Participation has doubled in the Analyst Value Survey this year, with seven responses for every three last year and an excellent geographical spread across the developed world. As the survey’s impact grows, we get a lot of feedback on how to improve it. We find that analysts have especially useful feedback and, indeed, I had lunch with Clive Longbottom today to get some great ideas on how to present the results this year and how to use branching in the survey next year.
Today we sent out a reminder to take the survey to some thousands of contact in Panalyst, our database of analysts’ users, and of course we got some comments back from people. It’s worth commenting on a few of the points they raised.
Because there’s nothing we can do to prevent the survey link getting to people who are not users of analysts’ services, we include some filter questions in the survey: if you tell us that you don’t use analysts, or that you work for an analyst firm, then of course we won’t use your responses. These filter questions confuse some people: why, they ask us, do we want the opinions of analysts of those who don’t use them. Of course we don’t (although their responses tell us something, like what analysts think of their peers, or what perception of analyst firms is like among non-users); we are simply filtering those comments out.
The survey aims to find the most valuable analyst firms, and that’s why we’re focused on the 100 or so most notable analyst firms. Sadly, we can’t list all 800, or even 100, on the survey and seriously expect that hundreds of people will take it. That would push the survey competition time well over 15 minutes, and we’d get far fewer completions. Instead, the survey asks initially about 67 analyst firms and adds an “Other” option so people can add in another firm. We also ask people which of 40 firms we should consider adding next year, which draws heavily on the “other’ responses from the previous surveys. Each year we are refining the top list to make sure we have all the major analyst firms and the most notable upstarts. There are some great firms in that top 100 but, to be honest, our reasonable assumption is if you are not in the top 100 then you are not the most valuable analyst firm. Right now we’re planning to segment the firms; one set of charts to show the leading 30 firms, including Gartner, HfS Research and NelsonHall; a second set to show the challenger 30 that follow, like Info-Tech, capioIT and Hypatia; the remaining firms, like Tekplus, Select and IBRS, are probably best discussed in a more qualitative way.
The qualitative analysis will be quite demanding, as we recently hinted. There’s a great opportunity to show more granularity about which services are most highly valued by whom. Although it’s certainly challenging to unpack the value in subscription bundles, we are getting there, but next year we should look into more forms of value, perhaps including social media and multimedia.