & 10.3 per cent as a percentage of revenues, while Forrester reported a net income of $US12.8 million, a 51 per cent decrease on its 2012 result, & just 4.3 per cent as a percentage of revenues

Gartner’s Q4 revenue growth was similar at 10 per cent, while Forrester’s was a little stronger at 3 per cent. Gartner’s Q4 income growth was weaker at 4 per cent, but so was Forrester’s – declining 56 per cent. Gartner CFO Chris Lafond highlighted investment in the salesforce as impacting Q4 income, and while Forrester didn’t discuss this issue specifically, it pointed to investment in its consulting headcount & weaker conditions in Europe as affecting its overall bottom line.

 Research

Syndicated research services continue to account for the bulk of revenue for both firms – 71 per cent for Gartner, and 68 per cent for Forrester. But while Gartner’s research revenues grew 12 per cent for the year, Forrester’s were flat, and declined 1 per cent in Q4. Gartner’s guidance for 2014 research revenues is 11 to 13 per cent, and while Forrester didn’t provide a specific forecast for research, it did suggest that growth would come from other areas.

As we saw last year, Gartner didn’t spend a lot of time talking about research, apart from the numbers, while Forrester chairman & CEO George Colony introduced the earnings call with a discussion about the firm’s research focus in the “Age of the Customer”, as well as highlighting the increase in delivery of playbooks – now totalling 64 & double the previous year.

 Consulting

Forrester includes consulting in “Advisory & Other” which also includes events, while Gartner breaks it out as a separate line item. From a growth perspective, Forrester appears to have done better here than Gartner, with a 5 per cent increase in advisory, compared with 3 per cent growth in consulting for Gartner.

Consulting has become a key focus for Forrester – it increased the number of consultants to 60 at the end of 2013, and plans to almost double that to 114 by end 2014. That’s still a lot fewer than Gartner’s 480+ consultants, but a serious statement of intent. The aim is to move Forrester analysts out of project consulting to focus more on research & advisory, and consulting was flagged as one of the areas of strongest growth in 2014.

Gartner also seems to have fixed a few issues in its consulting business, which delivered disappointing results in 2012. While 2013 & forecast growth is modest, Gartner highlighted a backlog of $US106 million at the end of Q4.

Events

With a 15 per cent growth to just under $US200 million in revenues, events are the gift that keeps on giving for Gartner. That growth was achieved by adding just three events to the calendar, bringing the worldwide total to 64 events. Attendee revenues increased 11 per cent and exhibitor revenues increased 17 per cent for the year, suggesting that Gartner has struck a good balance between the needs of its delegates and sponsors.

Forrester doesn’t break out its events revenue, but indicated that it was pretty comfortable with its 2013 commitment level, focusing on “fewer, bigger, better” events focused around its most important five to seven roles.

Headcount

Gartner didn’t break down its headcount figures in its earnings statement, but CEO Gene Hall pointed to a 16 per cent increase in sales headcount at the end of 2013, and said that the long-term sales headcount growth target was 15 to 20 per cent a year.

For Forrester, total headcount grew 4 per cent, with research (including consulting) increasing 10 per cent to 475 and sales growing 5 per cent to 485, and with Forrester also highlighting that salesforce attrition was at its lowest in eight quarters. Once again, Gartner’s greater focus on the salesforce is obvious, and while it continued to fill research roles through 2013, it is unlikely that research headcount grew at the same pace as its sales team.

Client retention & contract value

Client retention is a critical metric for analyst firms – as it is for many sales organisations – because it’s generally easier to renew & increase an existing contract than to sign a new client. Generally, these are calculated on 12-month rolling averages, and we’re assuming that Gartner & Forrester use similar approaches, despite slightly different terminology.

Gartner reported a 82 per cent retention rate in terms of total client numbers, compared with 73 per cent for Forrester, while Gartner claimed a 98 per cent wallet retention rate, compared with 86 per cent in dollars for Forrester.

For Gartner, year-on-year contract value grew 12 per cent to $1.423 billion, while Forrester’s agreement value declined 2 per cent to $US216.5 million.

