Using Analyst Written Research: Bad Practices

The IT industry analysts do a good job of researching and analysing the IT industry. Where they often do not do a good job lies in educating their own clients on how to use the research and recommendations. This is critical because analyst clients could end up making wrong decisions about technology and services, putting their companies – and their jobs – at risk. Don’t take written research at face value or view only the research from a single firm.Unfortunately, time-constrained consumers tend to bad practices such as:

  • Using old, out-of-date research about markets, vendors and products. While what constitutes “old” varies with market any research paper more than three months old should be checked to see if it is the most current.
  • Using the recommendations in a research paper without knowing the assumptions used to make those recommendations.
  • Using information or recommendations out-of-context. Most published research papers are part of a series of published materials that provide context to the recommendations that may appear in any single paper. Vendors may also provide an analyst chart or quote in a sales presentation and the entire report should be reviewed.
  • Using generic information that does not necessarily relate to the company’s situation.
  • Using material about a vendor that is from a related but different market coverage.

A good research consumer will review materials from multiple firms for consistency, immediacy, applicability, and relevance and then check with the analyst(s) directly to enhance their understanding.

Pick Up The Phone In ARBottom Line: The most important tool to leverage in using analyst research is the telephone. While the published research is useful, the real value of an analyst subscription lies in being able to talk directly with the analysts to apply the research to your specific situation. Whenever using an analyst to make a product or vendor decision, it is important to set up a series of inquiries validate your perception of the current research.

More questions? Let me know.

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Bram Weerts