AR Institute focuses on measures, training and representation

The Institute of Industry Analyst Relations met earlier this month to refine its priorities and elect a new managing board. I thought it would be worth sharing some of the outcomes, using some notes by the IIAR’s Secretary, Hannah Kirkman.

Twenty-two of us came to the meeting, at the Dell office, and Stephen England dialled in from Austin. The meeting opened with report-back from three working groups which had prepared thoughts on three key topics.

  1. The Measurement Task Force, convened by Paula Schmidt, discussed different aspects of measurement and monitoring, including how to decide what to measure, segmenting the different AR audiences and determining their influence, and how to decide what AR activity is important and what and how it is recorded, e.g. by implementing a CRM system. It was pointed out that some companies bias their reporting by only tracking positive reports, or not measuring competitor reports. Members also highlighted the importance of synchronising AR with IR and PR. The Task Force also proposed the idea of a grid to measure effort versus impact and discussed with the main group how useful this would be, and how measurable. The Task Force will take this forward in future meetings.
  2. The Training Task Force, which I convened, discussed the goals of training in terms of increasing recognition for the Institute and raising awareness of the value of AR skills for its members. It looked at the different audiences for training, including entry-level and advanced AR practitioners and spokespeople, and different options for delivering IIAR-certified training. Members highlighted that any proposals need to get buy-in from training providers, so it is important that they are circulated to all for input ahead of any decision making. The group recommended carrying out an inventory of current training available in order to identify gaps, for example in advanced AR training. Members mentioned the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, which certifies training and has accredited trainers, as an example that could be copied.
  3. The Analyst Firm Task Force, convened by Irene van der Krol, considered how the IIAR could act on behalf of members to improve communication with the analyst community. The Task Force asked the Forum whether members want the IIAR to represent them in discussions with analyst firms, and it was felt that the membership of the IIAR needs to reach a critical mass before it has the authority to do this. It was highlighted that for global vendors, the IIAR would need the buy-in of the global group to speak on their behalf. Members discussed whether the IIAR could provide a service to individual analysts, for example by connecting them to the appropriate contact at a vendor firm. The IIAR could also act on behalf of members by helping them to communicate internally on a particular issue.

The meeting also agreed some further measures to grow the Institute:

  • The IIAR has suggested convening a meeting at Gartner Symposium, which should be an excellent way for us to collect more information about what AR professionals might want our Institute to do for them.
  • A web designer has been appointed to develop a website for the IIAR and this is expected to be delivered within the next month. The new website will offer members a number of services, including a secure discussion forum, a resource library on key topics such as best practice and training, industry news and information on job vacancies.
  • Nominations for the Board of the IIAR were discussed and agreed. The three acting members of the Board (Duncan Chapple of Lighthouse AR, Paul Collier of Dell, and Ludovic Leforestier of Oracle) all indicated that they were willing to stand again. Two additional members (David Taylor of Cisco and David Rossiter of Sunesis) were added to the board. The title “board” is a piece of English nonsense required by officialdom. It’s not a managerial body; the IIAR’s policies are made only by the members’ meeting. The board exists principally to advise the Institute’s Secretary and to gather together a group of people with lots of contacts who can promote the Institute more widely.

To find out more, sign up for the Institute’s Yahoo Group.

Sep 19, 2006

Duncan Chapple

Duncan Chapple is the preeminent consultant on optimising international analyst relations and the value created by analyst firms. As SageCircle research director, Chapple directs programs that assess and increase the business value of relationships with industry analysts and sourcing advisors.