Outlook & areas of concern

Both Gartner & Forrester appeared reasonably bullish about 2014, despite the different target growth rates. For Forrester, 2013 was impacted by weakness in Europe due to economic issues & client restructuring, while Gartner highlighted the US federal government and government in some parts of Europe as areas of softness last year. While no major improvement in government spending is expected this year, neither firm flagged it as likely to have any deeper impact in 2014.

Forrester went into 2013 on the back of a weak year characterised by poor sales execution, and set itself some modest goals as it set about correcting those problems. Delivering against its guidance, it has proven that it can execute against a plan, so can be expected to do that again in 2014 if it continues to focus its efforts on the areas which will grow its top & bottom lines.

Gartner went into 2013 on the back of a strong year, with all its ducks in a row. It’s in pretty much the same position as we go into 2014, and has a pretty strong track record of executing against its plans.

In 2010, Gartner was just over five times bigger than Forrester, but based on 2013 revenues, Gartner is now six times the size of its closest competitor. With a significant margin between the growth forecasts of these two firms and barring any major changes in the market, we can expect this delta to increase this year, and probably beyond that.

So long as Gartner bets big in terms of investment in its sales & research headcount and the growth targets it sets itself, as well as playing those cards sagely, it will continue to outperform not only Forrester, but many of the smaller firms which follow it in the revenue rankings. This might be good for Gartner, but whether it’s good for the technology research & advisory business overall is open to debate.

What do you think?

Cheers,

Dave

10 things I’ve learned about AR & the analyst business – and that you should know too…

It’s that time of year when just about everyone in the analyst business and the broader technology industry comes up with their prognostications and predictions for the year ahead. Inevitably, many of those will prove wildly inaccurate, overly optimistic or simply embarrassing.

So rather than fall into that trap, I decided to cast my mind back and consider what I have learned about analyst relations and the analyst business in APJ over 10 years of running the only independent AR consultancy in the region (that milestone ticked over in November), working with dozens of vendor clients and engaging with hundreds of analysts.

Here’s my list. I’ve written about some of these issues before at length – you’ll find more detail on previous posts. And while I’ve thought a bit about the rankings, this is just my perspective. Don’t be afraid to give me your thoughts.

1.         It’s the relationship, stupid

AR is all about creating a two-way dialogue between a vendor and an analyst. Relationship builders take the time to understand the analyst’s interests & needs, and personalise the engagement accordingly, but they’re also pretty good at creating internal executive support for AR, which is when the magic happens. A good relationship builder with a weak story and/or content will mostly do better than an average engager with great content

2.         Most analysts are decent human beings

Yes, some are arrogant, anally-retentive or just downright difficult, but 99% of the time they’re trying to do the right thing for their clients. An engagement approach that recognises this can turn an adversary into an advocate. Analysts also need to have some relationship skills, and dickheads just don’t last.

3.         Vendors will continue to under-invest in APJ

I’ve written about this before, and sadly it’s just a reality of the technology business in this region – it applies as much to overall marketing & sales investment as it does specifically to AR. Vendors have a poor track record of making decisions at HQ which don’t take into account the growth & needs in emerging markets, and the current global economic situation isn’t going to change that. (But reading the goat entrails available to me, I feel cautiously optimistic that the needle is swinging back a little in 2013, after a very lacklustre 2012).

4.         Many vendors just don’t “get” AR – nor do some analysts

Some vendors will never “get” AR, simply because they don’t try to understand the value that analysts provide, or how they are differentiated from other influence communities. Their loss. On the flip side, some analysts fail to see that most AR professionals are advocates for analysts, not gatekeepers – despite all the evidence to contrary. It’s not a perfect world…

5.         Analyst targeting is the most important element of any AR program

Full stop. Understanding your audience is the cornerstone of any marketing or influence program, and AR is no different. Targeting is the first step, tiering is the second, engagement approach follows. All analysts have different needs & require different approaches, regardless of their prioritisation.

6.         Influence is global/regional, but engagement is local

Many analysts engage with clients right across the world, not just in their home countries or cities, and it’s important to understand where individual analysts have impact. But it’s much more important to engage with analysts in their own timezones. Regardless of how you manage that, you can’t assume that information will trickle down to an influential analyst who’s sleeping when you decide to run a briefing.

