Analyst of the Month: Chris Lewis

Each month, Influencer Relations highlights one of the leading analysts in our industry. We ask one of our favorite analysts about their current work, past experiences and how to get the best out of them.


CHRIS LEWIS

BACKGROUND:

Very keen cyclist! Best thing about lockdown has been going out on my tandem! I bubbled with my Aussie mate who is a cyclist and we’ve been going around London!

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH AR?

Was always pushed to do languages and did a degree at uni about computer language. Was invited to work for IVC on a temp contract and started doing work around communications. Gradually extended coverage to network etc and then set up his own business 7-8 years ago to be an independent analyst (prev. worked for Ovum, IVC etc). Now basically an advisor to the telco’s themselves. Runs the event called `the Great Telco Debate’ where people give their perspectives and are pushed to discuss.

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO GET INVOLVED WITH AR?

Interacted with AR people at all the companies, so my channel into Cisco and Nokia, bt etc is through the AR people. Am not a financial analyst, but am a telecoms industry analyst. There’s two issues: how you get info out of those organisations, but from a commercial POV, I works with those people to get work out of them.

WHAT MAKES AN EXCELLENT INDUSTRY ANALYST?

If I think of AR teams Ive come across, you get such a wide variety of people. You need to be inquisitive and want to understand how things work and how they fit into broader context. Analyst companies have slice industry down into smaller pieces to help sell more business. However, he’s finding broad coverage is better because he can put things into context as opposed to analysts who just look at one thing. Have to be really good listener, good writer so they can communicate, helps if they’re a good presenter because some only want to absorb thing in presentations (and you’re often asked to present to clients). need a wide range of skills. Some are just spreadsheet jockeys but the best ones are the ones who have some of everything. Worst ones are the ones obsessed with technology and one tracked. I the telecoms industry you can get bogged sown with how Netflix works etc, but you’ll lose sight of how those businesses actually make money. You can go right down the big rabbit whole and get obsessed with the complexities.

BIGGEST AR HORROR STORY:

When doing a project for a well known telco in Aus and he was in LDN, he was on a call with the guy on the other side at 3am UK time and they didn’t like the results. the guy accused him of fleecing him! They just didn’t like the results that were presented! You have to be careful because you know the results they wanna hear and if the results aren’t that, you have to be careful. Been numerous occasions where he’s presented results and they’ve not been happy with it! Cultural differences: Was presenting results of a research project to a Finnish company and the 2 final slides were observed and recommendations and the room went silent. He said to this guy ‘what’s going on?” and the guy was just reading the slides, but was happy being silent whilst we brits are scared by silent! Also showed evidence to an American company of market shrinking and they argued that the market was actually growing!

HOW IS THE INDUSTRY CHANGING/ HOW HAVE YOU ADAPTED DUE TO COVID-19?

Honestly, the single main difference is just not travelling because the way analysts roadshows works (when he worked at IVC or Ovum) he was travelling every week. Went to Barca in Jan with Cisco and that was the last business trip he made. but should be in in US in June, Barca in Feb etc. Everything has gone on line, and there’s so many events that people expect you to join and you can’t join them all so you have to be picky and choosy. Every vendor and telco have pushed things online, some have tried to move everything online, some have tried to do more. You can’t do everything, downtime away from the webinars is an issue. Because it’s online, people expect you to be able to go to everything and be available all the time. In general, business has carried on as normal with lots of interactions and people still doing work as they were doing before and trying to get papers out and events etc because they still have to promote themselves. It’s psychologically very different in that when you’re travelling you look forward to that downtime and travelling time, whereas now you’re being bombarded from every time so your thinking time is reduced.

WHICH INDUSTRY ANALYSTS SURPRISE YOU?

Brings something different to the table: Dan Bieler (worked with him at Ovum and IVC) and he has financial background so puts things in better context. Dean Bubley, makes him laugh and always taken a contrary decision also has a family background. Lots are very narrow in their background. Martin Newman, he’s good at putting things into context. Tend to like people who share your opinion! Not so much inspired, but it’s a big family. Whilst you compete, he tends to get along with everyone.


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