Peggy O’Neill on Analyst Relations Certification

Last week Peggy O’Neill spoke on a Lighthouse webinar to outline the IIAR’s new Analyst Relations Certification (ARC) prorgramme. As the notes below indicate, the ARC test is a serious contribution to improving the professional standing of analyst relations professionals.

Test has 15 sections. Reviewed by analyst firms, AR consultancies and AR people. It’s tough. People think the hurdle is very high, at 70%. Experienced AR managers are getting around 80%. Not everyone off the street needs to be able to pass the test, which is online.

Lifetime certification. It’s not mandatory, and open to non-members. £100 for the test, and one retake. Taking the test is confidential: passing the test is public knowledge.

It’s basic certification and a criterion for any future advanced certification.

No requirement to prepare. KCG’s competitors don’t want to send clients to KCG.

The study guide and quiz are the right way to start.

KCG were aware; Dave Noble.

KCG test isn’t competitive to the IIAR’s; it’s a specific test on their framework. It’s different. Neither is mandatory. One can be successful manager without either.

There are global questions, so US staff need not have a positive advantage. It’s not sector specific. No querstions about the most influential analysts in your sector.

Over time there could be specific versions, for example for services people to raise the generic certification to a specific industry level. And there could be variations by segment, to ensure people really know what’s going on, for example, in particular industries, geographies or vertical markets.

If you fail, then you can take the whole test again. You can’t just retake the questions you fail. You may get private feedback if you came really close if there’s a particular area where you get especially weak scores. You can retake as often as you want. The IIAR won’t tell you what questions you are getting wrong.

How many people does the IIAR want to qualify? No quota. Right now there’s the time for many people to do it. At the moment, the IIAR can administer the volume itself.

People who have taken both the IIAR and KCG test say that the IIAR test is harder. Perhaps people will have taken the KCG test in the past and seen that it’s about interaction. The IIAR have more questions on nuances, citation policies, research methods and more.

There are some low-hanging fruit. People get caught out by the regional stuff. AR is a global practice and, whereever you are, you need to know the dynamics in the other major regions. You should have an idea of how mature regions are, and who the power players are. We’re all a lot more provincial than we think. A European might not know what the largest IT conference is in Asia; they should know that Gartner and IDC are dominant, that they are present in Asia. Too many people think in-country.

There are so many topics – 15 topics over 120 questions. It won’t kill your score if you’re weak in just one area. You can still pass if you don’t do well in one section.

Vendors might want to work with us to build their own training programmes. Training is optional.

Not clear what would happen if a vendor wanted to personalise a test for its own questions. The IIAR would need to discuss with that. We’d add a layer of their own questions.

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