7.         Training spokespeople to engage with analysts is a no-brainer

Why wouldn’t you want to give your executives the best possible preparation for engaging with key influencers? Dealing with analysts is not that complex, but it is not innate, and spending a few hours upfront demystifying the analyst business yields immediate benefits and also avoids embarrassing outcomes.

8.         Measuring results is critical to AR success

You might consider this a bit self-serving, considering I provide a measurement program, but really – if you’re not measuring what you’re doing, then what are you doing? Don’t try to measure everything, and focus on measuring where you’ve actually influenced analyst perceptions – this is where you’ll demonstrate value to your internal stakeholders (and holders of the purse-strings).

9.         Some vendors will continue to confuse running analyst summits with an AR program

Sad, but true. An analyst summit is a one or two-day event which provides the opportunity to showcase your key messages, introduce some key customers, dig into some nitty-gritty around technology or go-to-market strategy, and develop relationships between key executives and analysts. An AR program is a day-to-day interaction process which ensures that analysts get the information they need, when they need it – and ensures those relationships prosper. To do the first without the second is a waste of time, effort & money.

10.       Change in the analyst landscape is a natural state

It is for every other business, so why not analysts? Firms will continue to grow & prosper. Some will be acquired because they offer something different, others because they have lost focus but retain analyst value and/or an interesting client base. Analysts will continue to become disgruntled with their employers, then quit to explore new markets, business approaches and delivery models. And so the cycle continues…

Just one more thing, which doesn’t require a number of its own…

In 2013, doing AR will continue to be fun/challenging/rewarding/ frustrating/boring/exciting/bloody hard work/just a breeze… Pick your adjective – it will be all of the above, and more, but the one thing I hope is that for AR pros and analysts alike : it will be worthwhile!! And fun, of course…

So tell me what you think. Have I missed anything? Would you rank these points differently?

Cheers,

Dave

Constellation adds an Aussie analyst to lead digital marketing transformation

Constellation Research has added to its research portfolio with the appointment of an Australian digital media veteran to lead its coverage of digital marketing transformation, a new research theme which again shifts focus away from traditional IT purchasers and on to business buyers. And while it’s easy to look at this as a regional/local appointment, it’s really a global story.

Based in Sydney, Gavin Heaton was for five years the leader of social media engagement for SAP’s Premier Customer Network, a CEO peer group encompassing 300 of the software vendor’s most strategic global accounts – not surprisingly, few of these customers are located in the southern hemisphere.

Heaton has an extensive IT and marketing background, having worked with IBM Global Services and DMR Consulting, an Australian services firm acquired by Fujitsu, and then as director of interactive with marketing agency Creata, where he lead the global digital strategy for McDonalds.

He also walks the talk. Heaton is a prolific tweeter and blogger – his Servant Of Chaos blog is one of most-read business sites in Australia and a source of constantly-updated insights into what’s happening in social media, digital strategy and related business issues. He is also a passionate advocate of crowd-sourcing, micro-financing and other community-based, social media-enabled processes.

The appointment of a single analyst is not news in itself – this brings Constellation’s roster to just 13 – rather another data point in the ongoing discussion about the changing roles and focus of the analyst business. In the IIAR APJ Forum on new & emerging analyst firm business models a couple of weeks ago, Constellation founder Ray Wang talked about the firm’s focus away from traditional IT purchasers.

“We’re focused on business needs and business challenges – we’re not focused on technologies, or roles, or markets… we’re targeting people who are buying from the business side, not IT,” he said.

According to Constellation’s press release on the appointment of Heaton, his research will focus “on the changing role and expectations of CMOs, the fusion of marketing channels and change-driven marketing innovation, [and] expand Constellation’s ability to provide digital marketing research and advisory services to its early adopter clients worldwide.”

In a blog post discussing his new role, Heaton continued the theme of disruption in IT spending. “There is no doubt that we are seeing a dramatic shift in the role of marketing. Advertising is under pressure, social is changing our customer relationships and the consumerisation of IT is changing the way we do our work. There has never been so much change or opportunity…” he wrote.

