Informa T&M rebrands as Ovum

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It might look like Informa Telecom & Media (ITM) has been rolled up into Ovum but it’s really the other way around. The IIAR had the best, shortest and first analysis of the news. Over the last year, Ovum’s integrated into ITM through a series of moves very similar to Yankee’s integration into the 451 Group. It has been the case for some years that Ovum was financially and legally part of ITN: the back office functions were tightly integrated before Informa’s Steve Hotham took on the job of finalising the integration. The HR, research and sales organisations were already integrated last year, as they are at 451 with Yankee (where former Ovum MD Brett Azuma oversees research). There are few efficiency savings left.

As Ludovic Leforestier has pointed out on the IIAR blog, the basic outlines of this step have been clear for some time, and there’s little real news. As we explained last year, Informa ate Ovum.

  • The Ovum name is being kept more because it’s a valuable brand in the core telecoms market: the painful reality has been outlined before. It’s much stronger than the Yankee brand, as the Analyst Value Survey has shown. However, as the lack of mention of 451 on the Yankee homepage suggest, buyers of analyst firms won’t want to roll a brand into the parent until the brand premium has gone.
  • There will be little shift towards investment in Ovum, for reasons we have explained. We’ll continue to see the departure of top analysts like Adrian Drozd, Carter Lusher, Jan Dawson, Jonathan Yarmis, and Ian Jacobs, and key staff like sales lead Damien McInerny (now at 451) and marketing lead Rosemary Masterson (now at CEB).
  • That turnover also reflects the culture clash, which now means that few ‘legacy’ Ovum analysts remain.
  • The IIAR also raises a smart question: what does this mean for Ovum’s influence outside telecoms? In Europe, it’s probably still a Tier One firm. But we struggle to see how the IT team will have the same share of mind without a dedicated salesforce and inside an even more telecoms-centred business.

Bottom line: Informa has completed the integration of Ovum into Informa Telecom & Media but, because of the higher value of the Ovum brand, ITM is taking that name.

Question: Can Ovum’s IT team increase its influence in the market?

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2 Comments

  1. Anon April 8, 2014 Reply

    Duncan,
    it’s a matter of combining strengths. Ovum was strong in IT, where ITM had no presence and ITM was stronger in Telecoms & Media, where Ovum had less expertise.

    It was strange having two analyst companies under the same roof, in many cases competing against each other for the same budget. It’s only natural that the two companies have merged and Informa leadership team thought that Ovum is the stronger brand.

    The question is whether the new company manages to grow organically in both IT and telecoms in the long term and produce synergies that result in new business, well above the accumulation of the two companies’ accounts and profits.

    Anonymous.

  2. Duncan April 8, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for the comment. If Ovum’s brand was weaker than Informa in the core telecoms market then I think that the Ovum brand would not be used by the merged organisation. I don’t think there really was much competition, since the sales organisations were already merged. There are few easy opportunities for synergies: the accounting has been integrated for some years already. Considering that Ovum has been easing some analysts out, it seems unlikely that we’ll see the IT business growing faster than the telecoms business.

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