Thanks go to Experton board member Luis Praxmarer, who previously managed META Group in Europe, for sharing his insight on what clients should do when an analyst firm is acquired. While these comments were directed at clients of AMR Research and Burton Group, both bought by Gartner in 2010, the same guidance can apply to any firm.
For the recommendations, I would definitely advise clients to be more pro-active. Otherwise clients “stumble” into the Gartner Service without really reviewing their options.
Our take is, and this is not very different for many M&A Activities:
- 1. Analyze how the company has really used the service, what are the strength and weaknesses, and how does the demand change/expand/diminish within the organization.
- 2. Get the Gartner Rep in and request a clear written statement of how long this exact service will be available (which usually they will not do) and request a positioning how Gartner would otherwise cover the service with their own offerings (including pricing).
- 3. Request a free trial of the Gartner offering for a long enough time to really test it.
- 4. Now compare what you had and what you see with what you have analyzed what your need is. This “need” might be addressed by several other companies in the market. Look at them and include them in the discussion at the right time based on the renewal date and commitment you get from Gartner.
- 5. Now you should be well informed what is out there and what your need is for making the right decision on how to approach the negotiation and contracting. It also gives you time to include the real users if you are the coordinator-interface. Be aware of details in the old Burton contract as well as in Gartner as this could mean a very quick closing of the service. E.g. with the META Group takeover Gartner laid off an entire team and learned later they could not provide the service anymore to the clients. The contract usually protects the client only for the money back for the time he “discovers” the non-service (and only if he negotiates hard). Gartner will try to compensate this with their own offering, and sometimes this might be an OK deal, but if the company requirements are not best fulfilled by Gartner, it is only a second or third best solution.
This is a much more pro-active approach and puts the client in the driver seat. You need to control the timing! Any professional VMO would react in about this manner (if they follow the Best Practice advice).