From an AR perspective, this trend is a challenging one. While traditional analyst firms have fairly clearly focused on influencing purchasing through IT departments (or working directly with vendors), the business buyers are a little less obvious. Vendor salesforces don’t necessarily target business buyers – yes, some do, but many don’t – which makes aligning AR to sales a much tougher proposition.

Social media influence on enterprise IT buyers of any stripe is also still unresolved, but it’s a trend that AR pros cannot ignore. Once again, though, the level of focus that AR should apply to this channel is unresolved, and varies considerably depending on the product/solution portfolio.

It’s the speed of movement – not necessarily change – in this space that makes it both interesting and challenging. Current information and insight has more value than research published only a few months ago, but it doesn’t always make it more correct. (Though I must give Gavin Heaton a thumbs-up in that respect – his Twitter, LinkedIn and Servant of Chaos bios were all updated within hours – if not minutes – of this announcement).

It’s a bit lame not to come to a solid conclusion with a piece like this, but this is still an evolving space. AR pros need to watch, listen & learn and – picking up a few tips from the analysts driving the agenda here – engage outside the traditional IT purchasing silos.

And ask questions of these new firms and new analysts. And ask questions of your peers – that’s what these platforms are all about.

cheers,

Dave

Is AR really considered strategic in APJ?

That’s a pretty scary question for me to ask, when I spend many of my working hours pitching the strategic value of AR to ICT vendors and service providers of all shapes and sizes. It’s a question posed partly out of frustration, but mostly out of curiosity.

As with many of these things, it took a single event to trigger broader consideration of the state of AR across APJ, and how this marketing discipline is truly regarded by vendors.

The trigger was a phone call from the regional AR lead for a large multinational vendor telling me she was leaving – this week – to take on a bigger, more challenging role with another vendor. Not unusual, this happens all the time – personnel turnover is just part & parcel of the IT business – but it left me wondering, what happens now?

Out of respect for the individual and the company she most recently worked for, I’m not going to name names, though many folks reading this will know who I’m talking about. She’d be embarrassed to hear it, but her departure will leave a gaping hole in the marketing communication function within the vendor concerned, though there are several others who contribute positively to the AR program in various ways.

Without doubt, this individual is one of the savviest AR professionals I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve worked with her on several projects at a couple of different vendors. She is held in high regard by all the analysts in the region who matter – and many who don’t – as well as by her internal stakeholders and spokespeople. She “gets” the strategic value of AR, and is a passionate advocate of leveraging AR to influence sales.

When she took on the role of AR lead at this vendor, the APJ AR program had been in hiatus for over a year. It was performing poorly in our AR perception study, Understanding the Influencers, but over a couple of years she was able to bring it back into the leadership groups in the market segments where it competed.

 In praise of “AR heroes”

But this isn’t a story about this individual or the company she worked for. It’s not a criticism of that vendor, or the other folks who contributed to the AR program – it’s about the bigger picture of AR in the APJ region. She is just one of a handful of “AR heroes” who lead the profession in this region, who apply their passion and organisational skills to deliver great results for their employers, despite having far fewer resources at their disposal than their peers in other parts of the world.

And this is pretty much the nub of the issue. Vendors continue to under-invest in AR in the APJ region, though they have some great champions who punch above their weight. I’ve seen this scenario before, and sadly, I think I will again.

In most cases, vendor AR programs in this region are driven by single individuals, some of whom juggle their AR responsibilities with other disciplines such as PR or market intelligence. They are generally supported by other marcomms professionals to a greater or lesser degree, as they should be – they’re generally engaging with analysts in at least six of the 13 or more countries included in their sales territory.

When one of those individuals leaves a vendor, so too does much of the knowledge built up about the analysts & which ones are the most important, which areas they focus on, how they like to engage with the vendor, and much, much more.  Rarely is there any succession planning, so the search for a replacement often starts with a blank sheet of paper and a long lead time.

In the meantime, the AR program slowly grinds to a crawl, if not a complete halt. Analysts are demanding individuals – when they’re being looked after, they’re happy, but when the information flow dries up, they can become difficult. They become reluctant to recommend vendors & solutions to their clients, because they’re not sure they have the latest insights & information.

