IoT Analyst Firm Award 2021 winners announced

Which analysts are most valuable for the Internet of Things?

The 2021 IoT Analyst firms Awards reflect three major changes in how analyst firms are influencing Internet of Things professionals. The Awards, issued by the Analyst Observatory at the University of Edinburgh, and sponsored by CCgroup, show the firms most valued by participants in the Analyst Firm Awards. HFS Research, Everest Group and KMPG’s performance were especially strong in the Analyst Firm Awards. A full report is available with a free subscription to CCgroup’s analyst relations newsletter.
As co-director of the Analyst Observatory, I find the Analyst Value Survey uncovers intriguing differences in how analyst firms are used and, in particular, foregrounds the surprising impact of freemium firms and regional leaders in many coverage areas. A widely held misconception is that the largest analyst firms (IDC, Gartner, and Forrester) either employ most analysts or provide most of the research consumed either on the supply side or the demand side of the business-to-business technology marketplace.

Our study found three groups of analyst firms valued most highly by those users of research who told us that they were consuming analyst output and analyst services relevant to the Internet of Things. We identified three especially notable groups.

Platinum firms: HFS & Everest advance.

Using the 2021 Analyst Value Survey responses, we identified firstly a group that we call platinum firms. The platinum firms are the firms that collectively produce most of the value created for users by the analyst firms. In the IoT segment, these firms are Everest, Gartner, Forrester, HFS and IDC

One slight surprise here is that Forrester Research is far ahead of IDC. Although this was also the situation in the ranking produced by the Observatory for the 2020 Analyst Firm Awards, Forrester Research can produce compelling insight that is highly geared to specific use cases and two managers facing highly concrete challenges. 

The second surprise is HFS overtaking IDC. HFS has been solidly placed among the top analyst firms for several years and has been one of the ten most influential firms identified by the Analyst Firm Awards also for several years. This year we were intrigued to see HFS overtaking IDC. This rise reflects HFS’s freemium model and a partial decline in the relative size of the audience for IDC reprints created through licenced content. In most years, IDC obtains substantial readership through the efforts of vendors who licence IDC research to share with the enterprise market and, consequently, to legitimate their solutions and the business challenges that their solutions aim to resolve. In 2020, the covid-19 pandemic curtailed discretionary spending by many organizations on analysts. As a result, HFS’s freemium model meant that its value to its readership was equal to that of IDC. We note that HFS’s IoT research has also been substantially amplified over the last year by several vendors, including Accenture, Atos, Cognizant, EY, Infosys, and TCS.

Perhaps the most notable change has been Everest Group nudging ahead of ISG over the last year. These firms are undoubtedly close in their readership (although our survey does not show the impact of ISG Research on advisors within ISG). However, Everest Group has expanded its readership, notably by extending its Peak Matrix assessment of IoT providers, looking at IoT services and how they drive operational efficiency, and through more granular research looking at adoption experiences of IoT. Taken together, Everest Group has been able to substantially expand its readership over the last year, undoubtedly aided by the efforts of vendors mentioned in the Peak Matrix. On the other hand, Everest Group’s external audience is quite different from ISG Research: the primary audience for that research are the advisors and consultants who work elsewhere inside ISG. ISG indeed remains influential, but the influence of ISG’s Research is felt primarily through expert users of its research in the wider ISG organization, rather than by end users consuming its research.

Gold firms: Ecosystm enters.

Below the Platinum firms, we define as gold firms those that, when added together with the platinum firms, collectively have around two-thirds of the influence, as shown by the value created by analysts for participants in the Analyst Value Survey. Many of the gold firms this year were the same as in previous years. 451 Research, Deloitte, ISG, and Informa Tech (as Omdia was called) were all part of the top 10 in 2020. Singapore-based Ecosystm made the top-ten for the first time, reflecting higher participation in the AVS from Asia-Pacific.

Hidden Champions like KPMG.

Outside these firms, the Observatory’s research also identified a dozen or so notable firms, which are discussed in the supplementary report available to CCgroup’s Analyst Equity subscribers on June 3rd. KPMG’s position has strengthened notably.

  • ABI Research
  • ARC Advisory Group
  • CCS Insight
  • Frost and Sullivan
  • Futurum Research
  • IoT Analytics
  • KPMG
  • Nelson Hall
  • Moor Insights & Strategy
  • Technology Business Research, Inc. (TBR)
  • teknowlogy PAC
  • Transforma Insights.

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Duncan Chapple

Duncan Chapple is the preeminent consultant on optimising international analyst relations and the value created by analyst firms. As the head of CCgroup's analyst relations team, Chapple directs programs that increase the value of relationships with industry analysts and sourcing advisors.