I see IDC as just part of the M&A process

The April Fool’s posts from the IIAR and this blog about the future sale of IDC showed more than levity. The changing dynamics of analyst value are producing big shifts in the ways in which analyst insight is consumed, and the growing understanding of the role of business development is also channeling and constraining the growth and mergers of analyst firms.

It’s been ten years since we first wrote about the Analyst Cycle, the process by which new firms are created by star analysts from larger firms, which then gather up smaller firms and then themselves have new firms spun out from them. The aftermath of the 2009 credit crunch, when AMR and Burton disappeared, produced a spike of activity. Now there’s another process underway.

Since joining the analyst industry in the 1990s, I’ve never seen a more dynamic market for the merger and acquisition of analyst firms. There’s a huge number of firms in the top 30 which are open for discussions about growth. For the first time, the discussion are not all about research quality.

At last analyst firms are understanding that analyst value isn’t driven only by research. There’s much more interest in looking for complimentary businesses, like events, consulting and membership services. The analyst firm of the future looks more like Brandon Hall Group than like Ovum. Most importantly, there’s more understanding that business development has to be more focused on helping clients to be more successful rather than simply setting them small, medium or large packages of generic research. That’s the strong message from the Analyst Value Survey too.

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