Different strokes for different folks

This situation wouldn’t be tolerated at “headquarters”, but it’s situation normal in APJ. Why do vendors continue to under-invest in AR in APJ? Is it that they don’t consider AR strategic? Or that they don’t consider the APJ markets important? Or both?

Maybe it’s because vendors tend to apply standard frameworks across the world, regardless of the local market conditions. One analyst whose opinions I respect – located in APJ but supporting clients worldwide – has repeatedly told me over the years that most vendors regard APJ as a sales territory, therefore not requiring any depth in product management or marketing. Another – who also has extensive regional marketing experience – has often lamented that there is no correlation between regional marketing budgets (low) and regional sales targets (high).

I’ve certainly seen plenty of these situations – global marketing budget cuts of 10% imposed universally, including in countries growing sales at +100% each quarter! Global headcount freezes placing regional AR requisitions on hold indefinitely, despite “exceptional circumstances” bypassing the rules back at headquarters. The list goes on…

As I noted in my earlier post Why do AR in APJ? this region is home to two of the fastest growing economies in the world – China & India – which are buying technology at unprecedented rates, high growth markets in ASEAN, and more mature but technology-hungry markets such as Australia and Japan.

Certainly, it makes sense for vendors to invest in sales resources to service these markets, but doesn’t marketing pave the way for sales? Doesn’t it make sense to invest in marketing – and in AR specifically – to educate, inform and influence those sales prospects?

Personally, I’d like to see this role replaced with another “AR hero” within 2-3 months, but there ain’t that many of them, and only time will tell.

What do you think? Why don’t vendors invest in AR in APJ? Are “AR heroes” the best answer? I’d love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or disagree.

Cheers,

Dave

Did the earth move for you? No, but the landscape changed…

Like the technology market it supports, the industry analyst business is in a constant state of movement. There is always a new technology to observe & analyse, a new geographic market emerging, a new way of delivering research, new analysts deciding they can do a better job than the incumbents – this in itself is nothing new.

But when you live in a relatively niche market like analyst relations every working day – as I do – you sometimes focus more on the tactical, day-to-day shifts and spend less time thinking about the big picture, and the change that’s taking place over time.

This point came home to me this week when I was co-hosting an Institute of Industry Analyst Relations webinar with my mate and occasional business partner Bill Hopkins, the founder & CEO of KCG. While we sometimes disagree on the detail, Bill & I share a similar “world view” of the analyst & AR businesses. We’ve both worked in AR for well over a decade, we’ve both worked as analysts – though at different firms – and we’ve both spent a long time working in the technology business.

The topic of the webinar was KCG’s Global Analyst Landscape update, with me providing the Asia/Pacific & Japan perspective. There are many differences in the way the analyst landscape looks at a global level and the way it looks in APJ, with some firms actually using different business models in different parts of the world. But there are similarities too.

Some things don’t change

At the global level, it’s interesting to see that the breakdown between sell-side (vendor) revenue and buy-side (end-user) revenue has remained reasonably constant over the past five years at about two-thirds/one-third. But the growth in buy-side revenue last year was about twice that of sell-side revenue.

The other constant was the share of total revenue enjoyed by the Big 3 – Gartner, IDC & Forrester – remains at 56 per cent, about the same as it was five years ago.

Outside of the top players, there are probably another 350 firms slicing up less than half the market between them. Some of those firms are relatively sizable, most are quite small. Some of them cover a range of technology markets, the majority are quite focused. Some of them have a presence in multiple countries, the majority are confined to the US or one or two European countries.

One of the most visible trends over the past few years has been the gradual thinning of the middle layer. Small firms come and go – particularly when analysts leave the big firms, voluntarily or otherwise. But the number of midsize firms has continued to shrink, as the larger firms have acquired competitors before they’ve gained sufficient scale to seriously challenge them.

Asia/Pacific – same/same but different

While it’s impossible to get accurate regional revenue breakdowns, anecdotal evidence would suggest a similar pattern in APJ. Certainly Gartner & IDC are the dominant players in APJ, Forrester less so despite its acquisition of Springboard Research last year.

