Do layoffs at 451 Research reflect lower value?

News of a reduction in force at 451 Research (eight analysts and a handful of other staff are affected) will have analyst relations managers looking to see which analysts are affected. The smartest AR professionals will be asking their favourite analysts firms to reach out to their closest analysts at 451 and Uptime (especially those focussed on solutions which are not in 451’s growth areas). The real losers are 451’s clients (again, especially with needs outside 451’s growth areas).

Despite this reduction, 451 will remain one of the most influential firms around. It’s tight connections to privately-held firms are especially important. However, the writing is on the wall: things will get worse before they get better (in the areas where 451 is scaling back or replacing experienced analysts with new analysts). 451 fell in February’s Strategy Analyst Firm Awards and, even more dangerously in last month’s IoT Analyst Firm Awards [IoT is the hottest topic for 451 users]. 451 has a strong record in delivering value to people on the supply-side, especially in North America, but there seem to be weakening perceptions about the independence of its research (according to the Analyst Value Survey). 451 has struggled further not only to internationalize, but also to create more emotional value for clients through better events, peer networking (something which could be addressed through the purchase of Wisegate), and more and proactive support for lead generation for its clients.

451 certainly know how to get a lot of that right. Its events are too few, but they can be excellent (and 451 increasingly takes advantage of events and webinars organized by partners). This reduction in force can be a step forward if it frees up resources to be focussed on value creation for clients.

PS: Comments have been added to this post (in round brackets) following an update from 451. Look out on their blog for more.

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2 thoughts on “Do layoffs at 451 Research reflect lower value?

  • Duncan, my answer to your provocative blog post title is no, I don’t think layoffs mean lower value at 451 Research. It’s way too premature to dramatically sound the alarm on 451 Research. It has impressed me as being one of the hungrier analyst firms in recent years, making acquisitions, launching new products, and adding analysts when most analyst firms have been stagnant or cutting back. A handful of layoffs doesn’t mean the sky is falling. Smart AR professionals shouldn’t be asking other analyst firms to nakedly recruit 451 analysts (unless they want to work for Gartner, there aren’t that many firms in big growth mode anyway). Smart AR professionals should be checking to see if their favorite analysts at 451 Research are still there, giving them reassurance they are supporting them. I think you underestimate how much support 451 Research has in the AR community.

    • Thanks for your comment Peggy. Like you, I don’t think the sky is falling at 451 Research. I think you’ll agree with my point that if AR people have top analysts in teams where 451 has been cutting back, for example networks, then it’s a great idea to help affected analysts to transition. Eight analysts were laid off, and a similar number have gone over the last year. It’s very useful for AR people if they don’t lose the time invested in them by making sure they can transition into other firms. There’s more space in analyst firms than the pro-active highing suggests. A lot of firms are open to top talent that can easily pay for itself. I like 451, and I appreciate its research. But I also see those good relationships with AR are no substitute for growing value faster than the competition.

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