Two dozen people, including eight analysts, have been laid off at IDC. The new alumni include semiconductor analyst IdaRose Sylvester and analysts in a number of areas, including handsets, OSS and billing, and business consulting. This is a modest change for IDC, as we discuss below, but it has some strategic and tactical implications for AR managers.
On the tactical level, firms affected by these changes need to identify which analysts have replaced those laid off, and allocate effort to helping those analysts get up to speed.
Don’t forget about the analysts who are leaving, especially from the viewpoint of competitive intelligence. As we discussed earlier, your competitors hire analysts too. It’s important to understand why vendors hire analysts, and to understand that a firm that hires one analyst might hire two. Of course, it’s never been easier to build your own boutique.
However, it’s very important to think about the people left behind. Layoffs are rarely flagged up well enough or anticipated effectively (Although IDC’s European marketing and media chief is responding well from holiday in Crete). Many analysts, consultants and account managers will feel more anxious as a result, and they will be a little bit more on the defensive. That’s especially tricky for AR managers who want to change minds or make analysts less cautious. Back in the last recession, my colleagues and I worked through a tool kit for communications managers needing to work recession. Over the last year, Recession AR has been one of the topics we’ve discussed the most. Check out our thinking here: and let us know what you think.
That said, what does this mean for IDC? Not much: it’s a loss of 1.4% of its headcount, and primarily represents back office work moving offshore. It leaves the firm with more than 1,000 analysts: many more than Gartner. The departing analysts were in modestly mature areas, and IDC still have ten slots open in the US, and more overseas. We feel that there may be more departures by US-based analysts following more mature, more consolidated markets. At least one IDC analyst Sean Hackett (outsourcing) has already given his notice to take another position, and more may follow.
ighthouse’s take is that this is modest restructuring by IDC which has to be placed in context: its revenue will probably grow 10% this financial year and the firm is rebalancing in order to take advantage of growth opportunities abroad. However, many IDC staff will be acutely touched by the layoffs, and AR managers should anticipate a few difficult weeks.