Certainly there has been a significant growth in buy-side revenues as Gartner has expanded its sales teams in growth markets such as India and China, as IDC has grown its Insights business, and as other firms have capitalised on the increasing appetite for technology advisory in both mature and emerging economies.

And the thinning of the middle layer has been evident in APJ too. Certainly some of the midsize players have a solid presence – Ovum, Frost & Sullivan, AMI Partners have multiple offices, for example – but others have scaled back their APJ activities in recent years.

Gartner’s recent acquisition of Ideas International (still to be finalised) removes the only regional firm which arguably was a global player, with reasonable analyst teams in Australia, the US and the UK. Forrester’s acquisition of Springboard in May last year removed the only organically-grown pan-regional firm.

Nearly all the other firms which have a notable presence on the APJ analyst landscape are primarily focused on their domestic markets. There are firms such as IBRS, Longhaus & Telsyte in Australia; CCID, CCW & Analysys International in China; ITR & Nork Research in Japan; and CyberMedia Research in India, which for 23 years was the IDC licensee on the sub-continent. Yes, some of these firms may stray into regional markets, but the bulk of their research and revenue is driven from their home markets.

I noted in one of my first posts that while technology might be global, influence and insight are local. For that reason, we can expect that many of these local firms will survive and even thrive. Will any of them expand sufficiently to become pan-regional or even global players? That remains to be seen.

What is clear, though, is that AR remains multi-layered. Any AR program that wants to have impact has to engage at a global, regional and country level. That isn’t always easy, but that’s the way you support sales teams and influence purchasing decisions.

Cheers,

Dave

Inside the black art of analyst targeting & tiering

In my last post, I concluded that analyst targeting isn’t evil, just necessary. So why continue with the necromancy theme?

Because targeting & tiering is a black art – it’s part knowledge, part experience, part intuition. It can be taught, but it’s certainly not a science. Targeting is a process, and like any process, it has a series of steps.

 Topic triage

This is the easy part. There are thousands of analysts worldwide, but you want to exclude those that have no relevance to you. The simplest way is to develop a short list of keywords which are relevant to your business. Say you sell CRM software that includes some business analytics capabilities, then you might choose “CRM”, “salesforce automation” and “business intelligence” as your keywords. If you have tailored solutions for specific industries, you might add “government” and “supply chain” into the mix. If you have a cloud-based delivery model, you might want to add “SaaS”, for example.

But don’t get carried away with too many because you’ll spread your net too wide. If a solution accounts for only a small percentage of your business and isn’t a growth or focus area, ignore it. Be careful not to get too specific with your keywords – unless you’re looking for deep insight in a narrow field – or you run the risk of screening out everyone.

AR program objectives

This is the definition part. What are you trying to achieve with your AR program? Are you trying to build market awareness, what my colleagues at KCG call exposure? Or are you trying to reach analysts who have direct influence over technology purchasing decisions? Do you want to engage with market or technical experts who can help you with your competitive positioning? Are you looking for firms who’ll produce sales collateral for you? Whichever way you plan to go, you need to understand your goals and align accordingly.

 Research, research, research

This is the time-consuming part. Whether you’ve got access to a commercial database such as ARInsights’ ARchitect or an internal analyst list, you’re going to need to add to your knowledge before tiering your analysts. Use your keywords to narrow your search. Most analyst firms publish analyst bios on their websites, and most allow you to search at least the titles of research they’ve written. The quality of this information – and its usefulness – varies considerably, but it’s stuff you need to know. Look more broadly – at LinkedIn profiles, social media usage, media articles they’re quoted in, conferences they’ve presented at and whatever else you can turn up. Learn from it, but don’t take it as gospel.

 Evaluate

This is the interesting part. As part of the process of defining your AR program objectives, you made some decisions – consciously or otherwise – about the type/s of analysts you want to engage with. This means that certain analyst behaviours and characteristics are more important to you than others, and you need to weight them accordingly. If you care about direct user influence, then analysts with large end-user enquiry loads will be more important; if you want to drive media exposure, you’re going to value media-hungry analysts higher; if you believe strongly in the power of social media, you’ll be looking more closely at the Twitter junkies.

