The Asia Pacific region has some very different dynamics, but it resembles the rest of the world in one clear way: Gartner is the region’s most valuable analyst firm. It delivers one-third of analyst community’s influence on purchasing recommendations, and 24% of all the analyst value gained by users in the region.
Below Gartner is a very long tail, so long that our usual top ten doesn’t make sense this year. We have five clear leaders: Everest, Forrester, Gartner, HfS Research and NelsonHall. Those five share the 2016 Asia Pacific Analyst Firm Awards. After those five is a very tightly-packed dozen: Aberdeen Group, CEB/Tower Group, Celent, Deloitte, Frost & Sullivan, Greyhound, Hackett, IDC, ISG, KMPG, Nucleus and TBR. Unlike the top five, the second tier firms all got at least one zero average score from our survey respondents in the eight types of value asked about in the Analyst Value Survey. They are:-
- Inquiry calls
- Reprint rights
- Advisory / strategy days
- Peer communities
- Business leads
- Purchasing recommendations.
As a group, the second tier of firms is held back most by the inability to deliver valuable advisory and strategy days which, rather than research, is the service valued most highly by users in Asia Pacific. Inquiry services from the second tier were also rated very poorly in the region. That was the key factor in IDC’s surprise placement in the second tier. However, the second tier is delivering decently with events, and many are doing well with reprint rights and delivering business leads.
The fact that advisory insight is more valued than off-the-shelf research might not be surprising, but it has significant implications. My view has always been that analysts can’t fool all the people all the time. It’s perhaps easier to tell the quality of an analyst in a conversation than from reading their research. However, it also means that firms that don’t have core business model centred on independent research can still compete. Deloitte, where I used to work, and Aberdeen Group are good examples. Deloitte produces some research but its advisory services, such as Bersin, are more valuable. Aberdeen is a creator of sponsored content, but it is mostly seen not as a substitute for industry analysis but as a competitor in their market for third-party content.
PS At least two other comments can be made about the results. First, while it’s not clear that India’s GDP growth can continue to outstrip Asia, India is the hub for industry analysis in the region. Unlike China’s hardware-led ICT industry, India not only has English as an official language, but also leads in high-margin markets where intangibles, vision and strategy are more central, and thus the leadership of firms there is more industry analysis. That’s why around three-quarters of the APac respondants to our survey were from India. That leads to the second point: IT services is the biggest market sector, and even telecoms services are being outsourced and delivered as IT services. It’s striking, but perhaps unsurprising, that firms with a strong emphasis on cloud and other IT services did especially well.