How AWS, HERE & Huawei overtook the megavendors

The KeaCircle and Analyst Firm Awards, which we’ll present at the Analyst Relations Value Forum on Thursday, will highlight the stunning dynamism of both analyst relations and of the analyst industry itself. Traditional megavendors are not longer at the leading edge for analysts relations, and clients of major analysts firms have more alternatives and are more critical of what they get from Gartner and Forrester.

The forum opens with a discussion on the challenges facing analyst teams. Ludovic Leforrestier, central leader of the Institute for Industry Analyst Relations, will open the day. AR teams face substantial challenges, not the least of which are the very different strategies that firms are using to deal with the changing influence of analysts. Some AR teams are being slimmed down, with analysts now being contacted through social media, marketing and sales teams. Other AR professionals are widening their remit, taking up broader influencer relations, sourcing advisory and marketing communication roles. Some teams in large organizations are over-reliant on methods that delegate the responsibility for building analysts relationships to social media programs, generalist managers, channel program managers and influencer relations software. As a result, there’s a fascinating gap opening up between the scale of analyst relations programs and the results they produce.

That is partly shown by comparing the KeaCircle awards with the IIAR awards for AR teams in mega-vendors. The IIAR awards look at around a dozen mega-vendors like IBM, Cisco and Oracle which have substantial AR teams which few other could rival. Those firms have exceptionally high awareness among analysts. However, the Analyst Attitude Survey looks more broadly, at the 50 or so firms most followed by analysts. What analysts’ responses to the AAS show is that the mega-vendors are no longer the state of the art.

Certainly, they never had a monopoly. NetApp, for example, and SapientNitro, have had world-class AR for a long time. The surprise, to me at least, is that while the mega-vendors’ AR teams have existed since the last millennium some of the leading-edge AR teams have been created, or refounded, in the last half-dozen years (for example at AWS, Huawei and HERE) and have leapt ahead in the last three or four. Luckily, we’ll have those firms all in attendance at the AR Value Forum on Thursday.

What those firms show, more than anything else, is that awareness and cadence are only the foundation of AR. The IIAR awards, for example, seems focused on the firms with the greatest volume and that surely can be the only reason why they spotlight Oracle. What those awards miss out, and what the KeaCircle awards can spotlight, is another side of analyst relations: getting analysts to be more favourable, rather than simply well-informed.

It’s not too late to register for the AR Value Forum. Find out more at


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.