HfS’ Fersht: Analysts could decline without regulation

Phil Fersht

Many thanks to HfS Research founder Phil Fersht for this reply to our recent post opposing state regulation of analysts.

Duncan – thanks for airing this important issue. It’s become even more relevant over the last year alone, as rogue technology and services “analysts” are increasing on the take from whichever vendor is willing to buy their “influence”. Without some form of regulation, the IT analyst industry could find itself in permanent – and I hate to say terminable – decline, which is what is happening in today’s market.

In reality, regulation is probably impossible – vendor marketeers control most of the analyst industry and they like having the deck stacked in their favour as they know how to play the game. I would argue a more realistic – and effective – strategy would be simply to rebrand these fake analysts as “Vendor Advocates” – let’s just call them what they are.

I think we are all so jaded of seeing people brand themselves as “analysts” when they are not. The technology and services industry is awash with individuals whose only professional activity is flitting from vendor event to vendor event with the sole purpose of writing entirely non-objective puff pieces praising their vendor hosts in exchange for money (or in the hope said vendors will pony up some dough in gratitude).

Now, there is nothing wrong with this, as long as these individuals stop masquerading as “analysts”. I can’t proclaim I am a professional accountant, lawyer or hip-replacement specialist without proving to the world I am trained and can deliver those services adequately, so why should we allow these people to call themselves analysts, when they are not. Do these vendors hire these fake “analysts” to do real strategic work for them? Of course they don’t – they use them as marcomm extensions, and pay them as such. So let’s call them what they are. Vendor Advocates.

Once we can all settle on that term, then we can all stop complaining about their tactics, crying foul when we see their blatant pay-for-play. Once they are officially branded as Vendor Advocates, then they can rent themselves out as much as they like to marketeers willing to buy their services, without having to masquerade as something they are not.

These Vendor Advocates play an important role supporting the industry – as long as they are correctly branded as such,

Let’s keep the conversation going!

Phil.

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