Pick your criteria – usually five to six is enough – and evaluate your analysts accordingly. Rate them, rank them, throw darts at them – how you do it is up to you. Most AR pros use a spreadsheet or database to enable sorting & searching, but one of my clients has me mapping analysts onto a Boston Consulting Group chart (think Gartner’s Magic Quadrant framework) which is a remarkably powerful way of visualising analyst value, particularly when educating senior executives.

Some analysts will naturally float to the top, but most won’t.

Experience & intuition

This is the fun part. What you have so far is lots of information. What you don’t have is clear answers about which analysts are really the most important and influential.

Most of the information you have at this stage is flawed or incomplete. Boilerplate bios on analyst websites tell you what the analyst thought s/he covered when s/he started the job, not what s/he actually does now; LinkedIn profiles are bloated with self-serving achievements and vague references; published research titles give some insight into coverage, but not much about depth of domain knowledge.

There is no substitute for experience. And applying it to the information you’ve gathered is where the science turns to art.

Over the years, I’ve engaged with hundreds of analysts. Some have worked with me; a few were clients before they became analysts; many have attended briefings I’ve organised; others have participated in interviews for my AR measurement processes; with too many to count, I’ve shared meals, coffees & drinks in cafes, hotels, airport lounges, breakout rooms, and everywhere in between.

During those interactions, we’ve learned much about each other, and developed trust in many cases. It is the insights from those interactions that I’m able to apply to the tiering process – knowing the types of clients they really work with, what their workload looks like, the way they engage with senior executives, the types of questions they ask, the depth of their domain knowledge and so much more.

Quite simply, I’m more comfortable making a judgment call about an analyst I know well than one I don’t. But what if I don’t know the analyst? Well, experience & intuition still have a role.

You need to be able to read between the lines. Simple things like analyst titles, reporting lines, co-authors, media profiles all tell a story, but you need to know what you’re looking at. So all that information that I said was flawed or incomplete still has a value, if only you know how to interpret all the different pieces.

To target & tier effectively, you need to make judgment calls, and that only comes with experience. You can’t teach it, but you can learn it.

But what do you think?

Cheers,

Dave

Analyst targeting isn’t evil – it’s just segmentation

Many times over the years – usually over beers – my conversations with analysts have turned to how and why AR professionals choose to work with some analysts, but not others.

Most of them take it personally if they’re not considered “Tier 1” by all and sundry, but the fact is that most of them don’t understand the rigorous processes that many AR pros use to assess the influence and importance of analysts. Many analysts don’t understand their own value propositions either, but that’s the topic for a discussion on another day.

Analyst targeting & tiering is the foundation stone of any AR program. If you don’t understand who your audience is & why you’re talking to them, then frankly, you’re just wasting your time.

Of course, lots of other issues come into play – like resourcing & budgeting & reach & content & more. But when you’re building an AR program, you always have to start with the who & the why.

Why target?

Vendors sell products, solutions & services. Some sell a wider range than others, but at the end of the day, they’re only of interest to some people, not everybody. If you sell soft drink, you can take out ads on television & the web and pretty much reach your target market (backed up with some clever social media campaigns that enhance the impact of your key influencers).

If you sell technology, your market is more limited. And if you sell a specific type of technology, then your market narrows even more. So does the number of observers, analysts & commentators who care about your product/solution/service.

Targeting is first and foremost about identifying analysts who are interested in what you sell. Why engage with people who don’t care about what you do?

 Why tier?

All analysts are not equal, nor do they all do the same thing. Neither are journalists, or indeed customers. Marketing is all about segmentation, so it constantly amazes me that vendors dump analysts into a single bucket, when they’d never do the same with journalists or even media outlets. (It also constantly amazes me that some vendors dump analysts and journalists into the same bucket – and expect the same outcomes – but if they’re doing that, they don’t understand PR or AR!)

Would you treat the senior technology writer from a national business daily read by A & B demographics the same as the editor of a monthly publication that focuses on a particular technology segment? Of course not! Would you tell them the same stories? Probably not. Would you expect different outcomes? I hope so.

So if targeting is all about defining your audience, tiering is simply about evaluating the importance of the various members of that audience.

 How do you go about targeting & tiering?

