Burton Group’s IT1 service launches today (see here), just months after Current Analysis announced a partnership with ETIS. Both developments reflect a push by analyst firms to deepen their roots on the buy side. IT1 expands Burton Group’s services for technology buyers and adds in research assistance and advisory programs. Current Analysis, best known for its services for systems manufacturers, is also diversifying its base with services aimed at buyers, including its service for equipment buyers and ETIS partnership.
Burton Group’s service reflects both the ongoing widening of its portfolio and a growing focus on providing tools and methodologies to buyers (a trend also seen at Forrester and Gartner). Pricing will be a major plus-point for Burton, since its enterprise-wide licenses and unlimited analysts access look like great value when stacked up against Gartner’s single-seat model. Previously known for infrastructure and security, Burton’s coverage now spans 40 topic areas, making it more attractive as a first port of call for end-user clients.
Current Analysis’s roots in the highly concentrated telecoms industry makes it a little harder to adapt to end users. The success of its equipment buyer service plus be very pleasing for the firm’s venture capital investors, who might be forgiven for getting tetchy after a decade with little opportunity to exit from their investment, other than the sale of their IT hardware service to NPD. Reading out to end users broadens the firms customer base while reusing existing content. That gives them lower cost to service sales and a more stable revenue base through the period of M&A in their client base.
Other analyst firms should listen and learn from these two firms. Analyst firms have less to gain from some firms through M&A, and that means that recession can be challenging for them. Analysts need diversity in their revenue and they need increased leverage with vendors, whose loyalty as customers of analysts is limited. By building up their base with buyers, these firms gain a valuable end-user perspective on their research, they diversify the options for their business, and they become more compelling as partners for vendors who want to connect with buyers more powerfully.