Picking up the money Gartner and Forrester leave on the table

Gartner and Forrester’s increasing focus on global $1bn-plus firms is leaving money on the table for firms like IDC, Berlecon, NelsonHall, Burton, Pierre Audoin Consultants and Springboard to pick up. That’s the conclusion I’ve come to after a lunch with Rahme Mehmet where we talked over Thursday’s Boardroom discussion.

Around 20 senior AR and marketing directors have registed for the discussion on Thursday, many of whom will be going on to the IIAR’s meeting later that afternoon. Changes at Gartner and Forrester will be the major topic in the discussion.

In short, the two most influential analyst firms both aim to get an increasing share of their revenue from large multinationals. Both Gartner and Forrester have met with success with that strategy: Forrester’s 15% leap in revenue reflects that. However, a number of firms are able to benefit from the business that these firms are turning away from. In particular, new opportunities exist for work outside the English-speaking countries, in consulting engagements and in building deep niche expertise.

  • IDC‘s recent European Forum reflected the firm’s continuing leadership in emerging markets in Asia, Africa and Europe, especially in eastern Europe and the Middle East. As the analyst firm with the second-largest revenue, IDC has been able to develop a uniquely broad footprint on analysts ‘on the ground’. That makes it the only analyst firm with a serious presence in most developing markets, and its is clearing away local resellers in order to go directly into high-growth markets such as South Africa. IDC knows that its verticalised Insights business are a long-term project, but are staring to deliver real credibility in some end-user markets. Our webinar will discuss that more this Friday.
  • Berlin-based Berlecon is also finding better opportunities. This boutique has a tight focus on two connected areas: mobile business communication (topics like mobile devices, VOIP and the web-extended enterprise) and IT services (including outsourcing and SaaS). In the German-speaking market it has won a leadership position and, since most of its research is in German, its valuable niche is well off the radar of a number of North American firms. Even Gartner is wising up to the value of the German-language market (it’s the largest tech market in Europe, after all), and it is organising a major German-language event. Just don’t try and get there from www.gartner.de.
  • Services boutiques NelsonHall is fast outgrowing its BPO niche through niche services for banking, insurance and other areas including outsourcing. By recruiting leading Ovum professionals, including Katja Grimme and Katy Ring and account manager Rob Hughes, the firm is now respected as a high-quality outsourcing player in Europe.
  • One of the few firms able to hurt Gartner’s pocket might be Burton Group. While we don’t take seriously the idea of an analyst price war, their DropASeat.com website shows a real appetite to win business. ‘Drop a seat’ offers enterprise-wide access to any one of Burton’s six advisory services for the price of one role-based Gartner seat. Interestingly, Burton is also tightly focused on service niches. Since Burton was the only firm to pick up notable business from the closure of META Group, we expect this campaign to also win real traction.
  • Springboard is a firm we’ve mentioned a few times before. It was massively benefited from Gartner’s consulting close-down in Asia-Pacific. Springboard is also building up its geographical reach across regions that Gartner is less interested in, such as Africa and the Middle East. It’s also now part of a major international network, headed by PAC.
  • Pierre Audoin Consultants is another firm we will highlight as a beneficiary of choices at Forrester and Gartner (and at Ovum). For several years PAC has been a highly credible provider of strategic consulting on IT services in the German and French markets. It has followed its growing into the US and UK markets by announcing a major leap forward in providing local presence in 13 countries, including partners in Latin America, Africa and Asia-Pacific.

The common threads here are easy to spot: geographical expertise or sector expertise — most powerfully both. Firms like these are making rapid progress.

One final thought: it would be quite mistaken to think that these trends will make Gartner and Forrester anxious. In fact, by leaving something on the table for this high-growth firms they encourage them to focus on the mid-market, on consulting services and on vertical markets. Of course, this also encourages them to leave Gartner and Forrester unchallenged in their core markets, selling role-based services to multinational giants.

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.