Like many things, that depends on who you are and what you’re trying to achieve. I’ll save a detailed discussion about targeting & tiering approaches for another post, but in short, it all comes down to what you want to achieve.

If you want to use analysts to help build your credibility with end-users who purchase your solutions, then you’re going to target one group of analysts, some of whom will share similar characteristics, many of whom won’t. If you want to use analysts to help improve your positioning in signature “market landscape” research, then you’re going to target another group; and if you want to use analysts to help build market awareness by writing about your solutions or talking to the media or conference audiences about you, then you’re looking at another group again.

If you want to do all of these things – and many vendors do – targeting & tiering becomes even more important, because you simply won’t have the resources and bandwidth to achieve all of these objectives equally, or even effectively.

So targeting & tiering is all about compromise, but in a positive way. It’s about focusing on which analysts are going to give you the best outcomes, depending on how your objectives are prioritised.

I’ll get into the detail of the tiering & targeting process in another post, but I’d love to hear your views in the meantime. Is analyst targeting evil, or just common sense?

Cheers,

Dave

Why do AR in APJ?

Anyone involved in the analyst relations business knows that it’s a tough concept to explain – even savvy marketers who’ve worked in the technology business for years find it difficult to believe or understand that there is actually a job which involves providing a bridge between industry analysts & technology vendors. Or a need…

So when I begin a conversation with an AR neophyte, there’s usually three questions in order:

  •  What is AR?
  • Why do AR?
  • Why do AR in Asia/Pacific?

I’m assuming that anyone who’s read this far is already across the first two questions, so I what I really want to discuss is the third – why is it important to do analyst relations in the Asia/Pacific & Japan region?

 Influence is local

Regardless of the greater level of technical/domain knowledge that might exist among analysts in the northern hemisphere, IT decision-makers ultimately rely on their peers. Those peers may be connected at a social, commercial or academic level, but they are primarily “local.” We trust people we know. Depending on the country, analysts will move up or down the scale, but they will always offer something “outsiders” can’t.

 Context is local

Technology may be global, but go-to-market is local. How well a vendor delivers can only be determined at a local level. “Ability to execute” is generally measured at a global level, but there can be a multitude of issues which impact in any given country – and a “local” analyst will be more aware of them than the domain knowledge expert sitting in corporate headquarters or his home office who spends much of his time doing enquiries in his own timezone.

 Information silos are universal

Analysts love to interact & exchange ideas with their peers, and most analyst firms are structured to enable that. But they’re not structured to simply disseminate information across their technology focus areas or geographically. When analysts get together, they exchange ideas, not the latest product briefing they received. Oh, and by the way, not all analysts work for global firms…

Global thought leaders live anywhere

Within the largest analyst firms, their global thought leaders might live anywhere in the world, and outside of those firms, others punch above their weight beyond their local markets. They don’t get out of bed at 2am for vendor briefings, so if you don’t engage with them locally, you miss the opportunity to inform, educate & update them.

 Insight is local

Not all analysts are good – that’s as true for our profession as any other. But most local analysts will be able to provide good insights into the behaviours & dynamics of their local markets. Dialogue & discussion is part of the analyst engagement “game.” Why not take advantage of that?

 This is where the growth is

China, India – two of the world’s largest & fastest growing economies. They are generally unsophisticated buyers of technology, but they’re getting sharper. They’re not historically comfortable with paying external advisors, but they’re starting to understand the value of that. Collectively, Gartner, Forrester & IDC have probably employed more analysts in these countries than anywhere else in the world in the past couple of years. Plus the local & regional firms are growing at similar rates. By they way, those same firms have spent a lot of time & money building up their local sales teams, and consequently their local customer bases. Do you want to ignore that?

 Bottom line

Some – not all – analysts in APJ have influence on how & why your customers make buying decisions, and that influence is growing. Increasingly, they are working with their global domain knowledge expert colleagues to provide detailed & insightful advice to their local customers. They are not in all of your deals, but they are in some of them – and generally they’re in the ones that you really want to win.

I know the AR game in APJ well, but I don’t pretend to have all the answers. What have I missed? What else do you need to know about why you should be doing AR in APJ? I look forward to your feedback & questions.

Cheers,

Dave